Being a classroom teacher for ten years, I wasn’t sure if there was much to learn from a course such as this. Initially I thought that at the most it would expand my knowledge of the different learning theories. However, after the first week I knew that I would later regret this assumption. As I look back over the resources provided throughout this course I see that with all that I knew about learning theories and instruction my knowledge on the matter was very limited. This course would in fact open my eyes to so many different theories and ideas that were once unknown to me despite all my previous classes on such matters.
Of all the things I learned in this course I was most intrigued by all the material presented about the brain and its role in learning. As a biology major I had previously learned about the various parts of the brains and their roles, however looking at these parts and their functions based on their roles in learning was interesting. Despite the differences in their functions the “two hemispheres usually work together to understand and respond to the world,” with the “left side being more apt to handle details, and the right side being more fitted for looking at and synthesizing overall (Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M.). In addition the different functions of the brain I also found the information on long term and short-term memory to be informative as well. This information was striking to me as a teacher first and future instructional designer second. This information helped to think about how to present information to my students in different was to allow it to be stored in their long-term memory as opposed to being placed in their short-term memory and possibly lost. As an instructional designer I have to be aware of the role of encoding and information processing. I need to learn to plan for instruction that is meaningful and allows learners to integrate previous learning that has already been stored in the LTM.
When researching the various learning theories, and styles as well as the role and importance of motivation on learning. I found the importance of staying abreast of the latest trends and topics. Instructional designers should be aware of each of the learning theories in order to properly plan for and accommodate all of them when possible. “Learning theories provide instructional strategies and techniques for facilitation learning as well as a foundation for intelligent strategy selection.” (Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J.) With all the different learning theories and learning styles educators and designers need to know that they all work together and are interchangeable depending on the learner and the content of the material.
During the week on learning styles, I took it upon myself to take a web-based form of the Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Test. The results were and still are a bit surprising to me. I’m not sure I would completely agree with them, however they do seem to support the notion that “eight intelligences function together in ways unique to each person” (Armstrong, T.). Each person having the ability to learn all eight intelligences will call on each of the intelligences individually or in conjunction with others as needed.
Through this course I have learned things that I will carry with me as both a teacher and instructional designer. Keller’s ARCS and the study of motivation has been invaluable. I recall learning in graduate school that people are motivated by different things be it intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Learners need different things to keep going. Some need good grades, praise or career advancement opportunities. While others do it for the love and enjoyment of learning something they find interesting (Pew, S.). Others have a mixture of both. While Keller’s ARCS offer learners, teachers and instructional designers ways to identify and accommodate learners differing motivational needs.
With technology advancing at such a fast pace, it’s difficult for consumers, let alone educational facilities to keep up. Technology has a growing place in planning and educating learners of all ages and backgrounds. The concern is not the type of technology or its application, but on making sure teachers are aware of, properly trained for and have access to said form of technology. This year alone I have been made aware of and advised to attend various training opportunities for technology tools and applications that I will not have access to, at least not until it is obsolete. In order to properly integrate technology teachers and designers need to be both aware of it and actually able to use it, they need to feel comfortable with it.
With all that I have learned during this course it is my hope that as a designer I know that there is no learning style fits all. Each learner needs what they need, this also means that instructors and designers need to plan for the learners needs to change. Due to this course I now have an entire tool kit for addressing all these needs and ways to motivate learners when intrinsic motivators are not enough.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50–71.
Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Chapter 1, “The Foundations of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences” & Chapter 2, “MI and Personal Development”)
Pew, S. (2007). Andragogy and pedagogy as foundational theory for student motivation in higher education. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 2, 14–25
Huett, J., Kalinowski, K., Moller, L., & Huett, K. (2008). Improving the motivation and retention of online students through the use of ARCS-based E-mails. American Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 159–176.