Learning about how people learn was very intriguing to me. When I was looking back at the class resources from each week I reflected on two thing, learning styles and motivation. “Students often become uninterested and restless during class when there is no correlation between the way students learn and the way instructors teach” (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). When teachers research learning styles it provides “direction for either how to teach individuals through their styles, patterns or how to teach them by capitalizing on their personal strengths. Learning style can also be defined as the way in which each learner begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information. Identifying learning styles and adapting lessons can motivate, encourage students to succeed, and eliminate unfair labeling. Different individuals perceive and process experiences in different preferred ways” (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008).
However when students are motivated by teachers they can be more interested in class and their work. “A student may arrive in class with a certain degree of motivation. But the teacher's behavior and teaching style, the structure of the course, the nature of the assignments and informal interactions with students all have a large effect on student motivation” (Kirk, 2011). Probably one of the most striking things I’ve learned during this course is the fact that people can learn and identify with multiple learning theories and strategies depending on the situation or circumstance that the material is being presented in. Also as I furthered my knowledge about how people learn, I realized that adult learner thinking and motivation is vastly different from even a college student’s
Through this course I’ve learned about my own learning process. I’ve learned that through Gardner’s multiple intelligences my strengths are logical-mathematical, bodily kinesthetic, spatial-visual, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Businessballs.com, 2011). My weaknesses can be found in linguistic and musical categories (Businessballs.com, 2011). Using Gardner’s multiple intelligences to evaluate your personal learning style allows you to understand how to modify learning to your advantage (Gardner, 2003). After taking Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Test I found that my own knowledge of learning confirmed I like to learn in ways use analytical thinking skills, hands-on experiences, images, relating to others, and reflecting on my own learning and personal experiences. “Given a specific instruction method or environment, some people will learn more effectively than others due to their individual learning style. However, this may not be the case throughout a course or a specific lesson; learning styles can actually fluctuate within subject or lesson” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008).
This class, Learning Theories and Instruction, has deepened my understanding for different modes of learning. Everyone is unique and learns in various ways, because of this, there is no best way of learning. No one particular learning theory is better than another (Fenwick & Tennant, 2004). My personal learning process requires me to make connections with new ideas and concepts. Just like anything else that involves human experience or interaction, the act of learning does not happen in a vacuum. It is at the intersection of prior knowledge, experience, perception, reality, comprehension, and flexibility that learning occurs. (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman 2008).
Learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation create a puzzle. When each piece is connected, learning is fun and exciting! When instructors are designing lessons it is imperative to consider the target audience. The instructor should allow for creativity and flexibility in assignments and time for interaction from the instructor to help the learner understand how they learn best (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009) so that he or she can enhance his or her own learning. A good way to incorporate motivation is Keller’s ARCS motivational process (Keller, 1999).
This course has given me a concrete foundation for a career in instructional design. This course has provided me with the building blocks of education: learning theories, learning styles, motivation, and education technology. Over the past eight weeks, this class has enhanced my job as a current educator because I’ve become more aware of how I can effectively infuse technology into my instruction. I am able to easily motivate my students by using the ARCS Model. With today’s technology variety is necessary in order to best motivate and reach all learners.
Businessballs.com. (2011). Gardner, H. Multiple Intelligence Test retrieved on <2/15/11> from www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved on <2/23/11> from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
Fenwick, T., & Tennant, M. (2004). Understanding Adult Learners. In G. Foley, Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. (p. 55). McGraw-Hill Education.
Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences after 20 years. Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/HG_MI_after_20_years.pdf
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
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).
Kirk, K. (2011). Motivating Students. Cutting Edge. Retrieved on <2/24/11> from http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/motivation.html
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.