As my journey working towards my bachelor degree in Instructional Design and Technology comes to an end with this final class in Learning Theories and Instruction, it is time for reflection. To reflect on what stands out to me about how people learn; how I better understand my learning process; the connections between learning theories, styles, educational technology, and motivation; and reflect on how I am going to continue to use these concepts as I go forward in my career path.
In order to develop effective training solutions, first it takes knowing how people think, process, and apply what they learn (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.1.). Not surprisingly, there are many ideas on how knowledge acquisition and transfer occurs. Great minds throughout history have created theories to explain these concepts, some of which include behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, social learning, connectivism, and adult learning theories (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.2.). The exercises of considering my learning process in week one and again in week seven of class helped me realize how different theories may come into play at various times of our life. We are complex human beings and may find one theory better addresses our learning need than another due to the environment, culture, and our cognitive development stage. I certainly saw this at work in my life as the blog, Learning Theories: Fitting the Pieces Together attests. We often hear people talk about their teenage children and how influenced they are by their peer group. I never extrapolated this into learning theory before. When I think about it, I realize how much my social networks allow me to brainstorm and solidify my understanding of a topic or adopt behaviors modeled by someone (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, pp. 199-200). Scaffolding is another aspect of social learning theory a parent or mentor uses to build a supportive structure to help a child or student attain greater knowledge or a skill set.
When I began my degree program in 2011, I was already working in instructional design with a team developing and delivering materials for several internal corporate clients. I knew a few things about adult learning theory, learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), and effective strategies in the classroom. Over the past five years, I have learned firsthand about the challenges and rewards of working in an online environment. Even though as an adult learner I am intrinsically motivated and self-directed (Cercone, 2008), it is still difficult to remain so when the lesson is not engaging, or I am feeling isolated without enough interaction with other students or the instructor. At times it has taken sheer willpower to motivate myself to complete a lesson or a project. As an instructional designer, I desire to apply learning theories as they are relevant to the content and keep the learner motivated and engaged with the content so they can increase recall and application. As an example, I may use a behaviorist theory to teach a system procedure in an online simulation. I would have the learner repeat the steps of the procedure to enter a customer’s order and provide positive feedback along the way as each step is completed. The scenario’s relevance to the actual job and the feedback along the way encourage the learner to stay engaged. The ARCS model (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction) (Keller, 1999) I learned about last week is an effective tool to connect motivational strategies to learning theories, styles, and educational technologies.
Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of Adult Learners with Implications for Online Learning Design. AACE Journal, 16(2), 137-159.
Kasla. (2008, August 9). Journey. [Photo]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/mysza/4676973906/in/photolist-88hHp9-dR7tU8-coi5bG-i5BbGf-n97m78-aMFSA4-cuuxH-cTMTJY-oxmVct-9W7xam-hwf3Bo-sGy4H-nfREGw-dCVSy9-iaZ3bT-qk61ET-5ZGrrN-4UB4Kk-4UFhB9-65XD6C-5UBbce-4UFgVb-2pW3J-4UB5fP-pn8BmJ-4UB51r-4UB5vT-4UFj7C-4UB3x4-4UB75x-4UFgwd-4UB6k8-4UFgNy-4UB446-nNSLUw-njFxtE-cFwZLm-9kx7hX-dHRbeu-4qaLyx-fkSSiM-byq2Ui-93bDwK-hgpCYu-kckvaF-aSkapg-8WQuLD-oCB1ZZ-2pW5V-dE5Prq
Keller, J. M. (1999, Summer). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 1999(78), 37-47.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.1). An Introduction to Learning with Dr. Jeanne Ormrod. [Video file]. Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.2.) Timeline of the History of Learning. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/Walden/EDUC/6115/01/mm/tec_timeline.html
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Vol. Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.
Timeline of the History of Learning. (n.d.). (I. Laureate Education, Producer) Retrieved 2016, from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/Walden/EDUC/6115/01/mm/tec_timeline.html