I read recently a book called "Iconoclasts" by Gregory Berns (2010) about people in history who have thought differently. In the introduction Berns (2010) writes that the brain runs "on about 40 watts of power (a lightbulb!), it doesn't have a lot of energy to spare. So it must be efficient. This means that it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information, such as what other people say, to make sense of what it is seeing." What an image. Our brains are constantly making sense of our world, constantly learning. After eight weeks of reading and researching different learning theories I have come to appreciate the power of my brain. How it works efficiently and how sometimes it doesn't. Along the way I've identify some learning theories as ones I thrive best in, enjoy learning best in while others I've identified as structures I'd like to leave by the wayside.
Did you know that "what you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like-- it literally rewires it" (Medina, 2014)? Before investigating how we learn and learning theories I had no idea the power of our brains. How we encode and transfer information can depend on how well the learner takes that information and repeats it, makes it meaningful, or uses it in a similar situation and it can also depend on how well an instructor has helped the learner stay motivated and identified what learning theory the learner is best suited by (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). The theory of Connectivism surprised me; I had no idea there was a theory for how I was learning at work and in my own life. I thought I was just hacking my education, looking up bits of information when I needed them and making connections out in the communities (virtual) that I needed in order to complete my work (David, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
It was the discovery of the theory of Connectivism that has deepened my understanding of my own personal learning process. My own job is constantly changing because of new advancements in technology, the constant updating could be exhausting but with these connections I'm able to get the key information I need. In Connectivism the key factors to learning are "connecting to and feeding information into a learning community" (Kop & Hill, 2008).
As a learner and instructor I've come to realize the importance of recognizing these different learning theories and how they are connected to the learning styles. To maximize my own learning I need to seek out connections that reflect my own learning styles. A video where there is both auditory and visual aspects is the "sweet spot" for my learning style (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). As an instructional designer it is important to incorporate all three learning styles visual, auditory, and kinesthetic into instruction in order to engage all types of learners (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). According to Ormrod (n.d.) adult learners are motivated by stimulation or things that interested you or cause arousal, competence or the need to feel like you’ve done something well, self-determination (autonomy) or the need to feel like you have a sense of control over what you are learning, and relatedness or the need to interact with others and build connections. Keeping these factors of motivation in mind I can build an online environment that helps keep learners motivated.
The learning in this course will help me design, create, and build instruction that keeps in mind how people learn, including their learning styles, their different intelligences (Gardner, 2003) and the different factors that motivate adult learners.
According to Medina (2014) "audiences check out after 10minutes, but you can keep grabbing them back by telling narrative or creating events rich in emotion." As an instructional designer I'll have to consistently reach for better narratives, better simulations, and better strategies in order to keep the learner's attention and ultimately in order to help them use the information later. By reflecting on and implementing the theories, learning styles, and motivation factors I've learned in this course I'll help each student use their forty watts.
Berns, G. (2010). Iconoclast: a neuroscientist reveals how to think differently. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences after 20 years. Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.consorzionettuno.it/materiali/B/697/773/16/Testi/Gardner/Gardner_multiple_intelligent.pdf
Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf
Kop, R. & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Reasearch In Open and Distance Learning. volume 9, No 3 October 2008. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103
Medina, J. (2014). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Ormrod, J. (n.d). Video Program: Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Motivation in learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.