Reflection on my learning of EDUC6115 course

It is time to look back at past few weeks of my learning about learning theories and instructions, and reflect on those thoughts!

Frankly, I had never given a serious thought to all the theories and terms used to explain the learning process. Just by observing, I understood that each person learns in different ways, depending on their educational goals and values, abilities (strengths and weaknesses), influences from their immediate environments, interest in a subject and a teacher/instructor’s approach to teaching it, relevant social interactions, motivation, etc, etc…

So, a well defined, exclusive, course EDUC6115, on learning helped me in many ways to:

– reiterate my experiences about understanding my own and other’s learning process,

-access immense sources of excellent research findings to support my understandings,

-comprehend the importance of effective instructions, to be a sensible instructional designer.

I remember that in the first discussion post, I said I was taught in a behaviorist method in my younger days but a combination of cognitive and constructivist would be my best learning philosophies. Now, I’d add a dash of connectivist and social learning to the list! Because along with the appreciation of the importance of learning about short and long term memory, how to effectively improve storing information in LTM, create own understanding through scaffolding techniques, I realized the importance of discussions, interactions in technical and social networks, use of latest technology, knowledge of multiple intelligence, motivating factors and much more! This expedition through the ocean of knowledge of various learning styles introduced me to learn in many various ways!

Thus, I’d say that learning styles, learning theories, educational technologies, and motivation are all pieces of the big learning puzzle. Each piece must be used to fit together in a way to complement and supplement contextual information to benefit the learner.

Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences was one of the striking points to me, which offers the best information because it provides descriptions of learning styles. The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) is an especially good model for looking at teaching strengths as well as for examining areas needing improvement. MI theory provides a model through which one can activate a person’s neglected intelligences and balance use of all the intelligences. As Gardner says people utilize several intelligences based on learning tasks makes me want to include variety in the instructions to kindle a learner’s MI capabilities.

I agree with Gagne, who states that there are several types/ levels of learning that require different types of instruction, and different internal and external conditions. He identifies five major categories of learning: verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, motor skills and attitudes. I feel that a systematic approach to learning tasks for intellectual skills, such as the ones addressed in this course (and many other online classes), requires organized hierarchy. This facilitates learning at each level and provides a basis for the sequencing of instruction (Gagne’s nine events of instruction)

However, we all know the importance of motivation to a successful learning experience, especially in a self-directed learning, online environment, I’d definitely consider Keller’s ARCS model  principles to design mass motivational email messages along with adaptive motivational design. In this task, information and data about the target audience will be a great help in creating excellent online courses.

I strongly agree with the research study by Comeaux (1995) which found that interaction and involvement lessened the psychological distance for students at remote learning sites.  Because, I believe that a learner must feel a strong connection with his/her instructor and cohorts and be happy to come back to learning something new!

Additional Ref:

http://tip.psychology.org/gagne.html

http://tinyurl.com/nfzh35

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