Week 8 Learning Theory Course Reflection

Learning Theory Course Reflection

Christina J. Lundberg

Walden University

Dr. Shirley Weaver

Learning Theories Instruction EDUC-6115-5

10.25.2015

Reflection

To begin, I should confess: I did not learn much in this course; I learned a large amount of information in this course that I did not even fathom attaining. Not only did I learn new information, but I discovered things about myself and my own learning process. I gained the understanding as to why my educational experience was designed the way it was. Additionally, I learned how the learning theories make up what instructional design is and why instructional design is the way it is today. Also, I reached a few important conclusions: that I gravitate to constructivism, that I am an experiential learner, that I display continual interest in innovative designs, and that I want to direct students to how they can find their own ways into learning. Yet, most importantly, as an instructional designer, I want to create aesthetically pleasing on-line experiences for students that bring joy to their learning. I want my designs to inspire students and engage them in the course content.

When it is all said in done, this course brought me to the place of understanding as to what instructional design is and what kind of instructional designer I want to be. Knowing these important aspects of myself and my focal subject matter allow me to set realistic and attainable future goals for myself that give me something tangible to reach and strive for.

Surprising and Striking Elements That Furthered My Knowledge About How People Learn

I was particularly struck by the learning material that was presented in Week 2 in regards to how the brain works. Before I learned about how the brain works in chapter two and chapter 3 of the text book Learning Theories and Instruction I had intuited so much about how I learn and how others learn.

In Week 2, I was particularly taken by Professor Weaver’s explanation to Garth Thorpe in our Week 2 Discussion Forum. Professor Weaver (2015) stated:

“As we think about how the information will be stored by the learners, we need to provide   opportunities for the learners to consider what they already know so that they can make associations with other packets of knowledge that already exist in their structure of knowledge. Since we can’t really know what students know, the idea is to provide students with authentic projects that put the onus on them to organize and create something that demonstrates their understanding” (para 2).

This excerpt by Dr. Weaver stood out to me because I have always been so focused on teaching students new knowledge that I have not thought about the relevance of the knowledge that the students already have and how in order for students to learn new information, they have to apply the information they already know to it and then make associations. Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) reveal that applying old information to new information is part of learning processing theory. They state that “…people store templates, or miniature copies of stimuli, in LTM. When they encounter a stimulus, thy compare it with existing templates and identify the stimulus is a match is found. Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) go on to state that template association does not seem to be a completely true and or correct method as to how people remember material, yet there does seem to be some truth to pattern recognition.

In Week 2 of our course, I stated in my Discussion Post that previously I had been selling myself short as to the full learning process I truly go through as an instructor in learning material and teaching the material to the class. I also added that I may have been selling the students short because I simply did not have a full understanding as to how the brain learned material. To add, I find it interesting that throughout my experience as a graduate writing student and as a writing instructor that I never came across information as to how the brain works. It seems like the information I attained in chapter two of the textbook would have been incredibly valuable information to have as a course instructor when I started teaching over six years ago.

In the Week 2 Discussion Post, I stated: I understand that the process of organizing the content, creating assignments, creating a lecture, and connecting the assignments to the lecture present integral components to my learning process. No wonder these steps I go through take so long, but attribute to successful and rewarding results. Previously, before this course, I had attributed the process I went through to teach a course as a series of separate isolated units that were not connected to each other. I had not understood that my learning process was the same as my students’ learning process. I saw my learning process as situational to my role as an instructor. Mainly, I thought that it was just my job to spend so much time learning because I had to become a course content expert and teach successfully to whoever made up my targeted audience.

Now I see that the elaborate process that worked for me as an instructor would also work for my students and designing a course that allows students the ability to encode information, which involves going through a process of attaining information and making it meaningful is integral to an adult learner’s success in truly learning material and storing it in long-term memory (Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler, 2009). It had never occurred to me that all learners learn material and store it in their long term memories by the act of making and or associating meaning with the material at hand.

In Week 2, I also mentioned how taken I was by learning that about how efficient our human brains are in that the brain does not just learn everything that comes its way, rather it seems to choose selectively as to what information is truly needed to be learned by the person at hand and then discards the information that is not. Before this course, I had always thought that not attaining or retaining information was a hindrance and a negative situation. Now I understand why the brain does not take in and learn information.

In looking at the reasons as to why the brain does not take in information, looking at the psychology of the learner and examining emotional overtones made complete sense to me in that I often saw that when my students harnessed a “I like this material and see how it is relevant to my field” attitude vs. a “this material is not going to benefit me in anyway attitude” that my students who wanted to learn in fact did learn and my students that did not see why they had to learn the material, did not learn. Now, I know that as Allred (2008) stated as an instructor I may be successful by assisting learners to identify with their learning through positive actions, repetition, and reinforcement. Additionally, as Ormrod (As cited in Laureate (Producer), n.d.) pointed out in the Laureate video in Week 8, I can also engage students and inspire them to learn by presenting the course material in a unique way. I can provide them with new and insightful perspectives that surprise the students and engage them to learn.

How This Course Has Deepened My Understanding of My Personal Learning Process

Part I

When I began my course study in Week 1, I had studied the first three learning theories: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism, and I came to the conclusion that my learning style was a conglomerate of all three of these learning theories combined.

As I look back to Week 1, I identified with Grolnick and Ryan’s (1987) description of directive learning. In their definition of directive learning (also referred to as intentional learning) “the learner is provided with an explicit external directive or set to assimilate specific material” (p. 890). Now in Week 8 of our course, I still identify with directive learning. There are times when having a specified knowledge base is important to ensure understanding and to gain credibility among peers. For example, to be a good writing instructor I had to learn all of the grammar rules in the English language. The grammar rules had already been established, and I had to learn them in order to teach others how to improve their writing. Therefore, in order to achieve credibility in my profession, I had to obtain a certain knowledge base that already existed.

I learned that in behaviorist theory my experience in learning the grammar rules is called transfer (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Ertmer and Newby (1993) state the transfer “refers to the application of learned knowledge in new ways or situations, as well as to how prior learning affects new learning” (56). When I learned that all sentences in the English language were derived from four main structures/patterns (The Owl at Purdue, 2015), I learned the four main sentence structures/sentence patterns, and then in order to ensure my understanding I took the sentences I constructed naturally when I wrote a general correspondence and then analyzed what sentence structure I wrote in. I was able to apply my new knowledge of the four sentence structures/patterns to my old knowledge of writing sentences and have a greater understanding of what I was doing. In addition, I was able to begin to apply writing strategy. Specifically, I was able to adjust my sentences within my paragraphs to be comprised of all four sentence structures and apply writing strategy.

Before this course, I had no idea that while I was attaining and applying my sentence structure study – that I was learning by means of a behaviorist theory application. I had never realized that the method that I had acted on had come from a learning theory that was discovered and applied years ago. Being born in the seventies, most of my educational experience stemmed forth from behaviorism and cognitive theory. Ertmer and Newby (1993) reveal that behaviorism theory was dominant before the 1950’s and that instructional design is based on behaviorism theory. Therefore, a lot of the courses I took, especially while I was an adolescent were directly derived from behaviorism theory.

In addition to behaviorism theory, cognitivism theory was popular at the time I was an adolescent. Ertmer and Newby (1993) proclaim that cognitivism theory became popular in the 1950’s with the influence of hat was going on in psychology. Snelbecker (1983) (As cited in Ertmer and Newby, 1993) proclaimed “Psychologists and educators began to de-emphasize a concern with overt, observable behavior and stressed instead more complex cognitive processes such as thinking, problem solving, language, concept formation and information processing. I engage in acts of problem solving constantly. Before this course, I thought that I had merely thought that the reason I learned in a certain way was just how my brain worked, how it functioned naturally. For example, I thought my brain was highly a tuned to problem solving naturally. Now I know that it was most likely a learned way of attaining knowledge.

Another cognitivist theory strategy I employ is that of the active learner. Being a first generation college student, my parents did not teach me how to learn successfully. I intuited and learned as I went along how to be a successful learner. Therefore, I had always thought that my situation dictated my active involvement as a learner. Mainly, I thought that I needed to apply myself – engage in my learning – take control of it – manage it – and find inspiration and ways to motivate myself independently.

Now, I see that I was also encouraged to learn in this way because those were the messages I was receiving in the educational settings I frequented. No one came out and told me these things directly – that in order to be a successful learning, I would have to apply myself. I just watched everyone around me and followed the guidelines of my assignments. Now, I see that learning as an actively involved, independent learner was encouraged because it was a key component of cognitivism theory (Ertmer & Newby, 1993), and cognitivism theory was used to create the lesson plans and I assignments I received as an adolescent learner.

Also, I see that independent, self-driven and directed learning methods are key component of andragogy, adult learning theory (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003). As I continued to be a student into my undergraduate schooling, I learned how to be an activated and involved participant even though most of the classes I attended were taught in the sage on the stage method. Any time group work was assigned, I took an active role and saw that when I did, I not only felt more present and more involved, but I learned more.

In Week Five of our course I learned that when we look at how the brain encodes information, the student would have to be an engaged participant to re-organize information and to attach meaning to it (Ormrod, Schunk, Gredler, 2009). Therefore, the self-directed method I had learned to harness came directly from adult learning theory. Specifically, I discovered that what worked for me in regards to learning my course work successfully also worked for other adults students.

Part II

In Week 1, I identified my external control as being pressure. I stated in Week 1 that I learn well under a control of pressure. I would now add that it is not just pressure that motivates me, but I would add that I am motivated by: pressure, stress, accountability, and drive. Drive presents my main motivator. Mainly, I am driven to advance and grow through continual learning. I see my life experience as a dedicated and active learning process that I must take care of, feed, and nurture. I must continue to add value to my life and intentionally live a meaningful life. My current profession and my drive to continue to advance in my career is a big part of my life work. Giving and contributing to the educational community at large as well as helping others learn and grow, present fundamental aspects to who I am as an educator and now as both an educator and an instructional designer.

Specifically, I identified that: I learn well through methods of immediacy and through methods of discovery, mainly because immediate deadlines and discovering something new motivate me to learn. I pointed out that Grolnick and Ryan (1987) recognized that learning under pressure is one method that motivates learning, and they described this type of learning as learnings that “rely heavily on external controls,… “ (p. 890). Behaviorism theory is a theory that relies on “external controls,” particularly the external controls of the environment. Ertmer and Newby (1993) point out that in behaviorism theory the learner reacts to the learning stimulants that are presented within the learning environment. Learning from the environment directly resonates with me, for I have always been highly attuned to being influenced by my environmental surrounding.

From a young age, I often re-arranged my room to “refresh” the room, to change it up and give the room re-renewed energy – that would then in-turn provide me with a re-newed and fresh energy. I always understood that I was curating a space that made me feel good and made me feel productive, yet now I actually see that I was partaking in project work, and I was learning while doing.

I now know that project work and learning while doing are key components of constructivism theory (Ertmer and Newby, 1993). I am influenced by my environment, and I do see how my environmental surrounding orchestrate the activities I do within the environment and influence what I learn while I am in that environment, yet now I also see that when I am re-constructing my environment, and I immerse myself in the process of curating my space that I am learning while I am making something.

Writing is a constructivism practice for me as well. While I partake in the act of writing, my mind works in new ways, I think on the page; I discover ideas while I am writing. Therefore, writing for me is more than writing; it embodies a learning and discovery process each and every time my fingers touch the pen, pencil, or key board.

Other activities I am drawn to are drawing and dancing. In fact, all the things that I enjoy are constructivism activities that involve learning while doing. Thus, as the weeks progressed, I discovered that while I do identify with components of all of the learning theories we learned throughout the course, I am constructivism theory dominant. Research on constructivism theory….    

Part III

Connectivism theory is the only theory I have not mentioned yet. The reason being is that it is the last learning theory that I have applied in my learning experience continuum. In graduate school I began to use on-line tools like Google regularly. It seemed suddenly that the internet became such a valuable resource for information. Convenience has become such a crutch, if you will in today’s time period, and accessing information on-line is literally the most convenient method there is. Being that humans have a basic need to connect with others (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003), the internet presents such a convenient forum for information discovery and connecting with others and learning by means of others that it is hard not to employ connectivism theory learning methods.

Part IV

Lastly, in Week 5 we studied adult learning theory, and I strongly identify with being an experiential learner, which is an adult learning theory and is derived from constructivism theory (Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith, 2003). In Week 5 I stated, Knowing that I am an experiential learner, I know that it often takes more time for me to learn material than some other students because I have to experience something to learn it, but the act of learning is incredibly rewarding for me. I form a relationship with the content I am to learn. I get completely involved in it and experience it. This statement remains completely true. When I learning while doing and invest in whatever it is I am learning I not only connect with the material at hand, but I form a relationship with it. This outcome of the relationship presents a truly rewarding experience, one that it is worth investing in – for myself and for others.

As I stated in Week 1, my newfound understanding of the learning theories will take me away from intuiting and or guessing what the best instructional design strategies and structures would be for the multitude of circumstances I will encounter as an instructional designer and allow me to be in control and make decisive, knowledgeable decisions resulting in confidence in my ability. In order for me to design instructional material that will resonate with other people’s learning processes that I must know my own. In knowing my own successful means of learning, I am able to hone in on what I do well and capitalize on my strengths. For example, my analysis reveals that       I would be particularly good at designing constructivism learning platforms for adult learners because that is how my brain works best.

What I Have Learned Regarding the Connection Between Learning Theories, Learning Styles, Educational Technology, and Motivation

I have learned knowledge and application in all of these areas are needed in order to design successful learning platforms. As I stated in the Week 8 Discussion forum: An instructional designer wears many hats and performs many roles simultaneously.

I have learned that learning theory understanding is needed to secure foundational instructional design knowledge. Instructional design itself is comprised of learning theory methodologies and practices (Ertmer and Newby, 1993). In order to be a successful instructional designer, an instructional designer needs to know what instructional design is and what it is made of. Discovering that instructional design was based on behaviorism theory (Ertmer and Newby, 1993) was fascinating in that I suddenly understood so much about why my own learning experience as a learner in the U.S. from the 1970’s until now was the way it was. It’s like I always rode the learning wagon, yet I now know why the learning wagon was made the way it is and why it went in the direction it did.

Learning about learning styles, I was able to understand that I am an experiential adult learner (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003). Understanding that learning styles contributes to my understanding as to how students learn. I am going to be designing a course for students to learn in and from, I need to know how these students learn to the best of my ability. The learning theories bleed into this section as well, for students often identify with a particular learning theory or have a certain learning theory that they gravitate to more. Also, knowing that I am contructivism theory dominant (the theory that involves learning by doing) (Ertmer and Newby, 1993), I am able to align myself with more constructivism based courses and institutions.

I should add that a popular instructional designer that I follow Cathy Moore does not believe in learning styles. Moore (2015) states “…the best way to honor people’s individuality isn’t to shove them into simplistic categories so we can pour information into them, but to provide them with the respectful support they need to drive their own learning, at their pace. And if we use techniques that independent studies show actually work, we’re respecting learners’ time and showing true compassion for their needs” (para 25). I do agree with Moore here. Exposing students to various learning strategies that they can thus apply to their course learnings and assignments seems like the best method to employ as an instructional designer. An added bonus is that the method that Moore (2015) presents allowing students to find their own way into the material, which presents a foundational approach to adult learning (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003). Therefore, as an instructional designer, I envision using learning theory knowledge to design the course, and then creating a learning strategy resource that I present for students in the introductory course material section (Laureate Education (Producer), n.d.). Then student can print out the resource and refer to it throughout the course picking and choosing from the various learning strategies that may appeal to them under different situations and time and place.

Educational technology presents useful tools to apply to enhance the learning experience. If I learn about well-suited technologies that enhance the learning experience, then I will be able to utilize these technologies and well-equip the courses I design. Staying on top of current technology learning trends seems necessary in order to ensure professional success (Lim, 2004). Technology usage often reflects a person’s current learning knowledge. As an instructional designer, I want students to have access to the best technology trends on the market that will enhance their learning experience.

In the Week 8 Discussion Post, I stated that I would like to: design on-line courses that have visually pleasing videos that arouse student’s minds in a cognitive way. To do this, I stated that I would like to create short video productions that I produce and record myself. I would incorporate music, fun and pleasing colors, and I would present an enjoyable narrator, a narrator who speaks in an engaging tone and explains content in a way in which students can understand easily. I communicated that I would like to:

  • Conveys enthusiasm
  • Gets students involved (physically)
  • Convey a positive body image (Laureate (Producer), n.d.)

within my instructional designs. Originally, I was thinking that I could narrate the instructional materials either by means of voice, avatar, or video clips. Now that I think about this further, I could design a fictional character to narrate my instructional design platforms. I could design a stylish, witty character that I could animate – like a personified cat that spoke to the learners and walked them through the various learnings. This fictional character could employ some entertainment and humor throughout the course experience.

How My learning in This Course Will Help Me Further My Career in the Field of Instructional Design

This course has provided me with a foundation as to how educational platforms were first created, what their formats were and why. In addition, it has allowed me to understand how education has evolved. Seeing how behaviorism was the foundational base and then cognitivism was initiated, and then constructivsivm, and then connectivism, and then androgogy… I understand my own educational experience in such a deeper level and why it was designed the way it was. I now see that in order to create something new, I have to have a good, solid understanding of what existed before and why.

Now that I have a solid understanding of the learning theories, I understand what resonates with me as a learner. I am also better equipped to assess specific student populations and apply different learning theory models to work for them. I know how to engage students and to motivate students to find their own ways into the learning process.

In addition, now that I am well-informed, I am able to create learning platforms that are comprised of the best of the best strategies. For example, I am able to focus on the adult learner. I am able to design curriculum that is well-organized and has an environment that enhances student learning. Yet, rather than the learner being directed by the learning environment alone (as in older behaviorism models), I am able to turn the learning environment into an inspiring and positive space in which learners take responsibility to ensure their own learning. I know why implementing projects and problem based assignments present effective learning outcomes.

In addition, I know to create assignments that allow students to connect what they know to their knew knowledge. Additionally, I understand how students encode information, so I can design the course content to be applicable as to how the human mind learns. Knowing how adult learners learn provides me with the knowledge to create learnings and lessons that give students freedom to explore and discover learning on their own. I plan on creating content engaging project based assignments. Additionally, I now know that social connection is a human need and incorporating ways in which learners can truly connect with each other and the instructor seems like they will be vital components to the learning platforms that I create. I plan to harness the latest, applicable technology that will allow students to Technology can allow students to connect with each other via live chats and video cameras. Employing technologies like Skype for business seem like they will help take learning further than it is now – further than it ever was before. I am now able to design learning platforms that are multi-dimensional and contain the best of all the various components that I have learned during this course.

As I stated in Week 2: As a future instructional designer, I see how building positive overtones into learning platforms is integral. Learning does have emotional and cognitive overtones (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009), and visual design can influence emotions, moods, and general states of being. Kwallek, Woodson, Lewis, and Sales (1997) state “Even with an affinity for nature, it has become increasingly important to realize that individuals exist within enclosed structures for most of their lives…understanding how spaces affect individuals is necessary for personal well-being” (p. 121). Therefore, as an instructional designer, incorporating positive overtones and visually beautiful images will be at the forefront of my designs.

Specifically, through color, patterns, natural scapes, and positive – uplifting sounds, I aim to create well organized visually pleasing learning experiences that will both motivate and inspire learners. I want learners to experience joy within the act of learning: a joy that can only be achieved through well-informed, up to date, innovative, and unique learning platforms that people can connect with and attribute meaning and value to. I look forward to sharing my instructional design contribution to the educational community at large. Giving back to a community that has been integral to who I am, and specifically, who I am as a learner, I imagine will be a rewarding and gratifying achievement.

References

Allred. G. C. (2008). Seven strategies for building positive classrooms. The Positive Classroom, 1 (66). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept08/vol66/num01/Seven-Strategies-for-Building-Positive-Classrooms.aspx

 

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

Ertmer, P.A., & Newby, T.J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-71.

Grolnick W. & Ryan, R. (1987). Autonomy in children’s learning: An experimental and individual difference investigation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 52( 5), 890-898. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.52.5.890

Kwallek, N., Woodson, H., Lewis, C.M., and Sales, C. (1997). Performance relative to individual environmental sensitivity. University of Texas at Austin, 22 (2), 121-132. Retrieved from: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nancy_Kwallek/publication/232444027_Effects_of_office_interior_color_on_workers’_mood_and_productivity/links/0deec52e9833b10a61000000.pdf

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Information processing and problem solving [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.

Moore, C. (2015). How to respond to learning-style believers. Cathy Moore: Let’s Save The World From Boring Training! [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2015/06/how-to-respond-to-learning-style-believers/

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

The Owl at Purdue University. (2015). Sentence patterns. [Website]. Retrieved from: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/604/01/

Weaver, S. (2015). Response to Garth. [Discussion Post Week 2]. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_3489688_1&nav=discussion_board&conf_id=_1619893_1&course_id=_11196942_1&message_id=_52933626_1#msg__52933626_1Id

Matrix Reflection: Week 7 Post

Learning Theory Blog Post Based Off of Learning Theory Matrix Assignment

Change on How I Learn

Previously, in the beginning, I thought I gravitated to a mix of all of the learning theories, which I do yet as I am now revisiting them all, I identify predominately with constructivism theory. I identify with being a creative learner. I learn from experience. I document my knowledge. When I learn, I experience; I associate meaning, and I re-organize and encode information. In addition, I make things as part of my learning process. I make products that showcase my learning and my interpretation of my learning. Therefore, I not only receive learning, but I give back by directly participating products of knowledge within the learning community at large. For me possibilities of learning are endless and always subject to change. To me this is growth and a deepening of insight. Learning is not just an act; it is a highly rewarding experience.

In regards to constructivism, Perkins (1991, p. 10) (As cited in Ertmer and Newby, 1993) states that “constructivists see “learning and understanding knowledge as ‘..a function of how the individual crates meaning from his or her own experiences’ Constructivism is not a totally new approach to learning.” .

Therefore, in constructivism Bednar et all (1991) (As cited in Ertmer and Newby, 1993) state that learning occurs by means of “equating learning with creating meaning from experience. (p. 62)

Jonassen (1991a) (As cited in Erdwin and Newby, 1993) explains that “constructivism is considered to be a branch of cognitivism (both conceive of learning as a mental activity), yet cognitivism distinguishes itself from traditional cognitive theories in a number of ways…Most cognitive psychologists think of the mind as a reference tool to the real world; constructivists believe that the mind filters input from the world to produce its own unique reality” (p. 62).

“Constructivists do not share with cognitivists and behaviorists the belief that knowledge is mind-independent and can be ‘mapped’ onto a learner. Constructivists do not deny the existence of the real world but content that what we know of the world stems from our own interpretations of our experiences. Humans create meaning as opposed to acquiring it.

Since there are many possible meanings to glean from any experience, we cannot achieve a predetermined, “correct” meaning. Learners do not transfer knowledge from the external world into their memories; rather they build personal interpretations of the world based on individual experiences and interactions. Thus, the internal representation of knowledge is constantly open to change; there is not an objective reality that learners that learners strive to know. Knowledge emerges in contexts within which it is relevant. Therefore, in order to understand the learning which has taken place within an individual, the actual experience must be examined (Bednar et al,. 1991: As cited in Ertmer and Newby, 1993, p. 63).

This is where we see problem solving scenarios coming into play and being effective for learners. Yet what strikes me is that this type of learning expectation is advanced. I see it mainly applying to adult learners. It seems to be me that behaviorism does play a foundational necessity to simple learning processes. For example memorizing simple, straight forward information is necessary, like a person’s address and phone number. Behaviorism does have its place in the learning continuum. In addition, cognitive theory seems to be particularly useful for the learner taking responsibility for her/or his own learning. Cognitivism addresses the mindset and responsibility of a learner well. Then, constructivism lends itself to more advanced mental capabilities. It involves scenarios, critical thinking, and problem solving – all of which require the mind to be developed and fully operational. I am not saying that children cannot benefit from constructivism components. They most absolutely can. Yet, child learner will also need a foundation of behaviorism and cognitivism to provide them with strong foundational bases to spring forth from. Constructivism is more of a springing forth from kind of theory if you will. It allows the learner freedom to attain and assess knowledge as it is related to the learners experience both physical and conceptual.

Perhaps I am drawn to constructivism because I am an adult learner who already has a basic understanding of both behaviorism and cognitive learning theory methods. As an adult learner, with a fully developed adult brain and creative engagement, constructivism theory aligns with how I currently learn.

My understanding of how I relate to the learning theories has changed in that I am now more fully aware of why I identify mostly with constructivism theory. All of the learning theories are relevant and integral to the learning process, yet constructivism theory is conducive to an adult learner, such as myself, who is creative and enjoys making meaning and contributing products of learning to the world.

Learning Theories and Learning Styles That Explain My Personal Learning Preferences

I see all of the learning theories as being applicable, yet constructivism dominates my personal learning style and preferences. I have created a chart for you below in which I have documented my point of view on the usefulness of the various learning theories:

Learning Theory Usefulness
Behaviorism Foundation, structure, simple learning achievement
Cognitivism Learner centered: Developing a responsibility to ensure one’s own learning success and achievement.   Harnessing self-awareness of the importance of learning and why an individual learns the way the individual does and why specific information is useful to the learner. Acquiring specified learning strategies that work for an individual at a given place and time.
Constructivism Individual is allowed to assert and involve in a relationship with learning and the material being learned. An individual creates meaning and connects with information on her/his own terms according to her/his own unique experience via critical thinking, problem solving, and relating and assessing information with personal experience. The possibility for growth and change is always present. Learning evolves and grows.

It is important to note that “Both cognitivists and constructivists view the learner as being actively involved in the learning process, yet the constructivists look at the learner as more than just an active processor of information; the learner elaborates upon and interprets the given information (Duffy & Jonassen, 1991: As cited in Ertmer a& Newby, 1993, p. 66). This is an integral component as to how I view learning for both adults and children. I see all learners as not only receptors but to learning participants who involve directly in learning, produce products of learning, and directly contribute value to the learning community. This is one of my core values and fundamental beliefs as to how learning is successful.

Connectivism The new roles of technology and the immediacy of resource retrieval – as well as the great influence of social media has a lot to do with this theory coming into being. (Davis, Edmunds, and Kelly Bateman, 2012, para 2.). I use technology to learn from every day, Google search especially. I also engage in email, text messaging, Facebook, blogs, and websites, Linked In, Skype, and Hangout. I love the casual tones and the convenience and accessibility of all of these technological platforms. They make learning fun. There are many visuals that are aesthetically pleasing and bring joy to the eye. Also, to be able to connect with people I know immediately brings me joy.

“At its core, George Siemens’ theory of connectivism is the combined effect of three different components: chaos theory, importance of networks, and the interplay of complexity and self-organization” (Davis, Edmunds, and Kelly Bateman, 2012, para 3).

I experience chaos theory often when I write papers and provide instructional feedback on papers. Previously I thought it was how my mind worked – that is linked meaning and saw connections and patterns in otherwise unrelated topics. Yet, now I know it is an actual theory. It is something the human mind does naturally. The importance of networks does resonate with me. Linked In alone has done so much for professional networks. So many people find jobs via Linked In and stay connected with people professionally via Linked In. The technological platform, Linked In, has changed the way of connecting and relating professionally with people in my field. It has made connecting and staying up to date with people in my professional network so easy and efficient.

The interplay of self-organization is significant indeed. Through the internet, information can layered and layers. For example, I can have multiple windows open on my desktop and toggle back and forth between various modes of information. This can be energizing. Organizing information is integral to success however. Because information is now immediate, the expectations of rapid and immediate communications have increased. For example, if I do not get back to an email within 24 hours, I may receive a second email inquiring about a response. Therefore, email communications alone have to be maintained and organized let alone other means of digital information. Excel is a popular program that many use to organize and track information quickly.

Social Learning Theory Learning by means of a role model comes from this theory. My parents and teachers have played a significant role in my learning journey. By watching what they do well and what they do not do well, I have interpreted and made choices in regards to my actions in the world around me.

Not only is “learning by doing” effective, but learning by observation and learning by seeing is highly effective for many learners, especially adult learners.

Adult Learning As an adult learner, I relate to the Learning Principles described in adult learning theory:

“Principles:

  • Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction
  • Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities
  • Adults are most interested in learning about subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life
  • Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented” (Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith, 2003, p.2

As an adult learner, Experiential learning is a style and or theory that speaks to me. In graduate school, one of my professors identified me as an experiential learner. “Experiential learning is a learning theory that is learner-centered and operates on the premise that individuals learn best by experience. A good way to describe this theory is ‘learning by doing.’ Experiential learning thus has the learner directly involved with the material being studied instead of just thinking and talking about that material” (Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith, 2003, p. 6) I can relate to this theory. I want to be involved and experience what I am learning first hand whether it be physically or cognitively.)

Also, I can relate to action learning: Action learning: Adults learning in various business settings… Project work, learning communities, etc…”O’Neil, 200, p.44: As cited in Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith, 2003, p. 5 As in instructor teaching an English course at a local university, I used action learning for a real life project, and I was directed by the English department to do so. They did not call it action learning at the time, but now I know that is what it was and now I know where the formula came from. All in all, it was effective, yet getting my students motivated was challenging at first. They did not want to take on the amount of work that the project consisted of. Yet, the structure in the long run was highly effective, and the students did seem to connect with is and see its value through the process.

·         TEAL (2011) state that in regards to adult learners instructional designers and instructors should: “incorporate more writing in more contexts in the adult education setting to promote self-reflection and articulation of learning. Use ungraded, short and timed prompts such as ‘quick writes,’ ‘entry/exit slips, or ‘yesterday’s news,’ Writing is a natural means of self-reflection, and sharing personal writing is a way to bring stories of personal challenge, growth, resilience, and dreams into dialogue.

·         Engage adult new writers with online communities of writers, as contributors, readers, and peers, to foster their self-directed learning, self-study, and persistence.

·         Provide feedback that challenges learners’ assumptions and deepens their critical thinking” (TEAL teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy, 2011, p. 3).

Therefore, the role of memory is that of an activated doer… Adult students connect with the learning material via writing and associating the material with themselves and their experience. Reflection is a key component in that is allows the adult learner to connect meaning and process the learning. I can personally relate to this. I love writing, reflecting, processing, developing a relationship to the material I am learning, and processing it. I am naturally drawn to this process and feel as though I always have been – even before I was an adult – when I was a child.

Role of Technology in My Learning

Technology does not just play a role in my learning; it is a learning tool I depend on. Mainly, I use Google and Google Scholar to search information daily. Google search engines have proven to be a reliable and dependable program when critical thinking skills are employed. For example, knowing how to evaluate websites, blogs, electronic journals, etc. for credibility is integral in receiving quality information. Knowing how to use key word searches and being able to brainstorm key words quickly makes searching for information fast. It takes so much longer to locate to a library or other building that holds information and then find specified information on a book shelf. Going to libraries and performing hand held book searches is still a viable and well utilized method of attaining information; it is just time consuming. Because my life is filled to the brim with responsibilities I must prioritize and uphold, saving time is powerful in my life. Technological searches provide convenient access to good quality information. In a fast paced world where high expectations and demands are the norm, convenience provides relief and becomes something I depend on. In addition, I record and create in Microsoft Word program daily. I write documents and provide instructional feedback on scholarly documents daily. Microsoft Word has come to be a program I depend on. A big part of my job takes place within the boundaries of the Microsoft Word forum. Outlook is another technological program I depend on regularly. I use Outlook for my work email and calendar. Outlook serves as a communication tool, a social connection forum, and an organizational method I look to and live in daily. In addition, Skype for Business is a new technological forum that my company has just started to utilize. I specifically like Skype for the live video capability. Connecting with a co-worker in real time via video is much more rewarding and real, which deepens my communication experience with whoever I am connecting with. Being able to hear, see, and talk verbally and in writing to an individual allows for more senses to be employed at once. This is why the Skype video forum provides so much more learning fulfillment than say email. Do not get me wrong. I enjoy a good email just as much as the next person, and even see an art to the email forum. It is just that email, because of the sole nature of written communication, can be limiting.

I would like to acquire more design technology skills. I would like to be able to design websites and instructional design platforms. I know this learning is coming. I would like to learn design technologies that allow for visually aesthetically pleasing platforms, video streaming, and live communications. I welcome recommendations, ideas, and inputs.

Thank you

References

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71

Step by Step Montessori (1993). Step by step Montessori schools our programs. [Website]. Retrieved from: http://www.stepbystepmontessori.com/montessori-classroom

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

McLead, S. (2011). Bandura-social learning theory. [Website]. Retrieved from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bandura.html

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K.. (2003). Adult Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/

TEAL Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (2011). TEAL center fact sheet no.11: Adult learning theories. [Web PDF]. Retrieved from: . https://teal.ed.gov/sites/default/files/Fact-Sheets/11_%20TEAL_Adult_Learning_Theory.pdf

LINCS Literacy Information and Communication System (2012). Use technology effectively. [Website]. Retrieved from: http://lincs.ed.gov/programs/teal/guide/technology

]. Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/

Reflections on How My Connections Facilitate Learning

How has your network changed the way you learn?

My network has changed the way I learn in that it has added inspiration to my learning experience. Inspiration presents a big learning catalyst for me in that it ignites me with energy, which propels me forward. Siemens (2015) states, that he wishes to design tools, technologies, and pedagogies that not only incorporate the whole person (mind, body, and soul), but also emanate joy. My joy is derived from inspiration. Joy and positive energy if you will spark the mind as an engine, and then inspiration stems forth as the fuel – the gas that allows my mind to go forward. When I experience inspiration, my mind associates and creates from the material I involve with. I partake in a relationship with what I learn. It becomes part of me. For me, often times, inspiration does not merely fall from the sky, but rather, I have to seek it out. The networks I have listed within my mind map serve the purpose of inspiring me. They are my “go to” sources. Therefore, all in all, the network I have presented on my mind map has served me with consistent and dependable inspiration that I can go to ignite my learning experience.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

In regards to digital tools, narrative writing, and the blog forum best facilitates learning for me. I enjoy learning from people’s personal experience. Personal narrative is a history lesson in and of itself -one that is not told in history books. Di Prima (1998) discusses the importance of the personal narrative in her book Memoirs of a Beatnik. In addition, Di Prima (1999) proclaims her famous quote: “The only war is the war against the imagination” in her poem titled “Rant” (p. 139). Personal narrative and the freedom to imagine resonate as key to my learning experience. Anytime I learn something new, I ask myself: How does this resonate with my thoughts and ideas, my experience, my values, and what I believe, which are all components of personal narrative.

Then, I often ask myself: What is possible? What could be that yet not is, which are components of imagination. Thus, I enjoy learning what these components are for other people via blogs: the narratives they communicate and the thoughts and ideas they imagine. Blogging as a tool communicates a more casual writing forum in which many loosen up a bit and share their experiences. Shared experience via a shared virtual network is the bread and butter if you will of connectivist theory. Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman (2008) state that “learning is a way of being” (para 1) Connecting to people via shared stories and narratives is a way of being that has been around since the beginning of time. The on-line forum is conducive and encouraging to sharing stories by means of all the various virtual platforms that now abound (blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc…). Therefore, on-line networking is effective, for I receive social learning from the on-line blogs that I frequent, the ones I documented on my mind map.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

I often look up knowledge via the internet. I look to Google, Google Scholar, the Walden On-line Library, and my bookshelf. My bookshelf is the only form out of the list that I have provided that is not virtual. I go to on-line forums for mere convenience and accessibility. As an adult learner juggling many things at once, convenience is of high importance in my life.

            In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

My personal learning network supports the central tenets of connectivism. I am exposed to more people and information on-line each day than I am exposed to in my current day to day face to face interactions. The on-line forum is integral to my learning. I would even go so far as to say that I depend on it. In addition, I would add that the U.S. society supports and promotes this learning forum. New technologies are being created and developed each day. A lot of time and money goes into on-line forums and platforms. I do not see as much investment all in all in face to face forums. Events are still put on and brick and mortar classrooms continue to do wonderful things etc… But from a learning perspective, I see time, energy, and money being put into on-line sectors. As a writing instructor, I experienced this first hand at the locations of the various colleges where I taught (three different institutions in the past five years). All of them moved to on-line learning to supplement and support face to face classroom learning. A couple years ago, on-line instruction was mandated. It was rolled out as a required in the colleges where I was teaching. Therefore, I would add that on-line is where education has currently evolved to. I see it as a positive and huge success. It is not perfect. There is much room for growth and improvement, but all in all it has allowed so many people the option to learn and seek continual learning, so many people that would not have the opportunity to do so otherwise if it weren’t for the convenience and the accessibility that on-line learning has continued to provide and uphold.

References

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

Di Primia, D. (1969). Memoirs of a beatnik. New York, New York: Penguin Group.

Di Prima, D. (1999). “Rant.” In Waldman, A., (Ed.), The beat book. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Siemens, G. (2015) Adios ed tech. Hola something else. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/

A Review of a Scholarly Article on Problem Solving (Post 5)

I reviewed the article entitled “Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving for the purpose of assessing the value of the information as it relates to how the brain processes learning. This article is valuable in that it focuses on problem solving. Problem solving presents a valuable mental activity that engages learners in the activity of mental processing. In order to problem solve, learners must be attentive, focused, and driven to solve the problem at hand.

The instructional designer Cathy Moore has turned me on to the concept of learning by evoking a meaningful experience for the learner instead of learning to receive information (an information dump – as Moore has termed it) (Moore, 2015). Therefore, problem solving strikes me as providing a catalyst to spark a meaningful experience, for it requires the brain to be active and do something.

This article, “Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving” states that “Problem solving is generally regarded as the most important cognitive activity in everyday and professional contexts… However, learning to solve problems is too seldom required in formal educational settings, in part, because our understanding of its processes is limited” (Jonassen, 2000 , para 1). Here Jonassen recognizes the high volume of problem solving usage that occurs daily for human beings, and he reveals that there is little known as to how the brain problem solves. The act of critical thinking comes to mind. I know I have experienced problem solving by means of critical thinking questions at the end of a literature analysis during my undergraduate experience as an English major. Yet, I do not remember addressing how I problem solve, nor the steps I took to problem solve. I just remember doing it.

Jonassen (2000) states that the purpose of his paper was to propose a metatheory to problem solving that invokes discussion and more research. I am so interested in learning about this. Yet, through several attempts I have only been able to access the abstract of this article as well as an excerpt. I am unable to attain the full document. The article is in a journal entitled: Educational Technology Research and Development, and it addresses a readership of instructional designers, yet it costs $43.95 to download. Wow! This is a bit of a deal breaker for me. This is my first time in coming across a scholarly article on-line that looks credible according to my assessment and costs a considerable amount to access. Well, just being exposed to the thesis, purpose, and first page of this article has furthered my learning in that I have learned:

Problem solving seems to be a topic that is in need of further exploration and research. According to Jonassen (2000), problem solving seems to be lacking within current learning platforms. This makes me want to research problem solving further and find out why it is so mysterious. I would like to know how our brains problem solve. Our textbook mentions problem solving under the heading entitled “Self-Regulation and Motivation” Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) state that “The basic (superordinate) unit of self-regulation may be a problem-solving production system, in which the problem is to reach the goal and the monitoring serves to ascertain whether the learner is making progress” (p.131). Even though I am not yet learning about self-regulation, I see how the act of aiming to reach a goal (solve the problem at hand) and monitor if progress is being made via metacognition is applicable to designing meaningful experiences for learners to interact with.

Learners are traditionally required to learn information and attain it. In its most simple form, problem solving requires a goal and an outcome. I see its usefulness in learning. In addition, I see how the famous instructional designer Cathy Moore uses problems the scenarios she creates in her action mapping technique (Moore, 2015). Also, I see how problems are an important part to the schema of a narrative in that if there is not a problem, there often is not a story. Cron (2012) discusses in her book entitled Wired for Story that Neuroscience has indicated that the human brain is set up to respond to narratives, that it is nature’s way of seducing us into paying attention to it” (para 3). Therefore, I see problem solving as part of a narrative, and I see the narrative as a way to engage learner’s attention and a way for learners to encode meaning, specifically, as a means of learning new content and material within a recognizable narrative schema that learners already know well (the narrative formula and format).

Problem solving does seem to be a topic I will be: researching further and incorporating within the instructional design platforms I create. Therefore, I thank you Jonassen for allowing me a glimpse to your progressive insights on the topic of problem solving. In the future, I hope to add to the discussion you have sparked.

References

Cron, L., (2012). Wired for story. Berkeley, California. [Nook for Web]. Retrieved from https://nook.barnesandnoble.com/products/9781607742463/sample?sourceEan=9781607742456

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(4), 63-85. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30220285?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Moore, C. (2015). Let’s save the world from boring training! [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/site-contents/

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

A Review of a Scholarly Article on the Brain of a Professional Musician vs. a Non Professional Musician (Post 4)

I reviewed the article entitled “Brain Structures Differ Between Musicians and Non-musicians” in regards to how valuable it is in understanding how the brain functions and processes learning. This article describes an experiment that was conducted on the existence of grey matter in three different categories of musicians: professional musicians, amateur musicians, and non-musicians, and the findings did indicate that there was more grey matter present in the brains of professional musicians, a lesser amount in amateur musicians and a lesser amount in non-musicians (Gaser & Schlaug, 2003). I was interested in this scholarly article in regards to how life-long learners encode information, and I was wondering if looking at a focal group, like musicians would reveal something about learning by means of encoding information in using the same schemas over and over again. This study reveals one experiment among many that are currently in process. There is still much to be learned on this topic. Yet, all in all, while this source has potential and provides a new perspective in regards to brain functions and processing information on one focused subject continually during a long period of time, it does not reveal any insights as to how learners may use music as a sensory register to associate positive attributions to presented learning material.

As I study how learners encode information – that is how learners take on new information most often “by making new information meaningful and integrating it with known information” (Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler, 2009, p.70), I am struck by how learners organize new information and how learners identify information with schemas that are often already established within their long term memories, like the form and structure of a narrative. It seems to me that professional musicians would continually encode the information of music to the musical schemas they have previously learned over and over, allowing them to attain musical information, process it, and then actively use the information in the form of playing it at an above and beyond efficiency rate (in comparison to non-musicians). I would imagine that professional musicians would also be highly effective in elaboration, “…the process of expanding upon new information by adding to it or linking it to what one knows” (Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler, 2009, p.71). It seems that a professional musician would be able to continue to link patterns of sounds for example to other known patterns at a high efficiency rate in that musicians are exposed to musical patterns often and practice them regularly.

The findings in the article indicated that more grey matter was present in parts of the brain of professional musicians than non-professional musicians that directly correlated to repetitive functions and abilities that professional musicians perform and practice regularly, like for example the “Motor-related regions such as the premotor and cerebellar cortex have been shown to play a critical role in the planning, preparation, execution, and control of bimanual sequential finger movements” (Gaser & Schlaug, 2003, para 9). What this tells me is that the brain has the ability to become more efficient in certain areas when those areas are stimulated and put to use continually (more grey matter is produced in these areas). The brain develops a high efficiency to process information in that way. Therefore, this may explain why the more you do something (anything) the better and better at it you get. Researchers are still investigating the effects of pre-disposition and looking at how predisposition of people’s brains may contribute to why professional musicians seem to have more grey matter in their brains in certain areas than compared with non-musicians. Yet, there does seem to be something to repetitive learning and being a life-long expert within the area of one singular focused subject. This is a valuable article in examining the brain functioning of a singular focal group.

What this study did not tell me was how music could be used as a sensory register to stimulate the learning process of any learner, learning any kind of content. As an instructional designer, I would love to bring music to learning platforms and design and use music as a positive attribution learners may use to associate assigned material with. My instinct tells me to use classical music because there are no song lyrics to compete with the presentation of words on the page. In addition, classical music is often used in movies to evoke emotion, especially in adventure movies. I envision applying something similar to instrumental movie soundtracks to my designs.

References

Gaser, C., & Schlaug, G. (2003). Brain structures differ between musicians and         non-musicians. The Journal of Neuroscience, 23(27), 9240-9245. Retrieved from http://www.jneurosci.org/content/23/27/9240.full

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Who Else Is Here (Post 3)

Third Blog Summary Review

Title of the Blog Being Reviewed: Experiencing E-Learning: Building Engaging Learning Experiences through Instructional Design and E-Learning
Blog url: https://christytucker.wordpress.com/about-me/
Blog Writer: Christy Tucker

This post will provide: a brief content overview, thoughtful critique of usefulness, and how This Blog might serve me as an ongoing resource:

This is a visually well- organized blog in and of itself. It has a basic blog set up, with the title of the blog displayed in white, sans serif font against a ribbon of bright blue. There are six main headings displayed to the left inside of the blue ribbon: Home, About Me, My Portfolio, Hire Me, Blog Info, Instructional Design Careers. From these titles, it looks like Christy is a little bit more of an instructional design entrepreneur than the other two blog writer’s I have reviewed in my two previous posts. She seems to be a free-lance instructional designer.

Christy’s picture is displayed to the left. Next to her picture she welcomes us viewers to her blog, which feels nice. She even invites us to check out her Visitor’s Guide if we have never been to her blog before. This strikes me as clever and intriguing. I click on the Visitor’s Guide, like I am traveling to a new a land.

The visitor’s guide lays out themes that reveal what her blog is about: Instructional Design, Corporate E-Learning, Higher Ed, K-12 Education, Lifelong Learning, Technology, Bookmarks (Resources). Christy goes on to state “Talk to Me” and shares that she enjoys the conversational dialogue forum that the medium of a blog constitutes. She states a comment policy and lets readers know that she expects respectful comments that either agree or disagree with her. Guiding readers how to comment, Christy strikes me as a true educator in that she is paying attention to always being aware of a potential teaching moment.

I’m a bit taken by her exclamation that she does not take guest posts “due to multiple negative experiences.” Aye, that is too bad. This strikes me as a little limiting and a network loss, especially when I compare it to the rich and ever so vast network of which Mr. Jay Cross invites to his blog as I discussed in my first blog post. Friends may take you places Ms. Tucker. Do not give up. I went to Christy’s About Me page, and discovered that she is instructional designer focused on developing engaging e-learning and blended learning. She states that her work has been “related to education in some way”  she reveals that she has “bounced around from public schools teaching to corporate training and now online instructional design.” She goes on to state how she got into this line of work as an instructional designer and confesses that teaching was not for her. While her story is a bit lengthy, it is insightful. Christy reveals a bit of a casual tone. The positive is she seems to let her guard down and let readers into who she is.

Her top posts are displayed to the right of her blog, and they seem to be fit for someone like me who is just entering the field of instructional design. Her titles read: “What does an instructional designer do?” and “12+ books for instructional designers.”

I checked out one of her blog posts to get a feel for her writing voice and content. Ms. Tucker is an engaging writing, and her blog post writing is well-organized and efficient. I enjoyed her post entitled “Name Generators for Learning Scenarios.” In this post Christy discusses the importance of transforming a general statement into a specific scenario. She presents an effective example, and goes on to discuss generating names and characters for these scenarios. While, yes, choosing names and coming up with an overview of character profiles make sense, there seems to be something missing. She provides name generator resources, which may come in handy for me someday. If I were to guess, I would say that Christy aligns herself with the behaviorist theory as a blog writer. It seems like she had a learning goal in mind as to what she would like her blog viewers to learn (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Thus, her content leads blog readers right to the ending point of understanding that character names are needed to bring teaching scenarios to life. Then she concludes by giving readers a resource of name engines to explore further.

Yet, I would like to know a little bit more, like I would like to understand more about the active and descriptive scenarios she creates and their usages – and her experience using them in instructional design material. I want her to provide a cognitive approach as well, go a little deeper, and help me understand why choosing names for characters is important in instructional design material. I want her to activate me as a learner in true cognitivist form (Ertmer& Newby, 1993). For example does the name have to be of a certain neutrality or a certain ethnicity? What about gender? What are the latest trends and best practices in regards to gender roles in instructional design materials? How can I think through these topics myself and apply them to current instructional design conversations? How can I actively apply my daily life to character development?

I would recommend Christy’s blog to people thinking about going into instructional design, but maybe haven’t takes a course or read a book on it yet. I may visit Ms. Tucker’s blog from time to time – to check in, introduce myself, and comment on some of her posts. It is always good to know what fellow instructional designers are doing. However, I am seeking a little bit more challenging content – one that asks questions and provides possible answers. Overall I seek more innovative thoughts and idea based content.

References:

Course Text: Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Chapter 1, “Overview” (pp. 1–16)

Article: Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.

Who Else Is Out There (Post 2)

Second Blog Summary Review

Title of the Blog Being Reviewed: Let’s Save The World From Boring Training!

Blog url: http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2014/09/3-ways-to-save-gobs-of-time-when-designing-training/

Blog Writer: Cathy Moore

This post will provide: a brief content overview, thoughtful critique of usefulness, and how This Blog might serve me as an ongoing resource:

Straight away, at first glance, I can tell this blog is for me. I mean, how can you go wrong with a blog title like, Let’s Save The World From Boring Training! I see Cathy’s name is prominently at the top in white sans serif font set against a modern trout grey strip of backdrop. Her picture appears at the top right column, just where I expect it should. In her head shot, Moore presents a smartly amused facial expression – with a subtle dash of irony brushed ever so slightly across her brow. It’s like she is looking right at you, thinking “Hm, it’s interesting you see it that way. Now let me shed some light on the subject.” I feel like this is a person I am really going to learn something from, and I most likely – there will be a witty joy in it.

In her about page, it states, “Her advice and designs have been used by organizations that include Microsoft, Pfizer, the US Army, Barclays, and the US Department of the Interior. She’s the creator of the action mapping model of training design used to improve performance by companies worldwide.” Well, if we had any doubts, it looks like she’s qualified.

Her blog is straightforward and simple, just the way I like blogs to be. In organizing her content at the top in six featured main headings: Blog, Workshops, Resources, Store, About, and Contact I am suddenly aware that Ms. Cathy Moore’s blog is a bit more commercial than compared to Jay Cross’s blog that I just previously reviewed. It looks like Ms. Moore has a book out titled Training Designer’s Guide To Saving The World – yet again another catchy title. It looks like via the workshops tab that Moore offers training design workshops live and online, on demand, and in person. It looks like she has a series of You Tube videos that are on eLearning. Also, she has a short video about mistakes in elearning. I will definitely be come back to check out all of these relevant resources, for I have been and am currently an on-line student, I have been an on-line instructor for several years, and now I work for an on-line university in which my entire day to day job is elearning. Not to mention, I am going into the instructional design field and am currently involved with remote onboarding and training. In my current studies, theory is at the forefront, as I mentioned in my first blog post. Specifically, Moore’s description of avoiding an information dump – in her quest to save the world from training (Moore, 2015) – or bad training – is what it seems to be ore likely referring to makes me think of behaviorist theory and the many problems with it (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). While having a specific learning goal and measurables to measure that goal are important – especially while on the job and a specific task must be learned, it seems that Moore has identified a key area of concern – that the output of information intended to educate the employee has turned into an often messy, dense nest of rhetoric, which the learner must sort through, understand, and interpret. It seems like Moore is taking a constructivist approach in that she is re-creating what training is and how training is implemented. She is re-inventing the training system. Bredo (1994) as well as Dewey and Bentley (1949) stated that “Social constructivists view the classroom as a community whose task is to develop knowledge (As cited in Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p.19). I would love to have the opportunity to ask Moore what theory she most aligns herself with.

Under the resources tab, there are elearning examples, an action map overview, a learning technology anti-hand out (love it),…how to become an ID, answers for grad students, and course material.

I wanted to investigate her actual blog posts, so I took a look at her blog post titled “3 ways to save gobs of time when designed training.” This topic appealed to me, for I am in the throes of designing training material for new hires. Moore is a talented writer – hands down. Her sentences have a joyful cadence and flow effortless from on to the next. This gains her quite a lot of cred in my book!

Also, Moore gave a great deal in her post – she shared valuable knowledge that I am still thinking about. Mainly her point in this post is rather than spewing out a bunch of training material to hand off to a new hire to choke down, have a two hour meeting. Invite relevant people that can contribute and ask poignant, detailed, challenging questions that get to specifics and hone in on the heart of what truly needs to be learning. Moore refers to this as action mapping, and it seems to be her very own creation. She has a method: identify a goal…, expand the goal…, identify specifically and concretely…, prioritize actions…, use the flowchart. I will use this as I design and create training material and/or anti-training material.

If I have already learned something from experiencing just one of Moore’s blog posts, I am enthused to come back for more! I, therefore, deem this site useful, absolutely useful. I connect with it because of its simple, straightforward organization, what it offers – blog posts, you tube videos – possible workshop, and a book. Moore’s smart, playful tone fills me with energy. Why would I not return?

Whew! This is indeed a good resource for me. As I stated, I will return; honestly, I will return especially for the You Tube videos and the blog posts. I want to read, engage, and take from all that Moore has to offer. Hopefully, I will be able to give back as well in providing a blog response here and there and in adding value to the instructional design field myself. I think of Moore as a resource I will return to for direction, inspiration, and ideas. I look forward to trying her mapping technique out myself. I actually have been a SME in an action mapping meeting and had not known that it was a technique that my direct supervisor was borrowing from at the time. I am thinking, “Aha! Now it is all so clear.”

References:

Course Text: Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Chapter 1, “Overview” (pp. 1–16)

Article: Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.

Who Else Is Out There (Post 1)

In my first three posts, I begin my public exploration into the world of instructional design (I.D) by reviewing three prominent I.D. blogs

First Blog Summary Review

Title of the Blog Being Reviewed: Internet Time Blog

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

Blog Writer: Jay Cross

This post will provide: a brief content overview, thoughtful critique of usefulness, and how This Blog might serve me as an ongoing resource:

Writer and creator of the Internet Time Blog, Jay Cross states “I am a designer. Design is not merely an indicator of aesthetic taste, but a social phenomenon that both mirrors and shapes how we think.” As this is the first thing I read on Cross’s blog, I am thinking, “Great, Jay Cross, you are speaking my language; I agree with you.” Now, what else does Cross’s blog offer beyond a poignant definition of design?  As I scan and click across the sparse imagery – yet full and overcrowded field of black and red text, I am a bit confused as to how Cross has visually organized his content. Perhaps his blog is attempting to do too much, text wise? It looks like you can subscribe to his blog, which I tried to do, and an immediate error occurred. Hmm.

From the looks of it, it seems as though Cross has invited guest contributors. As I scroll down the Archives page, I discover a post by Don Norman. His post is titled “The Psychology of Everyday Things”

Norman provides four keys to good design:

Next comes Norman’s enumerated list on the principles for design:

There are seven of these and some commentary is provided on some of them, so I am not going to post them all. Go here to view them if you would like. They do appear to be useful. My favorite principles are:

Design principle 1 “use knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head.”

And

Design principle 4 “get the mappings right”

He goes on to state “make sure the user can determine the relationships: between intentions and possible actions,…” This makes good sense to me. I can relate this to essay writing. In essay writing transitions need to be made visible and connect sub points together and sub points need to be connected to the main, overarching point (the thesis). I often tell my students when incorporating transition words in a written document, to think of the analogy of being a tour guide in a museum. This analogy is applicable because a tour guide in a museum leads the viewers from one room to the next – from one piece of art work to the next – and from one way of interpreting a piece of art to another way of interpreting a piece of art. All the while, the tour guide directs and connects one interpretation to the next, leading the viewers along as they go. Essay writing is like being a good tour guide. It looks like instructional designing is too. These points are useful to me. I am thinking, “Jay Cross, I am glad that you have knowledgeable contributors making appearances on your blog.”

It looks like his blog is organized into two sections: 1) A heading section and 2) an archive section. While the archive seems to have possibilities with subheadings like “It’s only natural (an exert describing walks in the San Francisco Bay Area leading to a discussion on “The model for the future is biological”- actually a pretty engaging read)” and “Go with the flow” (an exert describing his old instructor Gary’s three step model and how it has applied to his life upon his reflection – another pretty good read), I found myself more drawn to the headings section in which ten themes are presented: Instructional, User Interface, Learning Objectives, Graphic, Web, Informational, Architecture, Visual Thinking, Software, and Industrial.

I clicked on all ten.

The instructional tab particularly stood out to me. It features seven subtopics one of which sparked my interest, titled Instructional Design Learning Theory, which is the area of instructional design I am currently studying at this time. Specifically, I have been studying the three learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism in the article entitled “Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective” by Ertmer and Newby (1993). Therefore, at this point in my instructional design study, I see so much of education via these three categories. I hope to encounter these theories in the content Mr. Cross has shared in his theory category. Then, directly following is another subtopic labeled “Theory into Practice Database;” this subtopic goes onto to state: 50 theories relevant to learning and instruction. Wow, 50 theories! This is, truly, right up my alley. You would think behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism would be covered there. When I clicked on this hyperlink, it looks like I was directed to another site titled instructional design. org. This site looks like a goldmine! I am thinking, “where have you been all my life?” It looks like this valuable website was created by Greg Kearsley (an independent consultant, a designer, developer, and on-line teacher who has a PhD in educational psychology and has written several books) and Richard Culatta (a leader in k-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. Culatta serves as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and as the Director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education). Yes, I can tell, a link to Richard Culatta’s Ted Talk and all, this website is going to be my new best friend!

I will use this site to introduce myself to Mr. Cross – to advance my instructional design network, to learn from him – he seems to know what he is talking about, to benefit from the knowledge and resources he has acquired, i.e. the instructional design website I discovered via his blog, and to engage in thoughtful dialogue with Jay by means of his blog posts from time to time.

This site will serve as an ongoing resource to me in that by mere exposure and engagement, it allows me access to a wider instructional design world than to which I previously knew. Specifically, Mr. Cross communicates progressive thoughts and points in regards to instructional design. He continues to evolve and discover new points of departure and new ways of orientating his work as a designer. These are the kind of people I want to be around, innovators.

Thank you Jay Cross. You have a lot of typed content on your blog, so much I do not know where to look. I suggest a visual re-arrangement, a de-cluttering , and a re-organization around a focal point. Yet, you write thoughtful and engaging posts that meld your everyday experiences to current instructional design topics and practices. I found joy and appreciation in these. Nice work good fellow! Also, in sharing your blog space with others, you are indeed in the company of good instructional design people! Being exposed to your network, via your blog, has already advanced and furthered my learning. For this I thank you and will return regularly!

References:

Article: Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.