Fitting the Pieces Together

 

My view regarding the way I learn has not changed at all as a result of this course or what has been covered. I can say that it has strengthened my belief that I have accurately identified my dominant intelligence(s), learning style(s), and the learning theories in which I tend to operate within. I begin this course with the belief that my views toward how I learn and therefore how I teach align closely with the cognitive and contructivist learning theories. I still maintain this assertion. However, I also think that some of the strategies I use and the ways in which I am motivated can be related to the behaviorist theory. I do believe that people tend to respond to positive stimuli versus negative stimuli. I think that as an instructor, it is important to assess each learner in order to identify possible stimuli that would be effective in producing desired responses. Thus, I still maintain that as an instructional designer, I must create a platform as well as learning activities that appeal to every learning style and intelligence.

The one theory that resonates most with me is the conversation on Adult Learning. The fundamental principles make perfect sense. In order for adults to learn, the environment must be one that creates opportunities for active involvement in planning and evaluation; personal and professional experiences provides the basis for learning activities; content is relevant to social and professional roles; and learning activities are problem-centered and can be applied to real-world situations. This discussion has helped me put my own learning into perspective and examine factors that influence how receptive I am to learning new information. More importantly, it caused me to think about why I use different techniques to process information.

As a person that takes a cognitive approach to learning, I really appreciate cloud-based applications. I think that providing a network that facilitates an environment for learners to share with one another, provide information, obtain information, and dialogue about like interest is a very positive practice. Additionally, when I think of these applications, I immediately think of course pages for online classes. The structure of the courses is very concrete and fluid. As you navigate various course/class sites, one will most likely find that purpose(s), tasks, assessments, and applications are all clearly defined. This assists me tremendously as I immediately lose motivation when I have to ‘look’ for information or track down a resource.

Overall, I feel like I have learned a few new techniques and identified resources that will assist me in designing lessons that will not only interest and stimulate my learners but will also provide multiple opportunities for learners to demonstrate content mastery.

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Iona’s Network

I have created a mind map that demonstrates my network of technological learning tools that I use to support and enhance my educational experience. The network I am using has changed the way I have learned by allowing me to think ‘outside the box’ and provide me with additional resources, graphics, and information to support content. For example, my blog subscriptions have allowed me to access reliable information without being restricted to an academic or professional database. They also allow me to connect with other professionals in my field that may share my personal and/or professional experiences.

The tools that work best for me are the blogs and the technical and learning resources available to me through my class portal. I have found that information is presented in an organized fashion, it is relevant, and site navigation is relatively simple. Knowing that I am able to find information quickly reduces my anxiety level and prepares my mind for active learning.

When I have questions about one of the E-tools or any of the content, I have several resources available. In addition to asking my instructor or accessing the many tutorials and guides on my class portal, I am able to pose questions or elicit information from others via the blogs. I have had several positive interactions with people (worldwide) who are willing to share and assist when asked.

One of the primary tenants of connectivism is the idea that in order for significant learning to occur, a significant relationship must exist. Because my network consists of resources that will support my professional growth and development, I am more willing to utilize these tools. Additionally, as I complete assignments and research various theories and practices, I am able to apply to my own instructional delivery and/or share with colleagues. Thus, the processes of synthesis and application create a realistic and significant learning experience.

Hot Links for Brain-Based Research

There are two resources I have located that discuss the importance of brain-based research in relationship to curriculum design.

The first is Brains.org. The address is http://www.brains.org/. In addition to learning information about how the brain works, information is available regarding the various social and emotional nuances that influence the brain and how it operates. Conditions such as substance abuse, autism, and caffeine are discussed.

The second is an article by Leslie Owens Wilson titled, “What’s the big attraction? Why teachers are drawn to using multiple intelligence theory in the classroom. In this article, Dr. Wilson discusses the emergence and neccessity of considering multiple intelligences traits as classroom teachers are preparing for direct instruction. While she understands the importance of this theory for teachers, she is concerned about how the information is processed and applied. She suggests that in order to develop instructional strategies that are appropriate and engage the various intelligences, teachers must have a clear understanding of this philosophy and be committed to its integration. The link to this article is http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/mi/wilson1.htm.

Iona’s Instructional Design Tips….

I have discovered three very good resources for those of you who are interested in expanding your knowledge regarding Instructional Design. Below, I have provided an annotated bibliography for each. Enjoy! Iona

Norman Friesen composed an article entitled: Interoperability and Learning Objects: An Overview of E-Learning Standardization. In this study, Friesen discusses the importance of establishing standards when developing tools and content for online courses. Specifically, he is concerned with the tools, resources, content, and operability of e-learning systems. In the paper, he takes a critical look at three systems and discusses the ‘standardization’ of each. They are the IMS Global Consortium, the IEEE LTSC (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Learning Technology Standards Committee), and the ISO/IEC (International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Commission). Friesen discusses how while each adds value to the world of E-Learning, they all lack a standard in which they develop and present information. You can access this article by going to http://ijklo.org/Volume1/v1p023-031Friesen.pdf.

The second article is authored by Thomas Reeves, Jan Herrington, and Ron Oliver. It is entitled Design Research: A Socially Responsible Approach to Instructional Technology Research in Higher Education. In this article, the authors discuss the general guidelines that should be followed when researchers and other scholars are conducting research on the integration of technology in higher education. Additionally, they provide general guidelines to assist researchers in this process. The authors suggest that the primary focus should be on content. Once the content/curricula is fully developed then the appropriate technology is identified and utilized. This article can be accessed at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.110.652&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

The final article is A Study of the Design and Evaluation of a Learning Object and Implications for Content Development. The authors Ferdinand Krauss and Mohamed Ally report on a case study that examine the process and evaluation of a learning object to help students understand the therapeutic principles of drug administration. Overall, the researchers attempted to identify appropriate learning strategies that can be most effectively utilized with a specific learning object. The findings indicate that instructional designers must have a firm understanding of learning theories and cognition in order to design resources and materials that meet the needs of all learners. This article can be accessed at http://ijklo.org/Volume1/v1p001-022Krauss.pdf.