May 8, 2014

Training

December 23, 2012

Learning Reflection

“Learning is not exclusive to the domain of an education system. Learning begins a very long time before school; continues for even longer after school; and happens rapidly, and in parallel with school, in a great number of different ways and settings. Learning proceeds in a number of different ways, and has been described and explained by many different interested researchers and opinion-makers over many years (Pritchard, 2009).” Learning is a life-long process for every human being, and not a single day goes by that we do not learning something new.

As a teacher I am familiar with learning theories and learning styles, however, not to the depth this class brought. Each theory was an idea in isolation, but it has become clear to me they not only overlap, but are intertwined. Another characteristic of the learning theories they move from being external factors in learning, to internal, to a combination of the two, as well as starting out as an individual act to a group environment.  “As one moves along the behaviorist—cognitivist—constructivist continuum, the focus of instruction shifts from teaching to learning, from the passive transfer of facts and routines to the active application of ideas to problems (1993). As children learning is mainly something we depend on others to assist us with, but as we get older and become adults, learning is something we control and construct to fit our lives and needs. I always thought of myself as an independent learner, doing everything myself, teaching myself things I want or need to learn. But, now I see how wrong I was. I may be alone in a room, but I have a network of people and resources to assist me, a network which has grown in the last sixteen weeks. “Learning is not a mental process occurring in a vacuum. The context of a person’s life—with its unique cultural, political, physical and social dynamics—influences what learning experiences are encountered and how they are engaged. Furthermore, context is not a static container in which learners float but is active and dynamic (Fenwick & Tennant, pg 55).

Learning styles theory indicates that people have different approaches to learning and studying (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). “All brains are not organized the same way. Like with everything else human, genes collide with environment and the result is not a predictable thing.” I always thought each person had one, two or maybe three learning styles, but our reading changed that misconception. It makes perfect sense that our learning styles fluctuate depending on the task to be completed. It is also my opinion that learning styles fluctuate with age as well. Price (1980) examined ways in which learning styles characteristics appeared to change as students advanced from grade to grade. Selected environmental, emotional, sociological, and physical traits appeared to be stable over time, whereas others tended to parallel the growth curve. Pre-school children tend to be more kinesthetic/tactile, elementary school children are primarily visual, while teenagers are very auditory. As a student matures into adulthood he/she is more able to combine and manipulate a variety of learning styles to enhance the learning experience.

Learning is a lifelong process beginning at birth and continues til death. After eight weeks the differences between the respective theories was enlightening and clarified a great deal for me. One of the most valuable aspects I take from this is the fact it has made me a better teacher. The connections I made between respective theories and learning styles helped me understand what I can do better in my own classroom. The focus here is adult learning, but the knowledge is transferable to young children as well. The connections made and strengthened between myself and other members of this class helped me as well.

 

References

21st Century Christian. Teacher Training # 8 – How Learning Styles Change With Age, retrieved from [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M654obPY1c]

Active Intelligence.net.  Do Our Learning Styles Change Over Time? http://www.activeintelligence.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=29

Cooper, S. Theories of Learning in Educational Psychology: Theories and Theorists for 150 years retrieved from [http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/learningmap.html]

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.

Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. Chapter 4, Understanding Adult Learners. Tara Fenwick and Mark Tennant McGraw-Hill Education.

Gabriel, G. (2012, November 7) “Left Brain” “Right Brain”: The Mind in Two [Blog message]. Retrieved from http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=fa/mind-two

Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf

Pritchard, A. Ways of Learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom.  Routledge Publishing. NY 2009 Pg. 1-4

 

December 14,2012

Learning Theory

 

‘Learning is not exclusive to the domain of an education system. Learning begins a very long time before school; continues for even longer after school; and happens rapidly, and in parallel with school, in a great number of different ways and settings. Learning proceeds in a number of different ways, and has been described and explained by many different interested researchers and opinion-makers over many years (Pritchard, 2009).” This quote succinctly explains the past six weeks. Each learning theory and learning style has been researched and studied. Some of the information was new and surprising while other was not. In the beginning the belief was that learning theories overlap. That belief was reinforced throughout the course research. In addition, another realization occurred. Not only do learning theories overlap, but they scaffold. Behaviorist theory states that in order for learning to occur behaviors must be altered. Cognitive theory states learning occurs in stages. Each theory builds on the previous theory, and account for only part of the total learning experience. The distinction also was made that a child’s learning is more passive as opposed to adult learning, which is active.

The reading on learning styles were a revelation, but in hindsight makes perfect sense. The misconception was that each person fits into one or two particular learning styles. Although unexpected the reality makes much more sense. Learning styles fluctuate with each activity and topic. Teachers try so hard to target each student’s learning style in order to optimize educational value. “The optimal teaching style strikes a balance (not necessarily an equal one) between the poles of each dimension of the chosen learning styles model. When this balance is achieved, all students are taught sometimes in their preferred mode, so they are not too uncomfortable to learn, and sometimes in their less preferred mode, so they are given practice and feedback in critically important skills they might never develop if instruction were perfectly matched to their preferences (Felder).” As far as personal learning is concerned, it has become apparent that visual learning is not my only style. Visual learning is merely the cornerstone to which the other styles strengthen their abilities.

Technology plays a fundamental role in my personal learning. I use it for research of all types, both personal and academic. It is used to keep me connected to friends, colleagues and clients. I use it to compare learning standards and find activity ideas. It plays a critical role in my design business, and in preparing projects for class work as well as in my own classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

Felder, R. ARE LEARNING STYLES INVALID? (HINT: NO!) Retrieved from

[http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/LS_Validity%28On-

Course%29.pdf]

 

Pritchard, A. Ways of Learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom.

Routledge Publishing. NY 2009 Pg. 1-4

December 2 2012

Connectivism

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, 
or we know where we can find information on it." (Samuel Johnson)

One of my high school teachers’ favorite saying was, “knowledge isn’t necessarily knowing the answer, but knowing where to find the answer. That saying has stuck with me for the past 32 years. I have said it to my son and my students numerous times. As a young person, if I wanted to know something, the library or bookstore was my destination, pouring through books and encyclopedias until I found what I was searching for. With the evolution of technology my habit of researching didn’t change just went cyber. The last few years my network has grown. There is always an avenue to follow to gather information. Also, I have made irreplaceable connections with other educators. The exchange of knowledge and resources is unlimited. I have learned exactly which of my network I should utilize depending on the topic I need help with.

There is really no single tool I prefer over any of the others. I base my choice on what I want to accomplish. Although I have a variety of books on education, the computer and internet are the resources I access the most. Many of my books are ebooks which I access on a tablet, but my online resources are utilized most often. I do rely heavily on Google, Pinterest and educator blogs to access new learning. I consider any valid source a vehicle from which to learn.

When I have questions I usually start with Google. If I don’t find what I need the first time I change my search term and continue the process until my question is answered. I also search through educator blogs for answers.  As an example; our district adopted CSCOPE, a comprehensive curriculum at the beginning of this school year. It is completely different from what we had before. My team members were having a difficult time adapting to it. I went to the Teachers Pay Teachers website and messaged every kindergarten teacher in Texas with a list of questions about CSCOPE. The response was overwhelming. I received resources, lesson plans and much more than I ever expected in order to help my team adjust to the new curriculum.

I feel my network supports the tenets of connectivism for a variety of reasons. There are numerous types of information sources, most of which are online. As a teacher and lifelong learner it is imperative to continue absorbing more information as education evolves. With age, life experience, and learning the connections and importance of those connections become more apparent.

 

November 11, 2012

Information Processing Theory

Education.com

Education.com is a site I have used quite often for different reasons. It has information covering education from early childhood to college and beyond. The article on Information Processing Theory was quite in formative, but a bit easier to understand than Learning Theories and Instruction ( Laureate Education, 2009). Information processing theorists differ in their views on which cognitive processes are important and how they operate, but they share some common assumptions (Laureate Education,2009) I noticed this between the article and our textbook. But, the general idea was the same. The Information Processing Theory consists of three main components, sensory memory, working memory and long term memory (Schraw, 2006).

This site has articles on learning theories, taxonomies and so much more. I spent a great deal of time exploring the site and I believe it will be a valuable resource for this course and beyond.

 

The Information Processing Theory and Its Effect on Children and Learning

The mind is truly an amazing thing, and the information that it processes is immense (Ganly, 2007). I found this particular article very helpful as a kindergarten teacher. It geared all we read for class to children and the best way to “maximize the amount of information the brain processes, maintain it and encourage normal development of abilities and thought processes (Ganly, 2007). For me it helped fill the gap between early learning and adult learning and how to best teach children in order to prepare them for adult learning. I feel it is important to learn how each age group learns in order to design learning for any age. Ganly uses a great deal of information from Dr. Ormrod. She also attributes heredity and environment as factors in learning. A child is born into an environment that is completely determined by the parents and surrounding society (Ganly 2007). This will be a valuable tool in studying learning theories.

 

Instructional Design.org

The third resource I found Instructional Design.org. This site by far will be the most valuable of all I explored. It covers 56 different theories and how they apply to instructional design. It includes instructional assessment, instructional design models and recommendations for books to read on each topic. The aspect that really helped me is it had subjects broken down into Learning Theories, Learning domains, and learning concepts. As far as Information Processing Theory goes it talks about the two basic principles: “short term memory is limited to seven chunks of information, and planning in the form of TOTE is a fundamental cognitive process (Miller & Galanter, 1960)

 

 

Ganly, Sarah. 2007, November 6. The Information Processing Theory and its Effect on Chidren and Learning. Retrieved from [http://voices.yahoo.com/the-information-processing-theory-its-effect on-633559.html?cat=4]

Miller, G.A., Galanter, E., & Pribram, K.H. (1960). Plans and the Structure of Behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction. 2009: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Schraw, G. (2006). Knowledge: Structures and processes. In P. A. Alexander & P. H. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (2nd ed., pp. 245–264). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

 

 

November 4, 2012

Instructional Design Blogs

Edudemic

www.edudemic.com

Edudemic is a multipurpose website. It covers all age ranges of education. It provides information on cutting edge tools to enhance teaching as well as how tos on how to use them. It has a page dedicated to elearning. It explores how to use social media to enhance education.  This site offers a plethora of information and it would take hours to explore adequately. It also has information broken down by grade level to make it easier to find information and lesson plans. Many of the articles have references to learning styles as in our reading this week. One particular article, “The Road to Successful is Paved with Mistakes, (Green, 2012) states “Instead of learning the answers to questions, students must instead learn which questions to ask, and then embark on finding the right answers.” It speaks of a holistic learning rather than one type.

 

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT BLOG

http://www.iddblog.org

Instructional Design and Development Blog is a blog from DePaul University. It is dedicated solely to Instructional Design and covers a wide range of topics. Navigation is easy as it is well organized sorted by month as well as category. Categories cover a wide range of topics, including administration, mobile learning, digital life and audio/video just to name a few. In browsing the site it was obvious that all topics covered were connected with instructional design. This site, should prove to be very helpful in the future

 

SIMON PAUL ATKINSON

http://spatkinson.wordpress.com

Simon Paul Atkinson’s blog was very informative. The title of his post was “Learning Design Becomes Mission Critical” (2012). It was a complimentary source to our readings for this week. He talks in depth about learning domains as well as holistic learning. Many of the posts on his blog are related to learning domains, taxonomies, learning outcomes etc. This is a very informative blog and should prove a valuable tool for Learning Theories and beyond.

Although these were the three researched in depth, the research is not complete and the list of valuable blogs will become longer.