Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Chapter Closes...

When I first looked over my courses for this semester I was excited to see this class on the list.  As a trained teacher and an acting corporate training, learning about learning theories is something that has always fascinated me in my role.  I am pleased to say that this course has not let me down.  As a future instructional designer it is essential that we have a strong understanding of how the learning mind works and operates.  This information will prove to be the foundation for all of our projects that we create in the future.  This course started with the basic concepts: behaviorism, cognitivism, etc that I had learned in undergrad, but took them to a deeper level where we were able to apply them.  The exciting part for me was to learn about the more current models of learning that incorporated technology and the future state of learning. 
I come away from this course with a solid footing in the idea of connectivism. It resonates with me because I believe that it is a perfect blend of technology and modern learning.  According to Davis, Edmunds and Kelly-Bateman, learning occurs when a student participates in a social network of many different connections that are made possible through the use of technology (2008).  This union of technology and learning is going to enable instructional designers to reach the modern student.  Facebook, Wiki’s, Blogs, and other sites are what the future holds for learning and training and I think it’s an exciting venture.
Although I have a strong bond with connectivism I think it is important for all the students of this class to come away with the mentality that there is never one theory or model that will reach everyone.  Just as students are different, learning theories are different and it isn’t a one size fits all type of relationship.  For us, it is vital for designers to incorporate a blending of ideas, thoughts, models, theories, and concepts to our work.  It will be with this appreciation for all the theories and the application that we will be able to better serve the learner.  I think that this challenge is one that all of us are excited to tackle.    


Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 11/30/2010, from

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Learning About How We Learn...

When I first started my journey in this class I had a strong bond with the cognitive learning theory.  Cognitivists believe that “Learning is concerned not so much with what learners do but with what they know and how they come to acquire it” (Jonassen, 1991, as cited in Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 58).  This resonated with me because I have come to believe that learning should be very learner centered.  From my experience learning is much more effective when the learner can help dictate the activity. 
Before this class my prior knowledge about learning theories was based on the behavioral and cognitive learning theories.  After spending this semester to learn more about other learning theories I have developed a much different opinion about learning and technology.  In my newly found knowledge about learning theories I have adopted a more modern appreciation for learning.  I now believe that connectivism is the wave of the future.  Connectivism is when a student creates their own social network in order to answer questions.  According to Davis, Edmunds and Kelly-Bateman, learning occurs when a student participates in a social network of many different connections that are made possible through the use of technology (2008).  The marriage of learning and technology is an important union for the field of training. 
When you apply connectivism to your everyday life it becomes apparent how often we turn to technology to help us learn.  Everyday each of us are constantly updating our facebook statuses, searching on google, checking out a friend's blog and checking the most recent celebrity updates.  Technology is apart of our lives and has become our primary source for knowledge.
Although I believe that connectivism is a very important idea in learning, I believe that it is a blending of all learning theories that can really help us to reach our students.  Knowing and understanding all of the theories will help us as designers to reach our audiences in a more meaningful way.  It is important for us to appreciate all of the different theories for all of the different learners.  This idea of blending is what I will take away from this class.

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 11/30/2010, from
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.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Mind Map: Making the Connection

My mind map illustrates the different roles I play in my life.  During any given day I can be a trainer, daughter, student, girlfriend, tutor, colleague, sister, and best friend.  Within each of these relationships I have several different responsibilities.  As a trainer and a tutor, I am someone that people look to for knowledge.  As a girlfriend and best friend I am a trustworthy and loyal companion.  And as a student and a daughter I seek out knowledge and guidance from my elders. 
Each of these “hats” that I wear helps me to create a better understanding of my world and surroundings. Even though I build knowledge with each of these relationships, I also learn from technology and other non-human resources.  Blogs, websites, textbooks, and social networking sites all aid in my learning process.  This is the reason that my mind map illustrates the idea of Connectivism.  The idea that we learn not only through human interaction, but also through the technology that we incorporate in our everyday life is central to the idea of Connectivism.
Think about learning 15 years ago, what would you say your primary source for knowledge was?  For me the public library was my only source for research.  Fast forward 15 years, and ask the same question and you will get a very different response.  The first place people do research today is by searching the internet, and if they do use a library, it is normally an online catalog.  Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have drastically changed our learning environments.  But the road doesn’t stop there, I personally find blogs and wiki’s very useful for staying current on learning topics. 
Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have also drastically changed the way we receive information.  Prior to these sites it was much more difficult to keep in touch with relatives, share pictures, and network with business colleagues.  With these social sites we are now able to instantly share information and build relationships that might have been impossible before.  With each new connection we make on these sites, a little small the world slowly becomes.
To me, Connectivism is very relevant to the way I learn.  According to Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman (2008), some of the basic tenants of the paradigm are: 
·         Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions.
·         Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
·         Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
·         Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
·         Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
·         Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
·         Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.  [i]
I believe that as learners in 2010, we have grown accustomed to demanding this type of learning. 
Technology has drastically changed the way we learn and interact with each other.  Personally, I believe that this has enhanced not only the way we acquire knowledge but also the way we conduct our everyday lives.  Bringing the world closer together allowing each of us to make our own learning networks strengthens our thirst for knowledge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thinking about your thinking...

Metacognition is something that has always come very easy to me.  I am naturally a very introverted person that likes to spend a lot of time inside my head thinking about my thinking.  I have realized throughout the years that this isn’t a quality that everyone possesses. It may seem like a simple idea to most, but not everyone executes it successfully.  Metacognition is important because it allows the learner to self-regulate and evaluate their learning progress. Jennifer Livingston does a good job of defining the term on her webpage: Livingston states, “Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task are metacognitive in nature.” 
While I completing my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education, I took an educational psychology class.  In this course taught by Professor Randy Isaacson, ( we learned about the importance of metacognition not only for educators but also for learners.  Every week we would take tests over the course materials and were not only graded on the course materials, but also on our metacognition.  After each question we could score it according to whether we thought we answered the question correctly or not. This score was then factored in our overall test score.  The testing method forced us as students to think about our learning and our metacognition.  This class has made me become a better learner and ultimately a better educator. 
Metacognition is important for educators because it gives them the tools to create successful learners.  If educators are able to pass down these skills to their student, they will prove to be life-long learners.  Some strategies to help teachers to enhance these skills in their students are listed here: provided by William Huitt at Valdosta University.  Another useful page on the site addresses various study methods to help aid in self-regulated learning (  These methods such as the SQ3R can help students to learn more efficiently.  Very useful tools for educators and students alike!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogs, Blogs, and More Blogs!

Recently I was asked to search the Internet for other blogs and websites regarding learning and instructional design.  Here is a brief discussion of what I stumbled upon…
1.       Inspire 2 Learn: ( )  In this blog Richard Watson uses his space for updates and information on training, instructional design, E-Learning, and social media topics.  I personally found his blog very helpful for my job.  He has compiled a list of Top 10 lists that I think every instructional designer should read.  These were very useful for me and I plan to share some of them with the learning community at my job. Check them out! 
2.       Teaching With Technology @ Tufts: ( )  At this site you can find several useful posts about using technology in the current classroom.  This site is a great resource for the university and other educators looking to find information on instructional design methods.  They do a “Friday’s Pick” section that highlights key topics in various arenas. I think this site will prove to be a useful resource for me and my journey.
3.       Making Change: ( ) Cathy Moore has created this blog in order to help its’ readers create impressive eLearning for the business world.  Here she goes through helpful pointers on creating eLearning that will prove to be useful for me personally.  In my current position we are trying to transition out of classroom learning and focus more on online modules to better reach our employees. We have experienced some resistance, and are working to make it more meaningful for our learners. 
All of these blogs have exciting information that any instructional designer would deem useful. I hope you enjoy checking them out!