As I finish up with the last week of this course, I admit that my knowledge about how people learn is more profound than I expected it would be eight weeks ago. After reflecting on each completed assignment, I have to say that I am most surprised by how it is possible to combine learning theories from the past with technology of the future to design instruction for adult learners. Though there is still much to learn about learning theories and instruction, I feel that this course helped me to better understand my own personal learning process and gave me a solid foundation that I will be able to apply towards creating instruction for others. In this reflection, I will further discuss how my learning in this course will help me to enter into the field of instructional design.
First, I would like to further explain why the combination of new technology and old learning theories is surprising to me. For example, we learned about the Behaviorist Theory that focuses mostly on how learning is explained by observing behaviors of a learner within its environment. In the beginning, I could not find much of a connection between this theory and the online learning technology that is my preferred learning tool. Then it dawned on me that the study of behaviorism could very well have led to the creation of programmed instruction. Computer assisted instruction and tutorials allow for students to process information systematically and then receive immediate feedback for their answers, which fits B.F. Skinner’s notion of operant conditioning. Revelations like this certainly helped to keep me engaged in the class, because I felt that I was making connections with information that was new to me.
Additionally, I am happy to admit that this course has deepened my understanding of my personal learning process, which will help me to relate to other learners. In the sixth week we were encouraged to recognize differences in learning styles, and I found this lesson helpful in discovering additional insight into what helps my learning process. Of the theories listed by Dr. Ormrod (2009) in the Learning Styles and Strategies video, Mnemonics was my favorite model to discover as a learning style that I have been using successfully for years. I believe that I can use my increased knowledge of different learning styles and multiple intelligences to improve my own learning experience at Walden University while learning to design balanced instruction for others.
I have also learned that there are many connections between learning theories, styles, technology, and motivation. It will be a goal of mine, as an instructional designer, to combine these items together when creating instruction. For example, it is possible to create instruction that blends theories from Piaget, Vygosky, Gery into an Internet-based activity that includes social network connections and Intrinsic motivation. As argued by Jared Carman (2002), “that some of the best-designed learning experiences draw on a blend of learning theories and philosophies.”
As for using the knowledge that I have gained in this course to help my career in the field of Instructional Design, I will attempt to apply the knowledge I have learned from our lessons in future interviews with hiring managers within the field. Overall, I feel that I am now better prepared to control the direction of my career.
Carman, J. (2002, August). Blended Learning Design: Five Key Ingredients. Retrieved from http://www.agilantlearning.com/pdf/Blended%20Learning%20Design.pdf
Laureate Education (Producer). (2009). Learning Styles and Strategies. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD: Dr Jeanne Ormrod