As I furthered my knowledge about how people learn, the most surprising thing was to realize that I developed cognitive and metacognitive skills since my high school days and easily learn through reading, listening, seeing, and doing, just like some other people. In the previous course: Organization Behavior, Change, and Innovations, I learned about emotional intelligence; that course helped me develop my interpersonal intelligence (the ability to relate to and understand others), and my intrapersonal skills (the ability to self-reflect and be aware of my inner state of being). Strikingly, though people learned in different ways, no one had a better learning style than anyone else; the best learning program should utilize a mixed learning methods; at least that was what I discovered.
Formerly, I gained information through books, news, and limited social interactions only, but this course has deepened my understanding of my personal learning process. With Internet, podcast, video, mind mapping, and with blogosphere, in this course, information is readily available for dissemination; my learning now occurs in a variety of ways through communities of practice, personal and social networks, and through completion of work-related tasks. As I gain new knowledge through set up feeders, question and answer sessions on my computer, I can posit that the social networking theories and tools that support connectivist-learning activities, and build new and effective e-learning practices become the norms for me. I realize that connectivism, the social networking, applied to learning and knowledge context can lead to a re-conceptualization of learning in which formal, non-formal and informal learning can be integrated to build a potentially lifelong learning activities to be experienced in my personal learning environments. I value connectivism (the digital way of learning) as a context in which learning can favorably occur, thanks to available and emerging technological solutions (Fallows, 2006). I acknowledge that connectivism is also enabled and allowed by a stronger user participation to the creation, sharing, use and management of resources (contents, relations, applications) through social software. I have certainly become a professional consumer. My awareness and receptivity as a teacher and as a learner grow rapidly using the mind map of the learning environment of my choice. I can easily post and select reference reading material for my class, or participate in a debate through a video sharing social network. Connection forming, selection, and filtering information will prepare me to even work in a group, where my contribution and involvement in active and effective class discussion become easier. I appreciate more the ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts as a core skill to feed on. Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. My view of how I learn continues to expand as I discover mind mapping for connectivism and the crucial importance of technology integration.
Various learning theories surface as framework for learning. It is said that behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism seem to be the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environment; but connectivism, through the medium of multimedia, exemplifies the existing theories available to the learner. While behaviorism focuses only on the objectively observable aspects of learning, cognitive theories look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning. Constructivism views learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts. These learning theories, indeed, help shape the way we learn and cope with the changes we encounter. They consist of the basis of “curriculum reform”, as through research, knowledge, and wisdom, philosophers and educators chose the best ideas. The thinker posits: “We need to take pieces from each school of thought and apply it effectively because…Cognitivism doesn’t explain 100% how humans process information and neither does Constructivism or Behaviorism”. All learners have their own unique perspective, experience, and learning style, and that will affect how they finally understand the training. Despite the different types of learners and styles of learning (Visual Learners, Auditory Learners, Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence, Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence, and their combinations), Keller’s Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction (ARCS) model of motivation is a key to success. The world is interacting in a global village, people need to adapt and evolve. Learning, to me, consists of activity. Situated learning is a general theory of knowledge acquisition. It has been applied in the context of technology-based learning activities for schools that focus on problem-solving skills (Lave, 1998); and to effectively learn, individuals have to construct their own knowledge, because no one can think for another. Each of us generates our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. The pervasiveness of technology coupled with the characteristics of andragogy (learning strategies focused on adults) helps my connectivity in learning and equip me to interact in the global market.
Teaching methods consist primarily of descriptions of the learning objectives, oriented activities and flow of information between my students and a teacher, regardless of each student’s way of learning (with Gardner’s multiple intelligences principles) and processing information. As I further my career in the field of teaching and instructional designer, knowing that all learners have a variety of learning styles, my learning in this course will help me to present information in a variety of ways. I will use written words, visuals, audio, live action, practice, and a mixture within every session. In order to provide a guide in the design, development, and improvement, (both of personal learning environments and in the related learning activities), I will provide a knowledge flow model highlighting the stages of learning and the related enabling conditions. I will integrate networked learning, collaboration technologies, collaborative learning, informal learning, learning 2.0, web 2.0, web 3.0, personal learning environment, personal web, wikis, telematic technologies, blogs, and the available and innovative emerging technology reported in the 2010 Horizon Project to contribute effectively towards an e-lifelong learning experience; thus taking learning to a new height.