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” (http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/Walden/EDUC/6115/01/mm/tec_timeline.html). 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: http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/Walden/EDUC/6115/01/mm/tec_timeline.html