The past eight weeks have been informative and illuminating as I reflect on what I discovered about learning processes. The course has influenced how I will approach my own learning goals in future classes and as a lifelong learner, as well as how I will consider different learning techniques and apply them in the field of instructional design.
Several discoveries were surprising to me about how people learn, including learning about the cognitive learning theory. I began my journey in education working as a librarian with graduate students and college students, and now work with elementary students. I was cheered to be introduced to the cognitive learning theory, as it addressed consideration of what is going on in someone’s head as they are learning a concept and encouraged designing learning experiences with this knowledge in mind (Walden University, LLC, n.d.). Before I took this class my approach to teaching focused more on motivation and content mastery and delivery of said content, rather than considering how learners conceptualize lessons in their minds. As an elementary school educator, I need to align my planning and designing with the cognitive learning theory in mind.
This course has furthered my understanding of my own learning process by enlightening me about motivation. The last unit was eye-opening as I considered the ARCS framework and reflected on online classes I enjoyed and ones which I was easily motivated to take and engage in, and ones that were more of a struggle. In particular, learning about the confidence and relevance facets of ARCS gave me insight into the two most important factors for me when taking an online class (Keller, 1999, p. 39). Classes that are clearly relevant to me, and that build skills in a manner that increased difficulty slowly have interested me the most, and I was able to reflect on why this is. Motivation can be considered, planned, and adjusted throughout a course, and the next opportunity I have to contribute to and plan an online class, I will keep the ARCS framework in mind.
I learned about the intertwined nature of learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation as several factors that need to be considered and addressed when designing an effective and interesting online course. The online classes I delivered that were the most cohesive and successful inadvertently addressed each of these factors, but now I have a roadmap to try to create the same success in each class or module I design, rather than making it occur via happenstance. What I learned in this course will help me as I continue the path to become an instructional designer by equipping me with a toolkit of considerations and ideas to help students learn.
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (78).
Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (n.d.). An introduction to learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.