Reflection

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.   

References 

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. 

Reflection on learning theories and learning styles:

I revisited a post from the first week of class where I detailed what learning theories and learning styles resonate with me the most. In that post I stated that I learned best when I read information, listened, and practiced skills. That week I chose the theory that aligned most with how I learn and how I try to teach others, and discussed cognitive learning theory. I chose the cognitive learning theory because I recognized it is important to consider how people think when they learn, and to pay attention to the internal thoughts and processes people perform when they learn. I chose cognitive learning theory initially because when I was planning lessons, I would try to think about how learners would digest and confront information. 

After spending the semester exploring different learning theories and styles, I can amend my statement to also include connectivism and social learning as theories that are helpful in my personal learning journey. For instance, after reflection this semester, I know that I learn well by working with others on projects and via discussions with peers. Through formal education, and the continuing education that happens in the workplace, I have gleaned so much information and many ideas via social learning methods. As for connectivism, forming networks has been integral to creating space to continually learn. These dovetail well with my own personal learning preferences because working with others following a social learning schema allows for creative idea sharing (Kim, 2001), and because connectivism stresses network formation of people and technologies (Davis, Edmunds, and Kelley-Bateman, 2008). Both have helped me to continue my learning journey through formation of connections and information sharing.

Technology plays a large role in my learning. I taught information literacy and have incorporated using technology to search for answers and to research into all that I do academically. I believe that technology such as videoconferencing via Zoom and Microsoft Teams has opened up a whole vista of opportunity to deliver education in a way that is immediate and accessible to even more students than before, and that students are now more than ever able to replicate and access similar tools to those that their face-to-face counterparts can access. 

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Connectivism Reflections

It was illuminating work creating a mind map for this week’s assignment. The various connections I outlined and mapped facilitate learning by creating a web of virtual and in-person connections as I navigate learning about information literacy education in my field. I have drawn on information and shared ideas in the virtual sphere, by reading blogs from various professional organizations in my discipline, to connecting with colleagues online in webinars and classes. 

My network has changed the way I learn by focusing on not only education and professional development, but by also focusing on problems to solve in teaching and in workplace projects centered on librarianship and information literacy education. Using problems and workplace assignments to drive my learning path has instilled a practical and creative edge to how I learn about information literacy. The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me have been blogs and webinars. I usually seek out blog posts and webinars when I need to get up to speed with various applications or software I need to teach, or to work out how to refresh teaching information literacy. I enjoy being able to seek out knowledge on my own time, and to make connections and share ideas with colleagues both in person and online. I enjoyed creating a mind map, and I left one space/prong empty to signify the next new idea I’ll learn by connecting with colleagues.

Problem solving methods & information processing theory

Problem solving methods and information processing theory can both be applied when teaching and designing courses in the information literacy field. Problem solving methods can be applied when teaching students how to find and process information by creating lessons and instructions with workshop portions where students practice searching for information in databases and in catalogs to solve sample problem sets. Problem solving based education remains very effective, with similar outcomes for students when compared to newer forms of instruction, such as teaching students information literacy skills using immersive simulation (Newell, 2008). 

Information processing theory also lends insight on how to teach information literacy. For example, information processing theory can be used to conceptualize teaching the skill of information retrieval within information literacy education. Students learning how to retrieve information utilize skills in analysis, decision-making, and critical thinking (McPherson, 2004). Each of these facets used to retrieve information are important steps that underpin retrieving information. Educators and instructional designers make pedagogical choices that can be explained and analyzed in light of discoveries and lessons gleaned from the field of cognitive science and brain studies.

McPherson, K. (2004). Undergraduate Information Literacy: A Teaching Framework. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 35(3), 226–241. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00048623.2004.10755273

Newell, T. S. (2008). Examining Information Problem-Solving, Knowledge, and Application Gains within Two Instructional Methods: Problem-Based and Computer-Mediated Participatory Simulation. School Library Media Research, 11.

Inspiration in Instructional Design

I am excited to learn more about instructional design from professionals in the field. To that end I searched for and examined three blogs hosted by instructional designers. All three blogs offer insights, examples, and information that will help me on my journey to becoming an instructional designer. 

The first blog I selected is Connie Malamed’s website, The eLearning Coach. Ms. Malamed’s website features regularly updated articles and posts that cover practical concerns germain to instructional designers. For instance, her most current articles discuss what kinds of colors are most effective for elearning, thoughts regarding tacit knowledge, as well as interviews with other practicing instructional designers in the field. I feel that Ms. Malamed’s website and posts will be especially helpful as they cover both a broad and in-depth view of the field covered by an experienced instructional designer.

Next I visited Dr. Ray Pastore’s website, focusing on the blog portion. Dr. Pastore is an expert on elearning topics. I spent much of the last year teaching classes online, and I would like to gain more insight about practical online teaching tips, as well as theory that underlines online teaching. I know I will gain useful information reading the blog of an expert in the field. Dr. Pastore shares his thoughts on the blog, as well as aggregates information from other instructional designers and educators that have valuable information to share.


Finally, I found fantastic information from Experiencing Elearning, hosted by elearning consultant Christy Tucker. Her posts are a pleasing melange of practical topics that range from using research in your elearning designs, to diversity in elearning. The breadth and range of the topics she has covered in her posts would be a great and varied primer on the field. I look forward to diving into her many posts to learn more as I study to become an instructional designer.