Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?
During Week 1of our class, we wrote a discussion stemming from a brief overview of learning theories and philosophies from our textbook. The discussion was to describe which theory or philosophy best described how we learned. I don’t believe my view of how I learn has changed much, however I have deeper understanding of the different theories and can see that my learning style can change based on what it is that I am learning. Originally my view of my learning style gravitated toward the Constructivism Theory. According to Etmer & Newby (1993), “Constructivism is a theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience” (p. 62). I still believe this to be true, however a deeper understanding of Social constructivism, supported my understanding of why this is true for me. Social constructivist scholars emphasize that individuals make meaning through interactions they have with each other and with the environment they live in (Kim, 2001). It is true that I can learn from reading something or listening to a lecture, but I still construct that learning using my previous experiences to support further understanding.
What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?
As I continued to study the various learning theories and learning styles, I became more convinced that I learn best using Constructivism, although I may incorporate aspects of other learning styles depending on what I am learning. For example, I recently decided to learn to play the Mandolin. This was very new for me, as I had never played a string instrument prior to picking up the Mandolin. My initial approach one could describe as using tenets from the behaviorism theory, specifically operant conditioning, which Standridge (2001) states is “the rewarding of part of a desired behavior”. Skinner, the creator of operant conditioning concluded from his research that “humans would repeat acts that led to favorable outcomes, and suppress those that produced unfavorable results” Standridge (2001). When learning to play, I would consistently use repetitive actions to produce a desired result, the correct note at the correct time. When I made a mistake, I would stop the behavior that produced the mistake. Consistent practice led to better play. However even in learning to play Mandolin, ultimately I would return to constructivism. I found that I best learned in a group class atmosphere where I could learn from watching others play. In addition, I found using my previous experience at playing piano, supported my ability to read notes and keep time more effectively.
What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?
Technology plays an integral role in my learning. It is actually hard to imagine a world without the various technologies we have available to us today, and yet my earlier learning occurred in just that type of world. Distinct from my past schooling, I have not stepped in to a library in over ten years. Just about any piece of information that I am interested in acquiring, can now be found using the internet from my home. Every day I use a computer to enhance my learning. I can keep up on new ideas in my field of interest through blogs, websites, search engines, etc. I can find out what is happening in the lives of some of my friends through social networking sites and email. I can read about what is happening in the world through news websites. If I discover information that I want to keep a record of, I can tag it to find later. Technology has opened up a world of information all available at my finger tips, making the learning possibilities not only endless, but easier to acquire.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50–71.
Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Social_Constructivism
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
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