Archive for March 3, 2014

In this course, Learning Theories Instruction, I found it striking on how complex the learning process can be.  This course has been an eye-opening learning experience that enabled me to gain a better understanding of my own learning process as well as the various major learning theories including behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, the social learning theory, connectivism, and adult learning.  I also gained an understanding that motivating learners is an important factor in the learning process.

This course has deepened my understanding of my own learning process.  In week one of this course, I realized that learning is more complex than what I understood and I did not have an understanding of the major learning theories.  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 one, 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.  “Behaviorism is a worldview that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli” (Behaviorism, n.d.).  Behavior is shaped through positive and negative reinforcement (Behaviorism, n.d.).  This increases the likelihood that the antecedent behavior will happen again (Behaviorism, n.d.).  Cognitive theories emphasize making knowledge meaningful and helping learners organize and relate new information to existing knowledge in memory (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).   Constructivism is a theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

As the course progressed, my understanding of how I learn and how others learn, continued to change.  I gained knowledge of additional learning theories that explained the learning process.  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.

Due to advances in technology, the way I learn and others learn has significantly changed over the years.  Today, adult learners can take advantage of online learning since they need flexibility as a result of having 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).  I am currently an adult learner taking advantage of the viable online learning option as a graduate student.  As an undergraduate student several years ago, this option was not available for me.

After learning about Connectivism, I understand that learning also occurs through networks, which are connections between entities.  According to Siemens (2005), connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations.   After developing my personal learning mind map in week five, 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.  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.  However, in the U.S., improvements can be made in implementing technology in the K-12 classroom environment.  According to Arnett and Copper (2013), a new survey from Dell suggests that when meeting students’ technology needs, the U.S. can take a few notes from China.  Three-fourths of those surveyed in the U.S. believe there should be more technology in the classroom, compared to an overwhelming 95 percent in China (Arnett & Copper, 2013).

Learning and gaining insight on different learning styles and strategies in this course will greatly influence my practice of instructional design.  Visual learners process information through sight and will benefit from diagrams, charts, pictures, films, and written directions (Farewell, 2012).  Auditory learners process information when it is presented and requested verbally (Farewell, 2012).  Kinesthetic learners process information by touching, feeling, experiencing the material at hand (Farewell, 2012).

It is also important to understand and teach different learning strategies to help students learn and improve their overall learning experience.  According to Ormrod, elaboration is an effective learning strategy and students can take new information and add to it based on what they already know about the world (Laureate Education, n.d.a).  Comprehension monitoring is another simple, but effective learning strategy (Laureate Education, n.d.a).   Both elaboration and comprehension monitoring will have an influence on my instructional design practice.

When designing effective instruction, it is also important to be able to identify students’ intelligences.  Armstrong (2009) describes Howard Gardner’s eight intelligences, which are Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist.

Motivating learners is also an important factor in the learning process because it can impact the learning environment and the learning experience.  According to Ormrod, there are four psychological needs that have implications for motivation (Laureate Education, n.d.b).  They are the need for arousal, the need for competence, the need for self-determination, and the need for relatedness (Laureate Education, n.d.b).   When designing instruction, instructional designers can utilize the ARCS model of motivational design to analyze motivational needs of learners (Keller, 1999).  The four dimensions of motivation in this model are attention (A), relevance (R), confidence (C), and satisfaction (S), or ARCS (Keller, 1999).

The information that I have learned in this class, Learning Theories Instruction, will help me significantly as I enter the field of instructional design.  Having an understanding of my own learning process, the various different learning styles, the major learning theories, and what motivates learners will help me design effective instruction and apply the correct learning theory depending on the learners and the task.  I understand that sometimes a combination of the different learning theories will need to be used while avoiding cognitive overload.


Armstrong, T. (2009).  Multiple intelligences in the classroom (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum

Arnett, A., & Copper, T. (2013). U.S. Still Has More Work to Do in Technology Education.– Higher Education.  Retrieved from

Behaviorism. (n.d.). Learning Theories RSS. Retrieved from

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.

Farwell, T. (2012). Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Learners. – Retrieved from

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS Motivational Process in Computer-Based Instruction and Distance Education. New Directions For Teaching & Learning1999(78), 39

Kim, B. (2001). Social Constructivism.. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. [Producer]. (n.d.a). Learning Styles and Strategies. Retrieved from Walden course EDUC 6115.

Laureate Education, Inc. [Producer]. (n.d.b). Motivation in Learning. Retrieved from Walden course EDUC 6115.