In this course, I learned about various learning theories and influences on learning. In addition, I now have a better understanding of the connections between learning theories. This course helped me gain better understand adult learners, learner motivation, and myself as a learner. With this new information, I can more clearly design instruction and target learner needs in both face-to-face and online learning situations.
As an educator, I had a strong inclination the learning theories work in conjunction with one another after many years of observing student learning. I was surprised to learn that learning theories are intertwined and professional judgment should be used when applying them to information processing (Kapp, 2007). Different theories apply to different learning tasks or goals. For example, behaviorism is focused on human behavior (Standridge, 2010) and is best suited for rote memorization. In contrast, constructivism is building knowledge by making connections to previous knowledge (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009) and is supported by real-world problem-based activities.
Another surprising thing I discovered in this course is the role of learning styles. Student’s learning styles are often believed to play a role in their preference and success in learning activities. However, instructional styles should be based on the content of the lesson rather than the individual learners (Glenn, 2009). Lessons in science should be hands-on, while reading lessons can be visual or auditory. Matching the learning objective to an instructional style will help more learners succeed.
In addition, I was enabled to analyze my own learning throughout this course. I discover my preference for online learning stems from my desire as an adult learner to be in control of my own learning and self-regulate my experience (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003). Online learning allows me to set the pace for my learning and take charge of my own learning (Foley, 2004). This freedom to guide learning in online situations draws many adult learners to online programs.
Maintaining learner motivation is an important factor for student success. To ensure student motivation, learners must have the necessary skills to complete tasks and should have some input in how learning occurs (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). Learners should be able to complete the tasks with minimal support. Learners also need buy-in and should have a desire to learn (Laureate Education, n.d.). Learning should be applicable to their goals and interests.
This course has better prepared me for a career in Instructional Design by helping me understand learning. I have a better understanding of learning theories and the connections between them. I am more prepared to work with adult learners. I have tools to support learner motivation in both online and face-to-face learning environments. I also learned about myself as a learner. This course has empowered me to address various types of learners and learning situations when design instruction.
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved October 3, 2018, from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf
Foley, G. (2004). Dimensions of Adult Learning : Adult Education and Training in a Global Era. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzEwODI4NV9fQU41?sid=111db03c-398f-4eb4-90b8-b66ab28c4b55@sessionmgr120&vid=1&format=EB&rid=5
Kapp, K. (2007). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought. Retrieved September 19, 2018, from http://karlkapp.com/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Motivation in learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201920_02/MS_INDT/EDUC_6115/USW1_EDUC_6115_week08.html?course_uid=USW1.41489.201920&service_url=https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/bbgs-deep-links-BBLEARN/app/wslinks&b2Uri=https%3A%2F%2Fclass.waldenu.edu%2Fwebapps%2Fbbgs-deep-links-BBLEARN
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.
Standridge, M. (2010). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved September 19, 2018, from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf