Archive for February, 2014

Fitting the Pieces Together

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Instructional Design

Over the past several weeks in my Learning Theories and Instruction class, I have gained knowledge and a deeper understanding of the major learning theories including behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, the social learning theory, connectivism, and adult learning.  In week 1 of this course, I had never really put a whole lot of thought about how I learned.  I had a basic understanding of how I learned as primarily a visual and hands-on learner.  After reviewing behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism in week 1, I understood that I learned from techniques and strategies used for each of these learning theories.  One theory does not cover every aspect of learning.

According to Ertmer and Newby (1993),

  • Behaviorism focuses on the importance of the consequences of those performances and contends that responses that are followed by reinforcement are more likely to recur in the future.
  • Cognitive theories emphasize making knowledge meaningful and helping learners organize and relate new information to existing knowledge in memory.
  • Constructivism is a theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience.

In week 7, my view on how I learn has changed.  I still believe that one theory does not cover every aspect of learning.  However, I now have knowledge of additional learning theories that impact the way I learn. The social learning theory expands on traditional behavioral theories.

According to Kim (2001), meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities.  I find that online learning classrooms are “social” environments.  I learn more from other students in an online learning environment because students tend to share and provide more feedback in this environment due to the class structure.

The way I learn has significantly changed over the years due to the advances in technology.  Since I decided to continue my education as a graduate student, I am now an adult learner needing flexibility of online learning since I have to juggle work, family, and personal responsibilities.  Adult learners are self-directed learners who take initiative to learn on their own and at their own pace.  Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith (2003) discuss Malcolm Knowles’ theory of Andragogy, which is the art and science of helping adults learn.  The adult learner is described as someone who can direct his/her own learning; has accumulated life experiences that enables him/her to draw on prior skills and knowledge;  has learning needs closely related to changing social roles; is a problem solver; and is motivated to learn based on his/her needs, interests, and desires (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003).

After learning about Connectivism, I found that my personal learning network supports Siemen’s Principles of connectivism.  According to Siemens (2005), connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations.

Technology plays a major role in the way I learn today. In education, I utilize the personal web to learn and obtain information from.  I am able to collaborate with instructors and classmates via discussion boards, email, blogs, forums, etc.  I am also able to take online classes as opposed to the traditional face-to-face classes.  In the classroom, I also use mobile devices including Ipods, MP3 players, and Ipads.

With the major advances in cell phone technology my social learning network has changed over the years.  I use cell phone services including text messaging, the ability to access the internet, and email.  Also, I use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Internet Forums, etc. for social networking.

My professional learning network is constantly changing.  As an IT professional, technology is always changing therefore I am constantly learning new information to support the changes.  I utilize on-line technical training and resources frequently.  This includes professional IT blogs, discussion boards and forums, knowledge bases, eLearning courses, SharePoint, webinars, google search, and wikis.

References

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K..(2003). Adult Learning. In M. Orey(Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspectivePerformance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.

Kim, B. (2001). Social Constructivism.. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

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This week, in my Learning Theories and Instruction class, I created a mind map to illustrate my personal learning network.  I really enjoyed this assignment because it allowed me to structure information, which helped me to better analyze how I learn from my personal networks.  While creating my mind map, I realized that the way I learn is complex because I utilize various different types of technology to learn and I learn from a diverse group of people.

After learning about Connectivism this week, I found that my personal learning network supports Siemen’s Principles of connectivism.  According to Siemens (2005), connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations.  It is vital to be able to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information and it is also critical to be able to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday (Siemens, 2005).

According to Davis, Edmunds and Bateman (2008), George Siemens’ theory of Connectivism is the combined effect of three different components:

  • Chaos Theory – If the underlying conditions used to make decisions change, the decision is no longer correct as it was the time it was made
  • Importance of Networks – We must create networks which are connections between entities
  • Interplay of complexity and self- organization – A complex system is a collection of interacting agents, representing components as diverse as people, cells, or molecules

Siemens’ (2005) principles of connectivism are:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

After completing and viewing my personal learning network mind map, I realized that the way I learn today has significantly changed over years and will more than likely change again in the future.  For example, the way I receive a college education has changed over the years.  Years ago, when I worked on my undergraduate degree, I only attended face-to-face classes that were led by an instructor.  Today, I am enrolled in an on-line program to receive my master’s in Instructional Design and Technology.   My learning is more self-directed, flexible, and at my own pace rather than traditional face-to-face classes.  I now learn and get valuable feedback from my instructors and classmates via comments made on discussion boards, email, blogs, etc. rather than face-to-face interactions.  In general, my classmates are more diverse since the on-line learning environment allows students from around the world, in different time zones, to enroll.  Also, today I utilize on-line resources to learn and obtain information including the Walden Library, the writing center, and tech resources.  When I attended college years ago, I would primarily get information from books, etc. from a physical library.  If I needed a tutor, I would have to see a tutor face-to-face.  Today, a tutoring session can be done on-line.

My social learning network has changed over the years as well.  With the major advances in cell phone technology, today, I am able to communicate with family and friends throughout the day utilizing the cell phone and the services that are included with it. Some of these services include text messaging, the ability to access the internet, and your email.  If I have to ask a friend or family member a question, I can send a text message or email and receive an answer back via a text message or email and we do not have speak to each other directly to get information.  I also utilize LinkedIn and Facebook, Internet Forums, etc. for social networking.

Finally, my professional learning network is constantly changing.  I learn from my colleagues, however, my colleagues change depending on my position and whether or not the organization structure changes in the company that I am employed with.  Currently, I work in IT and technology is always changing.  As a result, I am constantly learning new information to support the changes.  Years ago, I learned by reading technical manuals, attending face-to-face training classes, reading company documentation etc.  Today, information is changing so rapidly and I have to be able to make decisions quickly so I have to utilize on-line technical training and resources frequently.  This includes professional IT blogs, discussion boards and forums, the knowledge base for IT and the company in general, eLearning courses, SharePoint, webinars, google search, and wikis.

References:

Davis, C., Edmunds, E, & Kelley-Bateman, V.(2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  Retreived from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

 

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