At the start of the Learning Theories and Instruction course offered by Walden University, I found my learning style to be in a mix of behaviorism (skill-oriented), cognitivism (concept-oriented), and social-constructivism (concepts get built on through personal experiences). As a science teacher, I was mostly relying on students demonstrating their skill, which falls under the behaviorism learning style. Learning of vocabulary and concepts that did not reflect on assessable skills fell under cognitivism and constructivism. After learning about the multiple intelligence theory, adult learning theory, connectivism, and social learning theory, I find that many learning theories apply to my learning.Online courses have a heavy usage of technology. Connectivism states that learning is distributed within a network that is socially and technologically enhanced (Siemens, 2006). A person can have more connections by building on the places where that person receives information. Connectivism relies heavily on making connections through online media. Activities that I have undergone that deal connectivism is subscribing to blogs, writing blogs, and having interactive online discussions with classmates and other people around the world. I also use search engines and database tools to reference other materials, which adds to my learning nodes.
Social learning theory states that people learn through the observation of others and through the consequences of their actions. With a plethora of online video sources, I am able to learn numerous things through demonstrations and instructions, which also adds to my learning nodes (connectivism).
As an adult learner on a different time zone as compared to my peers, I appreciate that the online discussions take place asynchronously, which fits in line with the adult learning theory. I also appreciate that resources can be found online in easy to find locations. “Encouraging reflection and dialogue, whether with the self, another, or a group, enables learning to take place” (Merriam, 2008, p. 97). Cercone (2008) mentions that adult learners have cultural and societal differences that adds to his or her individuality. Learning tasks need to be self-directed and independent to maintain the adult learning theory concept.
In consideration of teaching students through an online course, I understand that there needs to multiple ways of assessing students and multiple ways of approaching learning with students. Traditional classrooms filled with only lectures do not guarantee learning for all students. Technology should be incorporated to ease the learning process and interactivity should be incorporated to help further the learning experience.
Merriam, S. B. (2008). Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 119, 93–98.
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf