Reflection of Learning in EDUC-6115 Learning Theories and Instruction

In looking back over this course, there were some frustrations and some moments of “yes, I am going in the right direction.” The weeks we spent on the learning theories were the frustrations. Having completed the Walden MS degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, there was a lot of time spent on learning theories. I felt that I was going over a lot of ground I had already spent time on. There was nothing really new, but I did get a couple of new sources for reference. This course did remind me of discussions and issues I may have put aside in the time crunch of my work life.

On the other hand, towards the end of the class, when we started to learn how to use technology to teach, I was challenged and forced to take a look at what I am doing in my classroom. In the past few years, I have been attempting to make my classroom, technology-friendly for the students. For example, I have begun posting classwork/homework online, put resources where they are readily available to students, and having students use Google Docs for their group work. I feel like have just touched the tip of the iceberg now.

With regard to my own personal learning process, I discovered I am on the right track. I did have the evaluations from my previous courses and completed new evaluations for this course. There were significant positive changes in my style. By incorporating different methods in my classroom over the years, I am becoming a better learner, and hopefully as a result, better at getting information across to my students. When I first took an evaluation, I was much more of a visual learner. If I did not see it or do it, I had a hard time. I have improved my skills with reading and writing. I still have some work on the mathematical-logical aspect of my own learning. I do speak to my students about my shortcomings in this area, and many students have stepped up to assist with their classmates’ learning over the past 11 years that I have been a teacher.

The most important thing I learned is learning styles and educational technology need to be combined in different ways to be able to interest our students in what we are teaching. I work at a school with block scheduling, 72 minute blocks, and having students do the same thing for that long means you will have boredom and discipline issues if you do not change up activities. By appealing to different aspects of students’ learning styles, you cause them to think a little harder and keep their attention. By keeping their attention, you keep them motivated to learn within your classroom. The “more a man knew; the greater was his ability to reason and choose those actions that truly brought happiness” (Socrates, By giving students multiple ways to learn, there will be more engagement within the classroom and hopefully happier students in the long run.

With learning theories, there are times students need to connect their learning to previous learning (connectivism) or change/show a new way for completing their work (behaviorism). As you are creating your lesson plans, there needs to be conscious thought as to what type of theory you are attempting to use with your students.

Technology is ever changing in our world today and most (but not all) students are constantly “plugged in” to their world, whether through smartphones, iPods, mp3 players, tablets, and/or laptops. Part of our job as teachers is to keep up to date on technology and to use our students as resources when necessary to assist with this technology.

I will continue to move in a positive direction and be a lifetime learner. I have been reminded of information learned previously; I need to keep it in mind as I plan my lessons. I need to visit my RSS feeds, continue to do my own research and write in my blog on a regular basis. In this way, I hope to keep myself current within the industry.

As to an actual career as an instructional design, the first two courses in this degree program have been extremely eye opening. I did not realize all the different paths that were open to me as an instructional designer; my thoughts were only on becoming an online teacher. It was my own “aha” moment. I will continue to look at the different paths and see where I can fit best. I have ten years until I am eligible to retire from the classroom. I do not know if I will retire or if I will continue for more than ten years. I also have a few people pushing me to get my PhD to enable me to teach at a four-year college. There is a lot of research and decisions to be made for my future.


Socrates (470-399 bce). (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2012, from Timeline of the History of Learning website:

Fitting the Pieces Together

In our last blog post for this course, we have to look back and see what we learned and how it does, and will in the future, affect us.

  • Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

Before I fit the pieces of my learning in the current Walden University coursework I am completing, here is a little background information.

I completed the MS in Education degree at Walden back in 2007, which was in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. During that time, there were a few courses that went in-depth into the different learning theories and styles. Over the years since then, I have attempted to use the different learning theories within my classroom and continued learning with professional development classes at my current school. I have hoped that it made my class more dynamic and encouraged student learning, while stepping out of my comfort zone with some of the learning styles. In this way, I hoped to not only extend my ways of learning but show my students there are many different ways to show the same information.

I believe what has happened during this course (Learning Theories and Instruction) is my learning from before has been confirmed. During this time, on the “Timeline of the History of Learning,” it stated that Socrates taught his students the “more a man knew; the greater was his ability to reason and choose those actions that truly brought happiness” ( I always tell my students that I hope to learn as much from them as they do from me. If we do not have mutual learning occurring, then we are back to teacher talk, or teacher as expert. While we are each an “expert” in our respective industries/subjects, there is always room for more learning, especially with technology.

I am not sure my views on how I learn, or how my students learn, have changed much. I believe all different theories must be tapped depending upon the goal of the lesson, unit, and/or course. If we believe that only one method is “right,” we will be missing out on other possibly important moments within our classrooms. This is true when I am learning something new or when I am teaching something new to my students.

  • What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

One of the topics that I reflected on had to with environmental factors. Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) stated, “Environmental factors have effects on brain development as well. One important factor is the amount and quality of food one eats” (p. 39). I have been struggling with my health over the past ten years. After getting multitudes of tests, visiting doctors, ending up in the emergency room quite a few times, and having three surgeries in the past two years, I have finally been diagnosed with celiac disease. This is not just intolerance or an allergy. Approximately half the villi in my intestines have been shut down by putting gluten in my body. This has affected my memory, stamina, ability to fight colds, attention span, and motivation.

In this situation, I relied heavily on my visual abilities (multiple intelligences theory) and constantly turned notes into different types of pictures. In this way, I was able to retain a little more information than I thought I would be able to. I am hoping in the future, I will be able to use some of the learning theories that I am a little weak on, such as constructivism. I would like to be able to not only be better at extending my own learning but teach my students how to do so as well. I need to spend more time looking for extra articles, web sites, and books that are relevant to the topic at hand, whether it is a course I teach or a course I am learning from.

  • What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

Technology plays a very large role in my learning. Even though I am considered a “digital immigrant” (someone born before 1970 who was not raised with technology), I am constantly using technology at work and at home. I have a work desktop and laptop, home laptop and desktop, smartphone, Nook® and will be getting an iPad®.

I have several digital magazines I read on a regular basis; i.e., InformationWeek, eSchool, etc. I follow educational and hobby blogs. I am in constant touch with my friends via social networking (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). This Master’s degree is being done completely online, as was the first one I completed.

Semple (2000) states, “Cognitive tools activate thinking and learning takes place through the process of using the tool” (p. 25). I find if I find, work on, or do an exercise by myself online I am more likely to remember it or bookmark it so I can go back later if necessary. The idea of knowledge now is that you know where to find it not just memorize it. There is too much knowledge at our fingertips using the World Wide Web than we could ever find in a library. The new learner will have the skills to discern accurate information from false or biased information.


Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Chapter 2 learning and the brain. In Learning theories and instruction (pp. 27-47). New York, NY: Pearson Custom.

Semple, A. (2000). Learning theories and their influence on the development and use of educational technologies. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 46(3), 21-28.

Socrates (470-399 bce). (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2012, from Timeline of the History of Learning website:


Personal Learning NetworkI grew up in the era when there was no technology; you had to go to the library to find out information. There were times you had to wait, because the librarian had to get the information from somewhere else, and it had to be mailed and/or delivered. If you wanted to find out about a company, you had to call or go visit. You could get information from a neighbor … if they had used the same company.

When I first went out to work (as a secretary), we still had typewriters, maybe one Xerox machine for the whole company, and had to use carbon paper most of the time. As computers came to be integrated into the workforce, I was forced to learn on the job. I would get into a position and begin by looking for and through the User’s Manual. There was no one to really lean on or ask questions of to know how to work these machines. Everyone was on their own to learn what they could.

How has your network changed the way you learn? Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

When I look at the graphic of my personal learning network (PLN), it startles me how different technology has made it. There were always work, family, and friend aspects to my learning network. At school, there were teachers and fellow students. The biggest difference is how we are connecting with the use of technology. I do not have to hunt around for magazines or other types of information. I have set up RSS feeds to my email to keep up to date on the newest technology or different techniques to get information to my students. Using Facebook and Twitter, I keep up with what is going on in the corporate world through my friends.

Fenwick and Tennant (2004) state that we need to be “opening ourselves to challenging new explanations of learning, which may demand that we step away from our personal worlds of comfortable beliefs and values” (p. 56). I will need to learn how to use Skype better and how to use collaboration web site and/or software to keep in touch with learning/work groups and to participate in webinars. If I do not learn these skills, I will not be able to pass the knowledge on to my students. In this world, we would be doing our students a disservice if we did not teach them these skills.

 How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

“Humans are completely interconnected with the systems in which they act” (Fenwick and Tennant, 2004, p. 65). I learn from any avenue I can connect to, whether it is from friends, Google, magazines, newsletters, RSS feeds, or blogs. I constantly take courses (which is why I am completing another Master’s degree) to make sure I stay on top of the current trends and technologies. The more networks I reach out to, the more I will be able to learn and use with my students. In the end, I am better for reaching out and, hopefully, will make my students better prepared for their futures.

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

I believe my PLN supports this idea of connectivism, because, as stated by Downes (2012), “Learning is the creation and removal of connections between entities, or the adjustment of the strengths of those connections” (, para. 3). I have made connections through work, through school, and through my friends that have assisted me and/or my students in gaining knowledge. My connections are open to assisting others when assistance is needed. I pass along other blogs, articles, and web sites when I feel someone has need of the information, and it is reciprocated by others that I know.

Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith (2003) state that it is “important to acknowledge prior knowledge and experience of learners” (para. 10). I also spend time finding out from my students about the way they learn best and what prior knowledge they are bringing to my classroom. I have a pre-test (using for each of my classes and a survey that all students take on the first day of each course with me. It helps me better prepare for lessons that are coming up.

By spending time finding out about my students and knowing where they want to head in my classroom and in the future, I can tailor what I know to their needs. I feel my connections make me a better teacher and, in the end, my students better prepared for the future.


Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning (M. Orey, Ed.) [Article]. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology website:

Downes, S. (2012, May 21). Downes on connectivism and connective knowledge [Blog post]. Retrieved from Connectivism website:

Fenwick, T., & Tennant, M. (2004). Chapter 4 understanding adult learners. In G. Foley (Ed.), Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era (pp. 55-73). McGraw Hill Education.