Learning theories and instruction – Final reflection

Instruction desSans titreign is “the process of planning instruction, delivering instruction, and assessing student learning” (Hamdani, Gharbaghi, & Sharifuddin, 2011, p. 1). This is what we have studied in this course, through the analysis of the brain, the learning theories and styles, technological tools and motivation. This new understanding will help us be more efficient instructional designers.

One element that I found surprising through the course was the learner’s influence on his/her own learning. I always understood that motivation was a key element, and that of course this is partially controlled by the learner. Nevertheless, I never realized how much knowing about our learning style could influence the effectiveness of our learning, as the learner is “a very active participant in the learning process” (Ertmer, & Newby, 1993, p. 58). Another surprising element for me was the multiple intelligence theory. I knew that people were stronger using some parts of their brains than others, but never thought about how much “most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency […] if given the appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction” (Armstrong, 2009, p.15). This is creating emphasis on the influence of parents, teachers and overall environment in which children will evolve in, on the development of the different intelligences.

Before taking this course, I never spent a lot of time thinking about how I personally learned. Even after studying some of the learning theories in the past, I was applying that knowledge to my students, but never really to myself. I knew I was a visual learner, but never analyzed my own learning process. Today, after taking this course, I can state that I have both a constructivism and connectivism approach in my learning. Knowing this is allowing me to trigger the way I work on my courses in order to improve my learning.

The various learning theories studied allow us to analyze and understand the learning styles of our students. “Understanding learning style differences is […] an important step in designing balanced instruction that is effective for all students” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008, p. 31). Using that understanding, we will be able to integrate the new technological tools to enhance the students’ learning. This can only be done if students are motivated, and we, as instructional designers, must ensure that the learning environments we construct are encouraging this ongoing motivation.

Learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation are all linked together as explained in the above paragraph. They cannot be separated. We need to use all of them to create an efficient learning process for our students, and mastering them will help us become more efficient instructional designers. This is exactly this understanding learned throughout the course that will help me in my instructional design future.

“Instructional design is often taught in a procedural manner, but a number of researchers and theorists view instructional design as a form of complex problem solving” (Hamdani, Gharbaghi, & Sharifuddin, 2011, p. 1). Today, I can say that I agree with that statement, as we have to bring various elements together (understanding of the students’ learning process and styles, their environment, their motivation, the technologies available, etc.) in an equation and find the best possible answer or outcome. This is our future responsibility as instructional designers, which I now understand thanks to this course.

References

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

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.

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

Hamdani, M., Gharbaghi, A., & Sharifuddin, R. T. (2011). Instructional Design Approaches, Types and Trends: a Foundation for Postmodernism Instructional Design. Australian Journal Of Basic & Applied Sciences, 5(8), 1-7.

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