Archive for February 26, 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.


Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K..(2003). Adult Learning. In M. Orey(Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  Retrieved from

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

Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved from