Fitting the Pieces Together

Over the past weeks, my view on how I learn has evolved. I believe that I have a better understanding of my learning style and the learning theories which are applicable to my learning.

I learn by using visual stimulation, scenario-based activities, and group collaboration. Furthermore, I am able to retain information if I can relate it to my own experiences. In her video on how the brain processes information, Dr. Omrod (n.d.) suggested that being able to relate to information enables us to retain and retrieve it when needed.

Additionally, I further understand that my short-term and long-term memory impacts my ability to retain information. In their research on the “two-store model”, Omrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) noted that short-term memory stores limited amount of information while long-term memory holds information permanently. They indicated that based on their research the human mind can store related information like a database and it can be readily accessed. In situations where I struggle to retain or access information that I have stored in my memory, I can attribute this challenge to the information being stored in my short-term memory.

I think that learning about the _isms helped to validate my learning preferences. For example, when I read about behaviorism and cognitivism, I learned that my learning preferences were closely related to cognitive theory. According to Atkisson (2010), “Cognitivism uses information processing as a way to explain how humans perceive, remember, and understand the world around them.” To me, this definition provides me with a clear understanding of the theory and ties it to my own approach to learning.

I have always been interested in learning technologies. I believe that they facilitate learning for me. Being able to access information quickly really facilitates my learning and also helps me in my profession. For example, I use the Internet, specifically Google Scholar, to help me locate peer-reviewed articles in Instructional Design and learning processes. I also use the Internet to quickly access information when I need it to facilitate my learning. I definitely am able to retain the information when I read it and can relate to it. I can access various sources of information and when possible, I use my network of peers to gain clarification on information that I find challenging to retain.

I have come to understand that I have to find different ways to learn. I need to continue to find diverse approaches to stimulate my capacity to retain information; particularly to grasp concepts that I find challenging. After all, according to Armstrong (2009), we all have the ability to expand our learning capabilities.

I know that I love to learn and there is so much information for me to consume. In order for me to avoid information overload, I have to apply different strategies to enhance my learning experiences. This approach will (hopefully) lead to an evolution of my learning style and that would be just fine with me.

References:

Armstrong, T. (2009). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Atkisson, M. (2010) Behaviorism vs. Cognitivism: Ways of knowing. Retrieved from: https://woknowing.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/behaviorism-vs-cognitivisim/

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Information processing and the brain [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.

My Mind Map Reflection – How my connections facilitate my learning

The connections outlined in my mind map help me to learn because they reflect the diverse methods I used to obtain and retain information. I use my personal and professional networks to gain knowledge about my field and to share my knowledge with others. Networking has changed the way that I learn by allowing me access to people from different backgrounds that have had diverse experiences in the field. Some of them have represented mentors to me and have supported me throughout my career. In addition, I have training networks that support me when I need to learn about new practices or to add to my current skills. I use print and digital media to learn about different trades and to add to my content design tools library.

By far the Internet has been a great tool to facilitate my learning. I rely on it to access information in real-time from a plethora of sources. It contains various types of resources such as databases where I can access whitepapers, manuals, and research papers on topics related to my field. In addition, I have access to videos, blogs and other websites that I use as resources to help me stay abreast of new tools and systems that can help me to improve my skills as an Instructional Designer. The Internet is an excellent tool for learning and it empowers me to continuously learn. When I have questions, I reach out to my network and I use the Internet to query different search tools in order to find relevant answers.

I believe that my learning network supports the main principles of connectivism. According to literature on connectivism (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008), networks helps us to establish “connections…” between ourselves and “people, technology, social structures, systems…” Networks provide us with access to various communities of learning; communities where we can share information which facilitates our learning.

References:

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Connectivism

How to Mind Map. Retrieved from: https://imindmap.com/how-to-mind-map/

Note: To view the details of my mind map, click here.

Problem-solving methods during the learning process

This week I spent time researching how problem-solving methods can be used in the learning process. I selected two papers on this topic that I would like to share with you.

Collaborative Learning in Problem Solving: A Case Study in Metacognitive Learning

I liked this paper because it focuses on an area that I have always been interested in as learner and Instructional Designer, collaboration learning. In my work as an ID I often use collaboration activities to reinforce learning.  I was curious to see how the conclusions reached in this particular case study.

Authors Wismath and Orr (2015) investigated the patterns of collaboration used by 133 college students as they were tasked with solving various puzzles in a class. The students were given permission to work independently and in groups, at their own discretions.  The study lasted four years during which the researchers observed these students solving puzzles in four different classes and collected quantitative data about the participants.

The researchers found that there was a specific pattern used by the students.  First, they observed the students using both patterns of problems solving (individual and group). In addition, they formed correlations between the patterns chosen by the students and their styles of learning as well as the kinds of problems being solved. Finally, they examined the manner in which these elements influence how problem-solving is taught. They concluded that the development of collaboration skills does facilitate problem solving.

This means that as instructional designers, we should attempt to help learners to learn how to develop a deeper understanding of the methods they use to solve problems. If we can help them to become more aware (through learning activities) of how they approach problem-solving and encourage them to collaborate to solve problems, we will definitely have an impact on their learning experience.

Perspectives on problem solving and instruction

The second paper that I read focuses on how problem solving is taught. This paper starts out by identifying the inconsistent approaches to teaching problem solving and how educators cannot seem to agree on one specific approach.

At the beginning of the paper Van Merrienboer (n.d.) notes in writing the paper, his purpose is to “sort out the different perspectives” and to focus on” problem solving as a goal, a method, and a skill”.  He goes on to suggest that when it comes to problem solving as a goal, the problems should involve real life issues. When it comes to problem solving as a method, he suggests that learners be provided with enough support to help them in the development of their problem solving skills. Finally, he proposes that problem solving skills should be developed by using  “repetitive practice” and “variability of practice”, which he details in a table titled the “Implications of System 1/System 2 models for learning real-life problem solving methods”.

Essentially, I think he is saying that problem solving skills may be developed by providing learners with scenarios or situations where they have to continuously use their problem solving skills. He is suggesting that the more learners practice these skills the better they will become at using them to solve problems.  Additionally, he is recommending that the practice of problem solving should allow learners to work towards solving different types of real problems in order to help them to broaden their understanding of how to solve problems on their own.

I really enjoyed reading these two papers and hope that you find my summaries interesting. Thank you for reading my post.

References:

Van Merrienboer, J. (n.d). Perspectives on problem solving and instruction. Computers & Education, 64153-160.

Wismath, S. L., & Orr, D. (2015). Collaborative Learning in Problem Solving: A Case Study in Metacognitive Learning. Canadian Journal For The Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning, 6(3).

First blog post

I have just started to explore the use of blogs as instructional design resources. I am not new to writing blogs as I have created instructional blogs for clients.

The instructional design blogs that I have reviewed contained information that I found to be helpful to me as an Instructional Designer. These blogs contained interesting and thought provoking posts that are resourceful to me in the field but are also an added research option where I can find ideas on how to create more engaging learning materials. I can access them to connect with others in my field. This will help me stay in touch with new ideas, methods, and approaches to designing learning.

Creating engaging content is always a challenge. I think that because people learn differently, it is important to stay informed about new approaches to instructional design. Additionally, I am always being challenged by clients to complete instructional design projects in less than the standard time estimated by the Association for Talent Development (ATD).  Being able to reach out other professionals and experts to gain further insight into development hours will be extremely helpful.

In my work, I am frequently bidding on instructional design projects. There have been times when I could have used the input of peers on my estimates as there have been times that I found myself without the benefit of concrete information on the projects. The challenge for me has been  to be true to myself, not to underbid or make assumptions in order to be awarded the projects. As I have learned in the past, that can be troublesome.

The blogs that I have found to be most relevant to my work are the ones that address instructional design strategies and those that discuss learning management systems (LMS) (implementations and functionalities). I have worked as an Instructional Designer, Training Manager, and LMS Project Manager.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with those communities and learning from everyone!

References:

Association for Talent Development, www.td.org

Upside Learning Blog

Camy Bean’s Learning Visions

ATD Blog

GP Strategies