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Fitting the Pieces Together

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Text messages.  Email.  Google searches.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Video conferencing.  We are inundated with technology on a daily basis, so it is only befitting that the educational sector see it as a viable method of instruction.  Through this course, I have been introduced to so many different resources available to educators.  I must admit though, I was quite overwhelmed the first two weeks of the course.  I am so happy that I was tenacious in my desire to successfully complete this course!

 During the first week of my learning theories course, I identified the cognitive theory as my theory of choice because I felt it coincided with how I learn best. The cognitive theory allows the learner to create knowledge through the learning experience.  This theory recognizes that learning does not occur in a bubble; it is a collective effort made of several interactions with the learner’s environment.  According to Ertmer and Newby, “Cognitivist theories emphasize making knowledge meaningful and helping learners organize and relate new information to existing knowledge in memory,” (1993).

 Based on what I have learned the past several weeks, my view on how I learn has not changed.  What has changed is my knowledge of various learning theories and how critical it is to consider the learning preference of my current and future students.  The use of technology can be an effective instructional tool only if it is implemented properly.  According to Lim, “Learners may get lost due to the navigation aspects of interface, become de-motivated or fail to make connections in the knowledge they have constructed; as a result, they become disengaged from the learning process,” (2004).  As a result, the technology has to be appropriate and related to the learning.

 The primary role of technology in my learning is it allows me to stay current on the latest and greatest resources in the industry.  Knowing what’s available helps me to maintain my competitive edge in an industry that is always changing.

 

Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T.J. (1993).  Behaviorism, cognitivism, cognitivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective.

Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments.  TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.

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Mapping Your Learning Connections

Much of what we know about education and learning has evolved immensely over the past 20 years.  Not only has the field changed, but the focus of how educators relate and teach learners has also transformed.  The 21st Century learner demands to be challenged creatively and intellectually, and therefore will not settle for an hour long course delivered primarily through lecture.  Students need to be involved; they must connect.

 Connectivism theory recognizes that learning extends beyond the four walls of a classroom or training facility by incorporating technology, social networks, and information.  This theory allows the learner to use various technological resources to grow their knowledge base and also become a conduit for others.

When I begin to think about creating a mind map that would reflect my network connections, I had to decide on the categories I wanted to explore.  I finally narrowed the categories to the following:  Education, work, technology, social network, secondary educators, and spiritual.  As I begin to place my connections in this format, I quickly begin to see how strong my educational network is – which is not a surprise.  I love learning and my thirst for knowledge has provoked me to seek those sources that would satisfy my need to know.

My networks have molded the way that I receive, process, and retain new information.  When I was in high school, my 11th grade teacher told me how good my writing was and that I should pursue a career in writing.  Those words led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in English and later publish my first book.  When I have questions, I reach out to one of my contacts in my network and sometimes I will be referred to another contact within my network, or possibly a new contact.  I also use the Internet to view innovations in the field and to gain tips on how I can use them in training.  One of these advancements is incorporating digital resources in learning.

The training and development industry is focused on providing effective training at the lowest cost.  Digital resources are an important part of this objective.  This becomes critically important when there are multiple locations.  Currently, we use GoTo Meeting, Webex, and Citrix to communicate with other locations.