The thing I found the most striking is the complexity of the brain and the processes that take place to facilitate learning. I especially found the comparison between the computer and the human brain interesting. Unlike the computer the human brain will recall a best friend’s phone number by bringing to mind the friend’s face, a pleasant conversation that occurred, and the title of the movie that the two might be going to see. While computer memories are discrete and informationally simple, human memories are tangled together and informationally complex. I learned that there are several theories and countless research done on how we learn. Over time the theories have been extensively reviewed and analyzed, but continue to be useful tools in understanding human learning. Surprisingly, none of these theories are conclusive and there are many differences in opinion among them. After extensive research, I have concluded that they are not all completely correct but there are underlying truths in each. I was intrigued by the fact I can affect my own learning by knowing how to learn or thinking how to think. I found it interesting that an understanding of metacognition creates an awareness of ones strengths and weaknesses, the task hand, and the available strategies that can be utilized to enhance learning. Flavell defined metacognition as knowledge about cognition and control of cognition. The knowledge component encompasses what one knows about cognition, including knowledge about oneself as a learner, about aspects of the task at hand, and about strategies needed to carry out the task effectively. The control component encompasses the strategies one uses to make cognitive progress, such as planning how to approach a task, evaluating progress as the task is being completed, and changing tactics if difficulties arise Flavell, J. H. (1976).
Technology and modern advancements have changed the way we learn over the years. Instructors are encouraged to learn how information processing occurs within the brain. Cognitivism is the belief that learning is a complex information processing system, and that it occurs internally and through social interaction. I think it is impossible to ever truly understand what goes on in the brain due to its complexity and diversity. However, I believe that all the theories presented in this class will always play a relevant role in the learning process.
Exposure to the Learning theories and styles have deepened my understanding of my own learning process in many way. After developing my own mind map I realized that I have created a network for learning that supports the idea that learning and knowledge include diverse connections between humans and technology. I learned that my learning process fall within the connectivist theory. Connectivism is a learning theory, in which knowledge exists outside of the learner, and the learner makes connections between information to build knowledge. The connections that learners make help them create their own learning network. Through this connected web, learners are able to stay up-to-date with content as it changes (Siemens, 2005). Social-networking tools play a vital role in my learning process. Internet communication such as blogs and podcasts are just a few of the sources that offer me radically new ways to research, create, and learn new information. The RSS feeds on my blog page is a powerful toll that I now use to gain and learn new information. With these resource I have built a learning network that is constantly growing.
In the past I struggled to retain information read in text books, I didn’t memorize information well and had trouble committing new information to long term memory. I utilized various strategies, such as note-taking and using mnemonic devices, to help me learn the information long enough to take the test. I later realized that I need to hear it experience and apply it to learn it. This makes me a visual and auditory learner. An awareness of my learning style has given the knowledge needed to analyze the task at hand and to choose the appropriate strategies to enhance my learning. When leaning theories, styles, technology and motivation are connected, they ignite the kind of learning that is meaningful, relevant and engaging. It is imperative that instructional designers consider them when designing courses for all learners.
This course has given me the foundation needed to become a successful instructional Designer. Without a foundation or an understanding of the underlying premise of instructional design, leaning cannot be achieved successfully. The best techniques with all the bells and whistles are not enough without a deep understanding of the various learning theories, the audience’s learning styles and what motivates them. In my quest to provide the highest quality of instruction, it will be extremely important to understand how my audience learn. I will seek out different strategies to teach different concepts. I will make a conscious effort to understand and consider students learning styles to find solutions for training issues and create successful courses.
Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp. 231–235). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an
Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved November 03, 2008, from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm