As I reflect on the learning theories, learning styles, motivation techniques, and educational technology we reviewed of the last eight weeks, I am struck by a few things. First, how much I remember from my undergraduate studies in this same vein, the ways I am still the same as a 30 year old learner as I was as a 17 year old learner, and the ways I learn and motivate differently as a 30 year old. However, what has been most surprising is the over all feeling that there is no definitive or right way. I think a comment from the Week 8 discussion sums the experience up nicely:
... as Edward Tufte likes to say... Every social science experiment comes to the same three conclusions:
- some do, some don’t,
- the differences are small, and
- it’s more complicated than that (Artino, 2011).
While I did not leave my undergraduate studies with a sense that there was one way to teach and motivate, the understanding and breadth of this issue is stronger now than it was 10 years ago.
At first blush this might make the situation seem hopeless; however, the effect is quite to the contrary. A deep understanding of the theories, approaches, and techniques serve to arm us with a tool kit. From this tool kit, we can select the best tool or tools for each job. Each unique subject, delivery method, and student type will require a unique combination of these tools.
While these tools at our disposal, this course also served to demonstrate the importance of knowing myself as a learner. My natural tendency will be to design the way I would like to learn. While there are learners who share my preferences, there are many who do not. By being aware of my preferences, I can be cognizant of the design choices I am making and critically evaluate if I am making them from my personal bias or if I am truly choosing the best tool(s) for the job.
As I progress through the remaining courses, I look forward to learning more about current educational technologies as well as emerging ones and how best to stay engaged in the ongoing dialogue; not only technology but learning theory, styles and motivation. This course introduced me to a variety of blogs and to google reader which now has become part of my daily routine. As I begin work tomorrow with the ADDIE design method, I plan to keep handy my notes from this course and ensure I am exploring how each theory, learning style, motivation, and technology can apply to each of these steps.
Artino, A. (2011). In that case... . [Discussion group comment]. Retrieved from the Walden University EDUC-6115-5 Learning Theories and Instruction Week 8 discussion group: http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5089748&Survey=1&47=8984048&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1