Fitting the Pieces Together

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During Week 1, I noted that I learn best through the cognitive theory based on the overview of the learning theories I have explored up to this point. When I am motivated to learn, I am actively involved in the learning process. I also noted that there is not one learning theory that best describes how I learn. With a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, my view on how I learn has changed, especially depending on the learning activity. I have come to understand more comprehensively that I enjoy a mix of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles. I use a combination of learning theories depending on the learning activity.

Behaviorist theory: With no prior knowledge in a course, I am a passive learner responding to stimuli.

Cognitive theory: With some knowledge in a course, I use the information processing approach (storing and retrieving information) to transfer and embrace new information.

Constructivist theory: With prior knowledge in a course, I am an active learner constructing new ideas or concepts with past experiences.

Social learning theory: With some knowledge as an active social participant during my military career, I learn by modeling and observing others.

Connectivism: With a variety of networks (socially and technically enhanced), I learn by recognizing and interpreting patterns and recognizing credible sources.

Adult learning: With prior experience, I am a motivated and a self-directed learner. Learning is a life-long commitment and I am the manager of my learning process.

Technology plays an important role in learning. According to Lim (2004), simulation activities can engage learners in an online learning environment. Simulations serve three very important pedagogical features:

  • They give learners direct access to the behavior of the object domain.
  • They give intrinsic feedback on learners’ experiment with that domain (Laurillard, 1988).
  • They provide real-world relevance and utility related to the scenario and strategies for addressing multifactor problems (Gredler, 1996).

As computers continue to increase in speed and grow in power, simulations (Virtual Reality [VR]) will continue to evolve as well. Although some continue to doubt the benefit of integrating these concepts into the classroom, the reality is that our technologically dependent culture is already making this a part of everyday life. VR, which is popular in video games, allows the user to totally control a computerized character. Every action the user makes is made by the character and instantly displayed for the user. VR is a way for humans to visualize, manipulate, and interact with computers. Today, users want to feel a genuine response to every movement they make, just as in the real world.

The Horizon Report explores trends that accelerate technology, challenges that impede technology, and developments in educational technology for higher education. Some important developments include technologies like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), flipped classrooms, makerspaces, wearable technology, adaptive learning technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Academic institutions can flourish using a specific collection of technologies, like head-mounted displays, glove-input devices, and interactive audio. The military benefits from these technologies, using them to train their service men and women.

Understanding learning styles, learning theories, learning strategies, and new emerging technology as an Instructional Designer, we can continue to place the right content in the right context for the learner to bring relevance to the learning experience. How we deliver content and provide feedback is important to their learning and participation. The learning environment has to match the student and the subject. Constructing learning environments to help learners as they explore it in collaboration with others, they can apply their experience and knowledge in personally meaningful contexts.