Fitting the Pieces Together
A few weeks ago, we were asked to reflect on our own learning style. At the time, I wrote that the theories matching the most with my learning were the social-cognitive theory and constructivism. Today, after gaining additional knowledge, I would say that my learning is closer to the connectivism approach as I create links to develop an understanding, based on the various information provided by my network (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). The fact is that, in our current society, we are bombarded by information in all parts of our lives. This abundance of information must be filtered, and connected together, in order to understand and learn from it. Technology is playing a significant role in that learning. For example, my IPhone is allowing me to stay connected to my various networks, and to keep receiving the information 24/7. This online course is a typical example of how technology is allowing us to improve our learning. I am able to follow online course, living in Switzerland, when the University as well as my instructors and colleagues, are all based in the US. Some years ago, before the development of Internet, this would have never been possible. Now, I can have access to the course material, chat on a forum with my classmates, and upload my assignment. To do research, I have access to so many sources just in a few clicks, from the University online library, databases, or Google scholar. I am able to download the relevant articles or information to work on them directly from my computer. Today, the basic tools of our computer are allowing us to highlight the important information from a pdf document, as we used to do on paper. It is more ecological, time saving, and we are able to access those sources from anywhere as all my devices are connected together! This is definitely helping me get relevant information, process them in a quicker way, and improve the learning experience.
If I analyze a little more in details my own learning style, I would say I am a visual learner, processing “information through sight” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008, p. 31). I remember when I was reviewing for my Baccalaureate, I was preparing review sheets, and during the exams, I will actually remember the content as I was visually viewing the sheet, the titles, etc. Also, I am a concrete perceiver. I learn and remember better while doing things. Again here my visual style is helpful as I can observe someone do a certain task, and without having to think or reflect on it, I will be often be able to mimic the action and do the task myself. This is where the constructivism approach is still relevant. From that observation, I am creating my own understanding of the situation, and learn from it to be able to perform a certain task. This is how Kim (2001) explains constructivism.
When I was promoted as a manager in Hospitality, I took the Myer-Briggs test, and it did help me a lot at the time. Learning about my psychological styles (strengths and weaknesses) really helped me adapt to be a better manager. So coming back to what we have studied, knowledge about learning styles (ours and the students’) will make us more efficient Instructional Designer.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
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