Learning Theory puzzle pieces come together…

Looking back the past 7 weeks, I’m glad to say that I’ve definitely learnt a lot about my own learning style. This may be because, earlier I had no opportunity to take any “courses” on learning theories. Although I did modify and made some changes in the way I learnt-mainly because of the whole new “on-line” experience, I don’t think my view has changed on how I learn.

“We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences” (Howard Gardner) and as Dunn and Perrin (1994) described learning styles as “the way in which each learner begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information. That interaction occurs differently for each individual” (p. 2) Thus, I have learned that the theories of learning can be used in different contexts with different learning types.

A quick recap of the learning theories we studied:

  • In Behaviorism, learning happens as a response to a stimulus in the environment. This is influenced by positive reinforcement and feedback. Acquiring basic skills with a focus on measurable and observable/expected behavior helps students extensively
  • In Cognitive theory, focus is on knowledge acquisition (information processing of brain) by following well structured procedures and rules, influenced by growth of conceptual understanding and strategies of thinking to solve problems with reasoning. Higher intellectual skills develop this way.
  • In Constructivist theory a learner constructs knowledge based on his/her own experiences. Largely influenced by environmental learning opportunities, students learn to solve problems of emerging relevance structured around primary concept.
  • In Social Learning theory, learning is achieved through meanings and understandings out of social encounters. Language, symbols and signs in a society, are the tools that facilitate learning. Students achieve strong social and interpersonal skills with this.
  • In Connectivism, learning occurs by integrating information from social and technical network. Influenced by complex environment, diversity of cultural and social network, students benefit by connecting, compiling and internalizing abundant information.

Knowing these theories made me wonder and I concur with Kerr, when he says, “It seems to me that each _ism is offering something useful without any of them being complete or stand alone in their own right.”  (Kerr, 2007)

Thinking about my own learning style, clearly indicates to me that I use a good mix of all the different styles, depending on the complexity of the subject to be learnt.

Personal Web has been a very important and primary technical source to search for the most useful and reliable information, mainly in the area of learning new technologies. According to Lim “Internet technologies allow learners to access up to date information anywhere and anytime” (pg. 16) As I mentioned in my earlier blogs, there is an ocean of information; infinite amount of knowledge to be accessed, organized and internalized by using technology. Connectivism, (the term is fairly new to me) is obviously the means for learning in this on-line class. We are all connected together and are learning by the technology.

However, until now, I had never seriously thought about how I used technology in my everyday life for personal learning and helping kids to learn. Use of social networking sites: Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn etc has grown on me so easily and effortlessly that it makes me wonder that the world has shrunk and is such a small place after all!

Ref:

Ormrod, J. (Host). Walden University [Media Playlist]. Baltimore, Maryland: Laureate Education Inc. [Learning styles and strategies]

Gardner, H. Project Zero. 2010 Project Zero: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/

Kapp, K. http://karlkapp.blogspot.com/2007/01/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational.html

Kerr, B. http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html

Conlan J., G. S. (no date). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning.

Gilbert, J. &. (2008). Learning Styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol.I].

Kim, B.  (2001).  Social constructivism.  In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technologyhttp://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Social_Constructivism.

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