What I found surprising about this course was that there were so many theories regarding learning. I was familiar with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Skinner but the others not so much. The Timeline of Learning that we utilized as a resource every week was extremely helpful. Each person that we studied had his own theory on how to achieve effecting learning but they all had one goal---- improving the learning process.
How has this course deepened my understanding of my own learning process? At the beginning of this course I felt that I was more of a cognitive learner. In the cognitivist’s view learning occurs internally and through the social interactions with others (Kapp, 2006). I still feel I am more of a cognitive learner but I also have traits of the other learning theories.
As an adult learner attending an online university, I have realized that the way I used to study when I was younger no longer works for me. I have too many other obligations in my life that I have to attend to, so I have to manage learning now in a different way. Thoms (2002) gives several suggestions when working with adult learners, which I can apply to myself as a student such as: organizing my material into smaller chunks so that it will be easier for me to understand, get plenty of documentation regarding the learning material, and if I don’t understand the material I’ll ask the instructor to explain it thoroughly.
As stated in the first paragraph all of the theorists had one goal in mind- improving the learning process. Learning styles help us develop our individual learning skills. Educational technology allows us to research, organize, and share our knowledge with other students in our course or the world. The motivation of the student is the glue that holds everything together.
Motivation is described as an internal state that arouses us to action, pushes us in particular directions, and keeps us engaged in certain activities (Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler, 2009). We all have to be motivated either intrinsically or extrinsically to achieve the goal of learning. When taking an online course a person has to stay motivated, if not, he or she will lose interest.
This course has helped me realize that everyone learns in a different way. This knowledge will help me in my career as a designer by enabling me to produce learning material that doesn’t have a “cookie cutter” feel to it. As noted by (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2011) the goal of instructional design is to make learning more efficient, effective, and less difficult. Those are also the goals I hope to achieve in my career as an instructional designer.
Kapp, K. (2006, December 28). Definition: Cognitivism [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.kaplaneduneering.com/kappnotes/index.php/2006/12/in-1980s-several-theories-of-learning
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2011). Designing effective instruction (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson
Thoms, K. J. (2002). They’re Not Just Big Kids: Motivating Adult Learners. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED463720.pdf