What is the most surprising thing I have learned this term? What is the connection between learning theory, technology, and motivation? How will this knowledge impact my instructional design career?
Ertmer and Newby (2013) explain that, “Learning is a complex process that has generated numerous interpretations and theories of how it is effectively accomplished” (p. 44). In recent weeks, I have been afforded the opportunity to explore the validity of this description, and in this final reflection assignment, I attempt to offer a comprehensive overview of my discoveries. Herein, I will share my most surprising revelation about how people learn; how this course has enhanced my understanding of the ways in which I learn; the connection between learning theories and styles, educational technology, and motivation; and, how what I have learned in this course will guide me as I continue on my pursuit to become a successful instructional design professional.
My Most Surprising Revelation about Learning
Throughout this course, we have learned many surprising things about learning. For example, it turns out that early learning theorists made remarkable findings about how people learn by observing animals (behaviorism) and comparing us to machines (cognitivism) (Atkisson, 2010). But, even more so than that, it shocked me the most to learn that, “There is no strong scientific evidence to support” teaching learners based on their learning styles [i.e., audio, visual, etc.]; yet, “people are [still] selling tests and programs for customizing education…” in this way (Glenn, 2009). Cognitive psychologist Dr. Jean Ormrod reveals that learning strategies have been proven to be much more effective in facilitating learning for diverse students (Laureate Education, n.d.). This course has also taught me so much more about how I learn.
A Deeper Understanding of How I Learn
At the beginning of this course, I mostly just knew that I loved to learn. By the end of week one, I was completely convinced that I was a constructivist learner—a complex, constantly evolving, high-level thinker, capable of forming my own ideas about the world around me (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). In this final week, I now understand that I am a behaviorist, cognitivist, constructivist, connectivist social learner that has and does apply these theories to learning all the time; however, it is the constructivist in me that has formed this realization.
The Big Connection: Learning Theories and Styles, Technology, and Motivation
Ormrod et al. (2009) explain that theory exists for identifying how people learn. Learning styles are essentially learner preferences (Laureate Education, n.d.); however, they are still valuable in the sense that exposing learners to different formats simultaneously (i.e., seeing and hearing), helps people to better remember what they have learned (Laureate Education, n.d.). Technology plays a major role in the way people learn today, and connectivist perspective submits that learners can no longer ‘keep up’ in today’s chaotic information age without it (Siemens, 2004); and, motivation—a “key ingredient” to learning— “determines whether and to what extent we actually learn…” (Ormrod et al., 2009, p. 224).
Moving Forward: Learning Theory and Instructional Design
This course has taught me that, “no single theory can adequately account for all learning” (Ormrod et al. 2009, p. 6). Therefore, instructional designers (IDs) must be well-versed in multiple theories, “to translate relevant aspects of… learning theories into optimal instructional actions” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 43). I now understand that there are unique considerations when dealing with adult and distant learners, and that various learning strategies and motivational tactics can further engage these students, create optimal instructional experiences, empower them to keep going when obstacles arise. Lastly, I have discovered that I must understand how I best learn, because this is a field in which this action never ceases; these are the concepts that I will carry with me as I move forward in the field of ID.
As always, thanks so much for joining me on this amazing journey!
-Ahisha, The Ecstatic Learning Addict
Atkisson, M. (2010). Behaviorism vs. Cognitivism. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from https://woknowing.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/behaviorism-vs-cognitivisim/
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71. doi:10.1002/piq.21143
Glenn, D. (2009, December 16). Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Information processing and problem solving [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson Name.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. [online]. Retrieved on April 29, 2018, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm