What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?
As is the case with nearly every educational course I take, I found some surprising things in this Learning Theories and Instruction course. As I furthered my knowledge about how people learn, I was surprised to learn that true social environments can in fact be created in online classrooms. The way Walden courses are designed, although not face-to-face, allows me to interact with my peers through online discussion posts and other forums. This cooperate learning helps further understanding of information and introduces me to different points of view. Additionally, Walden’s curriculum makes me an active participant where I can construct meaning both from my teachers and from other learners. This meaningful social learning drives me to higher levels of comprehension on topics critical to my practice in instructional design.
How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?
Learning about connectivism deepened my understanding of my personal learning process. Prior to this course, I hadn’t given much thought to how my digital connections and networks relate to how I learn. However, while developing my mind map in week 5, it became apparent that how I learn new things is deeply infused with digital age technologies. Specifically, the way I interact and use social networks, electronic devices, and personal learning resources, brings me vast amounts of up-to-date information at speeds once thought impossible. These digital learning nodes and the way I use them play a huge part in my personal learning processes.
What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?
This course taught me the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation. The foundation of an effectively designed course should be built on learning theories. Learning theories explain how learning occurs, which factors influence learning, the role of memory in learning, how to apply knowledge in real-world situations, and how best to use technology to teach students new information. Educational technology is an important avenue to create intellectually stimulating and objective focused courses. However, no matter how well a course is designed, motivation is the key to learning. Instructional designers who create courses targeted at students’ need for affiliation, need for approval, need for achievement, allow for self-determination, and that include a level of autonomy are likely to effectively cultivate both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and be successful (Keller, 1999, & Laureate Education, n.d.).
How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?
I have learned vital theories, concepts, learning styles and strategies, motivational techniques, and applications of technology that will help me further my career in the field of instructional design. I am in the sunset of my military career and excited to begin a second career in instructional design. I am hopeful to join a company with a culture that values and treats employees with dignity and respect. To that point, nearly every job ad for instructional designers and learning and development managers lists understanding adult learning theories as a requirement. Furthermore, the knowledge I have attained and resources I have been given in this course emphasize the importance of stimulating creativity, being learner centered, infusing technology, and motivating students to help them effectively acquire new knowledge.
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS Motivational Process in Computer-Based Instruction and Distance Education. New Directions For Teaching & Learning, 1999(78), 37-47.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Motivation in learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.