Previously, I had learned a little concerning learning theories and learning styles. However, the Learning Theories and Instruction course has presented greater depths of knowledge and applicable references to practices. It also introduced me to the connectivist learning theory and presented how it operates and adapts within distributed networks. Learning theories and styles establish a foundation for experimentation and develop a mindset of flexibility toward changes within the learning context (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
Reflecting upon learning theories and how it relates to my learning context, expands my perspective and creates opportunities for new applications. It also demonstrates the complexity of the mind, the diversity of environments and the incredible variability of the appropriate learning theory for each individual context (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). However, resources such as time, energy and money indicate the limitations for practice. Nevertheless, I can develop learning strategies for improving my self-efficacy by acquiring the necessary tools through my investment in my personal learning network (PLN) (Lim, 2004; Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
Planning and prioritization are essential aspects prior to the acquisition of knowledge or skills related to my personal context. Planning determines what learning theories and strategies are most relevant in each situation. Prioritization eliminates any unnecessary and unrelated learning and it directs me to what I need and want to know. As a result, I can reduce learning into retainable and retrievable chunks of information (Cercone, 2008). In addition, prioritization provides greater impetus, meaning and value to my learning context (Muniandy, Mohammad & Fong, 2007).
In addition to learning theories, awareness of my learning style has merit in that it matches a personal learning preference to my situation for optimal performance (Baron, 2010). However, application of multiple learning styles may improve retention of information and increase the likelihood of transferring knowledge and skills to long term memory. “Student learning styles may fluctuate across concepts/lessons” (Gilbert & Swanier, p. 37, 2008).
Learning resources for this course informed me of a variety of learning theories and learning styles for gaining a better understanding of how I learn. It continues to empower me with strategic tools for enhancing my learning context and demonstrating the multiple possibilities for retaining new information (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). Hence it links it to previous knowledge and personal narratives (Clark & Rossiter, 2007). Moreover learning theories direct my attention to the importance of setting aside times of reflection (Ferriter , 2009) and looking for opportunities to practice collaborative elaboration within my PLN (Laureate Education, n.d.; Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
Technology plays a pivotal and expanding role in my PLN. It connects me to immediate and numerous resources of collaborative learning and can guide me to the appropriate people and places. In many cases, technology advances the cause of situated and simulated learning and produces clarity of difficult topics (Harris, Mishra & Koehler, 2009). Technology prepares and informs me of future considerations in regards to learning theories and trends in educational technology. However, with all the rapid changes in society it is easy to feel overwhelmed and inundated with information. PLN’s on the other hand direct my attention to what I actually need. Furthermore it helps me to prioritize the value of learning the technologies I need for success in my work (Muniandy, Mohammad & Fong, 2007).
Learning theories, learning styles and associated technologies continue to develop and change. Therefore it requires me to continue to adapt my perspective to a quickly changing context (Siemens, 2005). As I continue to grow in my personal journey of learning, I grow in awareness of a greater dependency upon my expanding PLN. In many circumstances, it is impossible for any person to acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill the responsibilities in life and work. Therefore, as knowledge increases, it becomes imperative to become a part of relevant communities of learning related to my context (Siemens, 2005).
Baron, K. (2010, March 15). Edutopia. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/
Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design. AACE Journal, 16(2), 137–159. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.ViewAbstract&paper_id=24286
Clark, C. & Rossiter, M. (2007). Narrative learning in adulthood. Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 119, Fall 2008, 61-69. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from http://www.olc.edu/~khecrow/webfolder/Research/Clark%20Rossiter.pdf
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
Ferriter, B. (2009). Learning with blogs and wikis. Educational Leadership, 66(5), 34–38.
Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved April 8, 2015 from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf
Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed.Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416.
Muniandy, B., Mohammad, R. & Fong, S. (2007). Synergizing pedagogy, learning theory, and technology in instruction: How can it be done? US China Education Review, 4(9), 46–53.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file]. Retrieved April 8, 2015 from https://class.waldenu.edu
Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm