Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning From Learning Theories

When I started the course that was the inspiration to writing this blog I had to talk about how I learned and what were issues that made learning challenging. I made the points that I learn kinesthetically and with a lot of visuals and examples. I also made mention of the fact that if I do not find things interesting I quickly label them as unimportant and those tidbits of knowledge rarely find their way into my long term memory.
My assignment this week was to discuss how my view of how I learn has changed based on all this new information about learning theories. But as I learned more about the theories I already knew and then new ones like Connectivism, Social and Adult learning theories my view didn’t change it was just enhanced.
I still think that the theories play upon one another. I agree when Jonassen says “that introductory knowledge acquisition is better supported by more objectivistic approaches (behavioral and/or cognitive) but suggests a transition to constructivistic approaches as learners acquire more knowledge which provides them with the conceptual power needed to deal with complex and ill-structured problems” (Jonassen, 1991). I think we float in and out of different elements of behaviorism, cognativism and constructivism throughout much of our life.
But the one this that did change was being introduced to the Connectivist theory. I fully agree with and learn through the parameters of this theory. I am fully connected to my “network” and learn a lot while online. The obvious way that Connectivism influences my education is that I am currently getting my masters online, and I have also created an educational blog (that you are reading now).  I am also a social network junkie, I live over a thousand miles away from my hometown and have friends all over the world. I stay in contact with all of them on Facebook, even the ones that live 15 miles away.  I stay “connected” through my blackberry. I use this mobile device to check my email, Facebook and to Google or spell check anything my friends or students can ask or come up with. Technology plays a huge and very important part in my education, formal and casual.
With the introduction to the new theories I also learned that I am not a textbook Adult Learner. I do not need to be involved in the creation of the instruction or help develop it. I am a busy adult I just want you to give me the information I need and then let me process it as I see fit. I do, however, prefer to learn things that matter in my personal and professional life. Anything outside of that box becomes less interesting and it is hard for it to hold my attention.
To honor other learners like myself, I will keep this blog concise and simple. Learning theories are, honestly, not my favorite topic to study, but they do have their place in Instructional Design. So if you are in or considering a career in ID you really need to understand how people think and learn so that you can fully understand how to teach them effectively.

Jonassen, D. H. (1991). Evaluating constructivistic learning. Educational Technology, 31(9).

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