When I first started the Learning Theories and Instruction class through Walden University, we were asked to reflect on how we learn. I thought of how I learn on an individual level and on a social level. Throughout this class we have discussed how using learning theories may help us effectively design classes. It is interesting to me that my first thoughts were about individual and social learning, and that the various learning theories we have encountered over this course have dealt with the various individual and social ways people learn.
There are many learning theories that an instructional designer may use to influence they way they develop curriculum. As Ormrod, Schunk and Gredler advise, learning theories originally emerged to provide framework for educational researchers. Theories now can assist us in guiding such research and also encourage well-developed, practical learning modules (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). When I first started this class, I felt that learning theories were great guides to understanding the historical approaches individuals have taken to education. I also thought that the theories could assist us when researching education. However, I now see that using learning theories can help me make better training. For example, Behaviorist theory can help me develop training for learner’s who need extra help understanding a process. I can use the elements of this theory to observe the actions of my student, explain to them my expectations, show them the correct actions and reward them when they act out the correct actions (Standridge, 2001). I have also learned that individuals have different learning styles or preferences that may influence how well they learn. I can use this information to create more robust training presentations and activities that reach all of my students (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). Even if my students do not have different learning styles, I also gathered information on learning strategies that I can teach to develop my student’s cognitive abilities. For example, teaching them how to monitor their comprehension by stopping periodically during a learning experience to assess the learning process and internally reflect on how well they are learning (Ormrod, accessed 2011).
I believe that the best learning strategy for me is to either read and reflect on information or to learn in a social situation where I can gain more experience on the topic by discussing it with others. I also like using my many information networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) or my newly found education related blogs as information sources. These sources keep me connected to the world of instructional design and consistently challenge and better my knowledge. These connections are key to keeping up to date in my field and creating the best possible training. I can also use technological information sources to learn how to use innovative tools like Adobe, Lectora and other applications to create online learning solutions.
As I reflect over the last seven weeks, I realize just how much my understanding of learning has changed. I have put this understanding to work in my organization. I strive to consider the different learning styles/preferences of my students. I also consider my training through different theoretical lenses. In this way, I hope to be the best instruction and designer of training I can be.
Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf
Ormrod, J. (Accessed 2011). “Learning Styles and Strategies. [Video Program]. Walden University Resources
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Standridge, M. (2001). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Behaviorism