As an English Education undergraduate student, I did much reflection on how I learned as a child and what type of teacher I wanted to be for school aged children. Returning to graduate school as an adult learning to design instruction for adults has provided the opportunity to reflect on how I have changed as an adult learner, the ways I am the same as an adult learner as I was as a child learner, and better understand the ways adults learn best.
I have always been a social learner. Looking back at my primary and secondary schooling, the knowledge that has stayed with me the longest and deepest is that which I did in a social setting. In undergraduate school, I worked closely with one of the pioneers of co-authoring, Helen Dale. With her, I learned more about constructivism, constructionism, and social learning theory in practice in the classroom. I was excited to learn why the experiences that resonated with me from my childhood did so. And eager to replicate these experiences in my classroom. This course reaffirmed my draw to these theories in my own learning and my own instructional design. First when working with middle schoolers and then working with adults the last six years.
I have always been opinionated and a bit stubborn, so choice was something that I always appreciated in my learning. Often in middle and high school, teachers would give the option for a final project or paper. Even with just two options, I was grateful for the choice to decide which method would showcase my learning and knowledge most effectively. As an adult, this desire and appreciation has grown exponentially. Rather than selecting methods to showcase my learning or knowledge, I now select the method that appears to have the most relevance to my job, interests, or future goals. The ability to immediately and directly relate my learning to something personal is highly motivational for me.
As an instructional designer, I think it is important to know my own preferences and tendencies in learning. As an education student, I learned that we tend to teach the way we were taught. So, depending on the quality of teachers you had and their teaching style, you many need to be very cognizant of your natural tendencies and proactively make different choices. I think the same is true in instructional design. While my style of learning will be the best approach for some projects, there will be many more when a different approach will be the most appropriate and have the widest appeal and success. Being acutely aware of my preference will help me evaluate if I am making choices based on the best approach to learning for the project or if I am just relying on what I would want.
I have found the last seven weeks a great refresher on the theories I studied in my undergraduate program. I look forward to the upcoming classes and drawing back on this knowledge as we learn more about the design process.