Fitting the Pieces Together
Seven weeks ago when I began this course I had a fairly good understanding of different learning theories and learning styles. I knew that it was important to differentiate teaching to accommodate all learners. After spending the last six weeks researching, analyzing, and interpreting my knowledge has evolved to accommodate my new learning. I’ve learned that through Gardner’s multiple intelligences my strengths are logical-mathematical, bodily kinesthetic, spatial-visual, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. My weaknesses can be found in linguistic and musical categories. Using Gardner’s multiple intelligences to evaluate your personal learning style allows you to understand how to modify learning to your advantage. 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 actually fluctuate within subject or lesson” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008).
Over the past several weeks I’ve learned about multiple learning theories and learning styles. As I was learning about each I tried to visualize how I would use that particular theory in my learning. “Learning styles are approaches to learning and studying. Keefe defined learning styles as characteristic cognitive, affective, and psychological behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with or respond to the learning environment” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008). Learning styles are often influenced by heredity, previous experiences, and current environment (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008). The learning theories that most resonated with me were the constructivist theory, social learning theory, connectivism, and adult learning. Each of these theories allowed for me to create a connection between them. All four seem to easily intertwine and focus on a key theme; reflecting on prior knowledge, communicating with others, and drawing conclusions. As an instructor it is “almost impossible to identify each student’s learning style and it is an impossible task to accommodate everyone’s learning style in a classroom environment” (Gilbert, & Swanier, 2008).
“For several decades electronic technology has made an impact on every aspect of society and culture” (Semple, 2000). “Computers make it possible to access huge amounts of information and communication over great distances can occur almost immediately” (Semple, 2000). Technology plays one of the most important roles in my learning. Without the use of technology I would not be able to easily connect with my existing networks. Each week I spend countless hours researching information for discussion posts, communicating with colleagues, and connecting with family members across the nation.
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