Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fitting the pieces together: How do learning theories describe me as a learner?

There are theories that define the way we learn.  We have been exposed to different teaching styles that my address different learning theories.  Six weeks ago, I considered that I learned in a constructivism way.  As a child, I was instructed using the behaviorism model.  My parents used positive and negative reinforcement to teach me behavior actions.  From brushing my teeth every morning to getting all A’s was part of the plan.  I was able to earn prizes or get punished if things went wrong.   As I grew, I became curious about the way things work and things I could learn.  I started to learn things by myself and to experiment new things, such as: playing instruments, typing, knitting, driving and building and repairing computers. 

After learning about different learning theories, I have seen that I do learn in other ways that I never thought before.  I am learning through social learning.  Every discussion board, guides my learning based on others ideas and understanding of a concept.  I can share my understanding and see other points of view that are elaborating on my initial thoughts.  Many times when I read other posts, I go back to the text and follow their references to learn more about the topic.  In the past, I did not like the idea of working as a team, because of bad experiences.  These days, I understand the value of this learning approach and the benefits of the use of technology to facilitate these experiences.  I can also add, that as an adult learner I am able to select what I want to learn, the pace of the learning process and connect new information to my prior knowledge as part of my professional development. I don’t want to ignore, the experience of developing my learning network.  As part of Connectivism we learn making connections that are related and develop concepts.  These connections could be at your social, work or personal level.

The use of technology enriches of my learning experiences.  I have access to information, professional development courses, sharing with my friends and family members by the use of social networks such as Facebook, MSN, Skype or OOVOO, communication through emails, use of personal webs, search engines and collaborative work with peers with the use of Google documents. 

As an Instructional Designer, I have the responsibility of providing my students a variety of experiences that will address their learning styles.  Through the years, I have learned in different ways and I have been exposed by different teaching styles.  I agree that the brain is unique, learning will always occur and teaching will always be a challenge that with the use of technology can be enriched and driven to its maximum capabilities.

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