When this course first began eight weeks ago I anticipated that there would be magic learning theories that could be acclimated to all learners. Just like a plug and chug statistical math formula, I expected that learning theories would offer me as a future Instructional Designer obvious learning theories or strategies that would be simple to implement to learners with different learning styles. As the weeks went on, exposure to learning theories and rationales behind them, I found it surprising that learning styles are a derivative of other factors related to the brain resulting in how people learn.
This course intensified my personal learning process in a number of ways. I think it is important to fully understand how and why people learn the way that they do. I can empathize with any learner that is misunderstood or considered to be student not capable of learning. Looking back over my academic career teachers, instructors, including professors only used 1 learning theory to teach, which is the Behaviorist Theory. “The behaviorist learning theories emphasize changes in behavior that result from stimulus-response associations made by the learner. Behavior is directed by stimuli. An individual selects one response instead of another because of prior conditioning and psychological drives existing at the moment of the action (Parkay & Hass, 2000).” The behaviorist theory negated to look at the inner workings of the brain, which is a vital component to understanding and implementing learning styles to include all learners. Personally I am a visual hands on learner, which until know has never been addressed. As educators at any level, I find it a disservice to all learners not addressing or taking into account learning styles.
The connections between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation are fundamental. It’s obvious to me that as humans we have to continue to learn and adapt to the evolving world around us. With each passing year new technologies are being developed and changing the world in which we live professionally, socially, and domestically. What I found striking regarding learning styles and strategies is how the brain and motivation play a significant role in the learning process. Depending where you are in life weather being a student in grammar, secondary, high school, college, or graduate school etc. the motivation for learning will different at each level in many ways. Based on the intrinsic and extrinsic values people are learning for different reasons. It is extremely important to understand those reasons to make the connection of motivation regarding learning and learning styles. The learning theories are behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, social, connectivism, and adult learning. As we continue to educate ourselves and educate others we will utilize these theories based on motivation and desire of the educator and the student. The motivation and desire for an adult vs. a student in high school are completely different. The motivation to learn for an adult may be to advance his/her career or to obtain a promotion, on the other hand a high school student may view his/her education a trivial and at that age they fail to see the true relevance in educations because of the development of the brain. High
School students simply view education as hoops to jump through to make it to the next level weather its college or the work force. To make the connections between these polar opposites, we have to look at the brain and maturity of the individual. These are which I consider where we are in our stages in life and the pursuit success.
This Learning Theories course will help me further my career in the field of instructional design in many ways. As an Instructional Designer I think it is extremely beneficial to be knowledgeable of learning theories and learning styles because it provides the framework in which instruction can be designed. Success as an Instructional Designer is having students that succeed. If we are able to truly understand their needs and how they learn or their motivation, we can provide an extraordinary learning environment. The meaning of the word “Educate” is to draw out. As Instructional Designers we are charged with the responsibility to bring out the best in our students and understanding how and why they learn is a step in the right direction.
Parkay, F.W. & Hass, G (2000). Curriculum Planning (7th Ed.) Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon