Reflection

Another course of instruction has come to an end an I still find myself quite satisfied with the amount of classmate collaboration eager to disclose their thoughts and offering of strong opinions/suggestions.  All in all, it is the difference in opinions as educators, instructor, trainers and instructional designers all band together to teach valuable lessons of their own.  Not surprising, but striking elements that furthered my knowledge toward how people learn really is situational and based on our individual experiences.  There a many learning theories that have both been read and understood however I am not certain that there is just one theory amongst us that is not a hybrid mix of one or more other theories.  With that said the awareness as an instructional designer and a learner, the five general functions of learning theory must be injected at all times whether we are creating and/or participating in a great course.  These functions;

  • Serve as a framework for research
  • Provide an organizing framework for items of categories
  • Identify the nature of complex events
  • Reorganize prior experience and,
  • Serve as a working explanation of events (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009, p. 9).

To understand each theory presented throughout this course I like to believe that individual approaches to how we apply them to our own learning really can make a significant impact towards our studies.  Writing assignments or developing a project, all that should be done is to take a quick break to reflect on how we can reach out, motivate and teach others with our own thoughts.  This process involves the mustering of “all kinds of ideas from what we’ve learned from other people, what we’ve learned from our reading and so on, and we pull them together in order to solve a new problem or address a new situation” that simply increases knowledge (Ormrod, 2009, p. 1).

From an instructional designer’s standpoint, we cannot “decide the entire solution in advance.  See the process as more of a dance than a structured enactment of a solution” due to constant module/course maintenance that occurs (Siemens, 2009).  By taking great motivated steps now, the designer will most certainly ensure that the targeted audience will also be and remain motivated by our efforts.  That, my friends, is what it is all about, knowledge transfer.  There are some times when we feel as though the only star we can reach is that starfish on the beach however, perseverance and strong determination are attributes that drive us all to succeed.

References

Laureate Education Inc. (Ormrod, J). (2009). Information Processing and Problem Solving.

[Transcript].

Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction. New

York: Laureate Publishing, Inc.

Siemens, G. (2009). Connectivism Blog. Retrieved from

http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?journal=3174

 

Fitting the Pieces Together

Upon further review I must admit that learning theories such as the behaviorist, cognitive, constructionist and connectivist did not come into my mind in technical terms, however have great relevance towards a myriad of training and education events of my past.  Why, why does it really take in-depth research to discover such revelations?  Unbeknown to many learners, each and every theory applies no matter the environment in which we choose to learn.  In a sense, it kind of makes me feel quite humble as I created yet another synthesis on how I/we learn as a whole.  I find it rather hard to believe that anyone would argue that they have not applied each and every theory in their own studies.  As an educator with vast experiences, my blindness towards these theories led me to be completely naive of the different perspectives.  Nothing like an eye opening experience that most certainly will be registered in my long-term memory for many years to come.

As the majority of my education has been socially (traditional classroom) or adult learning (online) the application of the four other theories has contributed greatly without even being cognizant of the affects.  I now wonder how I could have helped my former students if were more involved in multiple learning processes.  The teacher should not hold back guides to “websites, organizations, articles, and other resources looking at the new system of standards and how they will be assessed” in our classrooms (Edutopia, 2013).  Indeed I always will hold close to me the fantastic experiences that a traditional classroom can employ, however for now I continue to stick with self-directed learning with an online University as it fits my hectic schedule.  Perhaps one day I will step into that classroom behind a podium vice a desk to share these theories and find the best individual theory for each and every student to synthesize and apply.

Technology continues to improve and has come a long way from the physical textbook, overhead transparency projector and reel-to-reel films of the past.  The ability to search for credible and congruent information with thousands of hits in just a few seconds can be a bit overwhelming at times, yet so essential to learn from.  An as instructional designer, the ability to share this information with all who have the drive to increase their knowledge is priceless.  That is what makes this profession so great, to turn well-deserved striving students into masters in the field.  We must not only embrace and “identify technologies and practices that are either beginning to appear on campuses, or likely to be adopted in the coming years, but promote them (Johnson, Levine & Smith, 2009, p. 3).

References

Edutopia. (2013). Teacher Development. Retrieved from

http://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development

Johnson, L., Levine, A., & Smith, R. (2009). The Horizon Report (2009 ed.). Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/

Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

Allow me to start this blog off by having you ask yourself one question.  How often, if at all, do you really think about brain science related to how you recall, process and problem-solve?  Go ahead, take a few minutes.  Not as easy as one would think now is it?  As with many learners, we tend to think back on a certain experience or even something that we have witnessed to draw a clearer picture in our minds.  That is our memory.  A stage model for information processing can be complex to understand, yet takes just a few seconds to permit us to put our thoughts on paper, in voice or apply certain skills needed to perform a task.  Working memory (WM) or short term memory (STM) “relates to what we are thinking about at any given moment in time” that places things in motion (Huitt, 2003).

Recall the old phrase to use it or lose it?  Stating that alone automatically makes us think of many different topics to explore such as hobbies, pursuing higher education or perhaps developing sport strategies.  Rumelhart and McClelland (1986) proposes that linking multiple experiences to fully understand a single idea and/or concept will permit us to remember thoughts which is easier for retrieval whenever we are in need for it, called the connectionistic model (Huitt, 2003).  Hmm, that didn’t take too long at all to make sense of and apply it in our thoughts.  STM is only one stage of the process.  As we continue to exercise it, it ultimately will become stored for later use as long-term memory or LTM.  This will serve as a great confidence builder when situations arise realizing that “I know how, I know that and I can remember that” drives us to further success (Orey, 2001).

Let me delve into the world of problem-solving for a bit.  Each and every waking breath we take involves some kind of problem-solving or decision making process whether we are cognizant or not.  Thirsty, get a drink, but what do I drink?  Driving to an event, which is the fastest or safest route to take?  Been assigned a task at work to solve an issue, recall historical events and muster ideas from coworkers.  All of these examples are putting our mind to great use right?  Indeed.   But wait, there is more!  It is not going to be successful if we do not take methodologies into consideration.  McNamara offers a seven step process for making such decisions that will keep us on course.  The steps include;

  1. Define the problem
  2. Look at potential causes for the problem
  3. Identify alternatives for approaches to resolve the problem
  4. Select an approach to resolve the problem
  5. Plan the implementation of the best alternative (this is your action plan)
  6. Monitor implementation of the plan
  7. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not

As delicate as we can be in making decisions, each of the above steps is a critical link that can ensure that the task involved is completed correct the first time, every time.

References

Huitt, W. (2003). The information processing approach to cognition. Educational Psychology

Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date] from,

http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/cognition/infoproc.html

Orey, M. (2001). Information Processing. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning,

teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

McNamara, C. (n.d.). Problem Solving and Decision Making (Solving Problems and Making

Decisions. Retrieved from

http://managementhelp.org/personalproductivity/problem-solving.htm

 

Connectivism Reflection

Learning has become a two way street for me over the past couple years.  I enjoy the solitude of conducting research towards my studies in an environment that I have created that permits me to focus on the task at hand.  My network consisting of classmates, professional and personal contacts without question has quenched my thirst for more education than ever before.  Fact is, it does not matter where I am at or what I am doing these [network] connections that are established simply continues to keep my interest and skills honed at peak levels virtually around the clock.  By “tailoring learning solutions to their [my] own and other local learning needs, developing and nurturing collaborative communities of practice” is an extremely practical process to incorporate (Conlan, Grabowski  & Smith, 2003).  Regardless if the collaboration effort towards learning is in the form of a social network, blog websites or email, a serious approach to creating a critical synthesis and putting pen to paper (or keyboard) are key elements to achieve educational success.

By “considering technology and meaning-making as learning activities begins to move learning into the digital age” the days of black and white reel-to-reel movies are long gone (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Batman, 2008).  The digital tool that works best is to engulf/engage myself in watching successful video tutorials towards my work.  This also includes presentations that classmates have created to perhaps gain a different perspective on a topic.  I think we all have accidently deleted an email with detailed information that can guide us however, a saved video can certainly be rewound and watched over and over again until the point is well understood.

Gaining knowledge when questions arise can be as complicated or easy depending on skills to communicate.  We are very much aware that the Internet provides unlimited amount of information and data to be used for further clarification, but does not always answer with satisfactory results.  Moreover, “as different perspectives [arise] in different circumstances, and were shaped by authors different politics and philosophies, they each may illuminate learning processes and suggest educative responses in particular pedagogical situations”, a critical eye and complete understanding is warranted (Foley, 2004, p. 56).  One can never rule out contacting a classmate or the course instructor for their helpful insight and guidance.

In reality, each and every learner whether cognizant or not, has a pretty personalized tool box that is used to expand their knowledge.  These tools are sharp and will remain sharp as long as we maintain our drive towards educational goals.  Once again this proves that “a central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person” and keeps us motivated (Siemens, 2012).  The learner must take the initiative to continue chipping away to remove any barriers in the way towards completing an assignment or task as a stepping stone.  When I am stumped, the support received from my personal network provides that much needed fuel to keep pressing on as I connect the dots.  Therefore, a true thought of evaluating the worthiness of learning is highly regarded and applied.

References

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging

perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.),

Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Foley, Griff. Dimensions of Adult Learning. Berkshire, GBR: McGraw-Hill Professional

Publishing, 2004. Retrieved from

http://site.ebrary.com/lib/waldenu/Doc?id=10161341&ppg=73

Copyright © 2004. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing. All rights reserved.

Siemens, G. (2012). Connectivist Learning Theory. Retrieved from

http://p2pfoundation.net/Connectivist_Learning_Theory_-_Siemens

 

 

Effective Instructional Design

After browsing through a few websites towards learning and the professional world of instructional design, I located some quite interesting writings that captured great attention.  Blogs without question permit our minds to gain fantastic insight from those who put their heart and soul into making topics as clear and precise as possible for a much better understanding.  The opinions of others really do make us [user] think outside of the box as we create our individual synthesis.

Internettime.com provided outstanding points of views by listing a myriad of instructional design trade-offs to consider during the process of creating quality learning presentations or just a website in general.  The fact that they display Tog’s First Principles of Design can and will without question, increase the knowledge base of many striving designers.  Simple and easily understood definitions serve as a guide to success to include outstanding examples of their use.  This directory, if you will, is what any designer is consistently focused on.

This website (infed.org), delivers four orientations of learning that can be put to great use.  The views of the behaviorist, cognivtivist, humanist and social/situational approaches, permits the designer to touch base of these theories to select once their target audience is identified.  A simple matter of tailoring any topic may make a project flow with ease and peaks the interest of the learner for better retention.

Last, but not least, WordPress.com provides blogger to share their own innovative ideas and experiences that have left a lasting impression worth talking about.  I view these as honorable to share their stories to motivate others within the field.  Tested theories, learning approaches and proven accomplishments certainly can be a driving factor for all of us.  Imagine just a small idea that explodes into excellence as we designers craft well deserved messages to those wishing to be educated.  To me, there is no better feeling than to see the light bulb turn on in learners head that they received instruction with clarity.  Collaborative efforts or an educated eye [ID bloggers] can prove to be a team of one to serve our purpose with much pride.

http://www.internettime.com/blog/archives/001083.html

http://infed.org/mobi/learning-theory-models-product-and-process/

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/instructional-design/

References

Infed.org. (2013). Learning Theory: models, product and process. Retrieved from

http://infed.org/mobi/learning-theory-models-product-and-process/

Internettime.com. (2013). Internet Time Blog. Retrieved from

http://www.internettime.com/blog/archives/001083.html

WordPress.com. (2013). Blogs about: Instructional Design. Retrieved from

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/instructional-design/