Walking into this program, there was a lot fear and pressure that I faced. From the beginning I knew I was going into this program of study blind-sighted, before now, I had only heard about instructional design. Never did I think in a million years this is what I would finally decide as the career I would like to see myself in, in the next year or so. This course has open my eyes to a new way of thinking of approaching the way I learn as a student continuing this program and for my future as an instructional designer, creating material for other learners. As I take this moment to reflect on the past 8 weeks of this course, I will reveal a few things I have learned about myself and other learners as wells as tools and strategies that will be useful for my future success.
As I studied about how individuals learned one of the first thing I found striking was how common some of the same learning experiences I have had, so many other people have experienced as well. When I was faced with learning challenges I use to think that there was something wrong with me, but I now understand that every learner faces some type of challenge. The only difference is the way we each approach our challenges within our style of learning and which strategies we use to overcome them. Needless to say I was surprised to learn that I was normal. I learned that everyone has a learning style and each of our different styles fit in with these philosophies created centuries ago.
This course deepened my understanding about my personal learning process, through the lessons about the brain, and how the brain functions. I learned that the brain is like every other muscle in out body; and in order for it to stay strong and each of its areas pertaining to learning, retaining and processing information to function properly, we have to do activities that exercise each of those areas equally. I learned that our brain function plays a major role in information processing.
The connections between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation I have learned, is that with each there is a form of the other to go along with it. Since this is a distance learning course and program, I will say that the learning theory that most relates is connectivism, this theory is connected to the learning style that integrates technology within the learning process. This also connects to the ARCS model of motivational design. The process is use in distance learning environments such as this one we are in. A- Attention, R- Relevance, C- Confidence and S- Satisfaction; “incorporates needs assessment based on an analysis of the target audience and existing instructional materials, supports the creation of motivational objectives and measures based on analysis of the motivational characteristics of the learners provides guidance for creating and selecting motivational tactics, and follows and process that integrated well with instructional design development” (Keller, 1999).
My learning in this course will help me further my career because I know have just a bit more knowledge, and I feel that I have gained a useful amount of information that gives me a good solid foundation of the learning to come. I have learned to use the fear, and challenges as motivation to keep pushing forward, and not let it discourage me, I will succeed in this field.
Keller, J.M. (1999). Using the ARCs motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 78, 37-47. doi: 10.1002.tl.7804.
Before starting this graduate program, I never really thought in detail about my learning style. I mean I figured everyone had their own preference of how they processed information, for me I followed methods that were comfortable for me, like writing things down readily, or seeing visual examples along with lessons that were given. Since this program I think I have been challenged to look closer into myself as a learner, and I have found understanding of the type of student and employee I am and I have a clear picture of where I want to be. Learning about the different learning theories ( behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, connectivism, social learning and adult learning) I understand what areas of my learning style fit into each of these different theories. I learned that these theories just like everything else have evolve from what they began from. Now that I have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, I look at learning like eating habits and working out, In order for our body ( including our brains) to grow stronger and remain healthy, we have to make sure we are feeding it the proper nutrients and exercising regularly. Learning is the same, during the course we learned about the brain functions, and it is our job to make sure we are properly feeding our brain in order for it to function. The learning process is an exercise for the brain. I look at It learning as a daily routine, versus something I will need to do while in school or at my job. it is important that we are challenging ourselves and going beyond the surface of the learning process. One of the most significant things I have learned over the past few weeks that give me a better understanding of my own learning style is that I am a completely different learner now than I was as a kid. As a kid I was more dependent than I am as an adult learner, I am able to define my own needs. As a young learner, I was given requirements and boundaries, I was not aware of all resources that we have available to day. Also, my focus and goals are different as an adult learner, and I am equipped with different learning skills now. “In today’s environment, many educational structures exist with the primary intent of preparing individuals for the workforce. Much like previous societies aligned education with the higher ideals of their era, work and employment—as cornerstones of life—drive much of today’s education” (Seimens, 2006). Since we are now living in the digital age, my learning style closely connects with the connectivism learning theory. As we we learned, connectivism integrates informal learning with technology. The role that technology plays in my learning; first and foremost I attend classes on-line for my graduate program. Every thing I do for school is practically on-line. I utilize all the resources such as the University Library when needed, I am able to create communication forums. I have learned about several programs such GoogleDocs that allow me to store and share information with others anywhere. Technology is becoming my livelihood, because it allows access to so many things. I never have to leave my house to pay a bill or to shop. When it comes to my professional life, I am able to work from anywhere when I am no in my office, I can communicate with other co-workers and clients. Technology allows me to stay prompt when I have deadlines. It exposes me to place that I only imagine going and provides me with in depth knowledge. For me, i know look at learning as my golden ticket, just like in the story Of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, learning will take me places I have only talked about going and provide me with skills I only thought about having. As my learning style evolves, so will I.
Learning in Classrooms Vs Online
I do not think there is such a big difference… but maybe it depends on the person!
It s hard to be leave in just 3 weeks I will have completed my second graduate course. One step closer to my career goal in the field of instructional design. There were several topics discussed this week, one in particular was the the Adult learner and the distance learning environment. We were all at one point the traditional student, we went to school everyday, entered a classroom with a teacher, and anywhere between 25-30 classmates. The face- to-face interaction with others, and the connection with the teacher is important to the young learner because it is building the foundation for them to create who they are as a learner. A lot of us do not all get to stick to the traditional path of attending the traditional university, life happens and we are forced to take alternative routes to reaching educational goals. The vehicle of technology had afforded us working adults an opportunity to start, complete, or continue a higher education. Although distance learning has been around for years, it has recently started to make a big mark in education. When we decide to enter a distance learning program, as adults we are intimidated most times because we do not know what to expect. As an adult learner that is currently in a distance learning program, I am here to say to my fellow comrades, that we will face challenges in everything thing we do. The traditional classroom has the benefit of physical social engagement, while distance learning doe not; however I feel that this has no affect on you and the type of learner you are as an adult. Remember your learning style foundation, and use that a guide. Pull you resources together to help you. The mind map, is a great tool to organize thoughts, your plan, and resources. The mind map can be used to help you stay motivated, and as reminder of what ones goal is. The challenges I faced in distance learning course, were not the fact that I was not motivated, more that time was never on my side. More and more I had to learn sacrifice. Today I know myself as a learner, and I know that I have a guide for challenging days and I may forget who, what,and where to go for assistance. Build a network, my network has changed the way I learned because I have changed my network. I look to the experienced and knowledgeable individuals that can guide me along on my journey. I have been able to organization between my network, education and school, social and lifestyle. I had designed my network to fit my specific needs in my life. The best digital tool that facilitates learning for me is the internet, and more specific Google. There is nothing I have not been able to find. It is a great resource that I can go to from anywhere, computer, iPad, or iPhone. Connectivism is said to integrate technology, social works and the learning environment; with my network, supports the central tenants of connectivism because it reach a broad avenue of learning needs. My life goal, educational and career goals are all wrapped up together, my network can be looked at a a chameleon, one resource and be used to guide me through 4 different things. I heard a saying you network determines your net worth, while the financial reward can be a motivator the satisfaction of completing life long goals is more, but I would not cheat myself. My network will always be a vital part of my learning.