Monday, June 27, 2011

Final Reflection

Taking this course has been a great experience rich with information that will help me in my personal and professional life. I was amazed with the information gathered about many learning theories, and at the same time, this helped me to identify my own personal learning process. I gathered information about how motivation is indispensable for learners and how all this knowledge can assist me in my future career as an instructional designer.
I was shocked to find that learning styles may affect the way learners acquire and process information, when teaching method does not match the learners preferences. When I was a child, I felt that some teachers did not help me to understand some of the topics. I felt left behind, and I thought the I was the only one with problems. While I was growing and gathering information about child development and psychology through my classes, I realized that people have different learning styles. The learning styles can be included in the three basic types of learners; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Reading the articles from my class I found that teaching methods vary and that "some instructors tend to lecture, others demonstrate or lead students to self-discovery, some focus on principles and others on applications, some emphasize memory and others understanding"("Learning Styles." - The National Science Digital Library. Web. 26 June 2011. Some of the theories that we talk about and discuss in my class were the behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, social learning, connectivism and adult learning. I recognize that it does not matter which theory people follow; the learning style and preference styles can be include on each and one of them. For example, a visual learner can follow the cognitive theory where to transfer information is occurring through exposure of similar context.
Taking this course and learning about the different learning styles and theories helped me to understand that since I was a child my learning approach have been visual and kinesthetic, and using most of the learning theories. I identify that I am using approaches from behaviorism to adult learning theory. I use reminders and environmental stimuli from behaviorism, and I am interacting/participating on e-courses using my experiences and learning strengths on technology.
Dr. Ormrod stated that people learn in different ways and may have a unique style to gather and process supplementary information. We can go from multiple intelligences that according to Gardner describe as capacities (8 or more) to learning styles that describe preferences and non-preferences in 49 different areas (Prashning B. 2005) where both concepts can help enhance learning and teaching. It is We need to take into consideration these two concepts of learning styles and the learning theories that describe how people learn, and fit this information with educational technology that "is a practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources ("Educational Technology." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 26 June 2011. ). Then we need to consider also motivation that is an important factor that can impact the learning environment and the effectiveness of the learning experience (Ormrod 2011). In my opinion, the connection of all of the components mentioned previously is like pieces from a puzzle. In order to learn and teach, it is necessary to know how to consider all the factors, to help a great variety of students or learners.

I think that the information that I gathered taking this class can give me the tools to design practical instructions. As an instructional designer, it is necessary to know how people learn and what I can do to help all learners. Using the computer as a tool to design programs that can facilitate the learning process is a great opportunity that we have on these days. This course has been helping me also in my current job as an educator of children and parents. I had the experience to teach young children, and recently working with adults providing training. In the future, I would like to teach adults using online courses, but what I know is that technology with intelligent application of learning theory and strategies I can help all learners in training or educational fields.

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