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Fitting the Pieces Together

From behaviorism to social learning and everything else in between, people have been trying to understand how people learn for at least 2000 years. The topic of the mind and learning seems to date back to Ancient Greece. Throughout the centuries, many have tried to explain the human mind and how it works. However, in the nineteenth century, advancements in science and technology finally allowed psychologists to gain a better understanding of the human mind, beginning with behaviorism. As society and our world continue to evolve, as well as continued advancements in the field of science and technology, more and more learning theories have gained momentum.

Throughout this course, learning theories have been the focal point of many assignments and discussions. As a teacher in the field of education for fifteen years, learning theories have been ingrained into my teaching philosophy. Through learning about the brain itself and how it works (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009), I have gained a better understanding of cognitivism. What I thought was particularly interesting in this course, was reading about and participating in a debate over whether or not neuroscience should influence education. I understand both sides of the argument. Another great opportunity with the course was being able to complete the learning matrix that detailed each learning theory. Through that experience, I found myself comfortable with several learning theories and not just one. Looking back at Kapp’s (2007) blog post, I agree with Kapp on how he was trying to validate that no one learning theory can be all encompassing to explain the human brain and its processes. It is, rather, a collection of the -isms that comprise the workings of information processing and the behaviors that follow. This was eye opening, because as a teacher and lifelong learner, I have felt that I utilize many tenets of several learning theories in both my personal learning career and my professional teaching career. Overall, I learned that having a theory or model is an important prerequisite for quality curriculum design. Henson (2015) referred to a model like painting or a story, which is either written or visually represented, that describes one’s perception of reality.

Over the past few weeks, I was able to look inward and identify a learning challenge of my own. Through this process I learned a challenge I have with encoding, which is one of the three main cognitive processes (Ormrod in Laureate Education, n.d.). It was interesting to take in the experience of admitting a flaw in my own learning process. I think it helped me become a better educator because I am able to consider my own challenges when looking at the challenges my students may be facing. Another takeaway from this course was exploring and studying adult learning. According to Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith (2003), there are five assumptions that compose the basis of adult learning: the individual must be able to self-direct their learning; the individual must have an abundance of life experiences that provide a bedrock for new learning, in individual must have learning goals and needs that are tied to social roles; the individual is interested in applying the knowledge and skills obtained; and the the individual is motivated to learn on their own accord. Since this is my second online masters program, the tenets of adult learning made a lot of sense to me. Overall, I learned that learning is both similar and different in youths and adults. 

Finally, I have found that technology plays an integral role in the learning we participate in today in the 21st century. Technology can be used with each learning theory that we studied in this course. From using technology to monitor behaviors (behaviorism) to using technology to learn from each other socially. Technology has a role in learning and it is here to stay. What fascinates me most about technology and learning is that technology can enable students to learn at their own pace. Additionally, technology can help teachers reach students to meet their needs in new and different ways like never before. According to Waddell (2015), technology has been used to help improve and facilitate learning experiences that allow both student and teacher to gather, access, analyze, present, and transmit information quickly and efficiently. 

In closing, learning theories are well researched and well understood. The world is constantly changing, and thus humans are changing as well. As the human mind evolves to meet the demands of the new world in front of us, new and different learning theories will emerge just the way they have done in the past. It surely is an exciting time to study the mind and human development. 

 

References

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Henson, K.T. (2015). Curriculum planning: Integrating multiculturalism, constructivism, and 

education reform (5th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press

Kapp, K. (2007). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought. Retrieved from https://karlkapp.com/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b.). Information processing and problem solving [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.

Waddell, J. (2015). The role of technology in the educational process. Michigan State University College of Education. Retrieved from https://education.msu.edu/green-and-write/2015/the-role-of-technology-in-the-educational-process/.

 

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Connectivism Reflection

According to Utecht and Keller (2019), considering yourself “educated” in today’s world does not mean you can simply memorize information or know a plethora of facts. Rather, it is an individual’s ability to learn, then unlearn, and relearn information and facts quickly enough to apply what you know to this ever-changing world and landscape (Utecht & Keller, 2019). My learning connections have changed the way I learn. With access to information, answers to my questions at my fingertips, and a range of social networks both in-person and online, I am able to make decisions faster. According to Orey (2010), part of the learning process is about making decisions. With so many avenues to turn to for answers, I am able to learn more quickly and make more decisions as a result. 

There are many digital tools that one can use in today’s world to facilitate learning. For me, the Internet and social media platforms are the two that bring me the fastest results. For example, if our vacuum breaks, I can use the internet, likely Youtube, to search and find a solution to my problem. Before my search, I would not know how to fix vacuums, but after my search, I am able to apply the new knowledge gained to my situation. 

When I have questions that require me to gain new knowledge, I have several avenues to find answers. One way is to use the Internet and conduct a search. A second way is to use social media. For example, if I have a question about something in my children’s school district, I can post it to Facebook and a social network of other parents or people in the community will reply with answers. Another way is to conduct research, particularly for graduate school. I can use the Walden Library and search a plethora of articles and digital books for answers. Finally, as a professional with a professional social network of colleagues and administrators, I can turn to them for advice or with my questions. This can be done in person, via email, or on Zoom. 

According to Siemens (2005), there are eight principles of connectivism, which support the ways in which I learn through connectivism. As previously mentioned, and noted by Siemens (2005), one principle refers to decision making and how it is part of the learning process. Another principle involves nurturing connections in social networks and maintaining them to make connections for continual learning (Siemens, 2005). Goldie (2016) shared that learning truly occurs when networks are traversed, constructed, and participation in activities within the  networks will strengthen learning connections. I feel I abide by this principle when I am meeting with other professionals and participating in professional development networks. In addition, if I am interested in learning something that is not necessarily related to my profession, I can traverse through personal social networks of people. Lastly, Siemens (2005) shared that a diversity of opinions contributes to learning. I feel when I find varying opinions online or within my personal social networks, I retain more information and gain new knowledge and perspective. Overall, all of the principles of connectivism represent how I learn in one way, shape or form. 

 

References

Goldie, J. G. S. (2016). Connectivism: A knowledge learning theory for the digital age? Medical Teacher, 38(10), 1064–1069. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.3109/0142159X.2016.1173661

Orey, M. (2010). Connectivism. Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology. http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Siemens G. 2005. Connectivism: a learning theory for the digital age. Int J Instr Technol Dis Learn 2:1–8; [cited 2015 Aug]. Available from: http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm.

Utecht, J., & Keller, D. (2019). Becoming relevant again: Applying connectivism learning theory to today’s classrooms. Critical Questions in Education, 10(2), 107–119.

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Connectivism Mind Map

Connectivism Mind Map

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Week 2-Assignment 2: Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

“The human brain is an incredibly complicated mechanism that involves somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred billion neurons” (Goodman & Tessier-Lavigne, 1997; Siegel, 1999 in Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). This week we have learned about the brain and learning. The brain is a vital organ that is responsible for teaching itself and learning by itself (Suarez, Martinez & Mendoza, 2018). Pretty amazing! An excellent article called, “Brain and Learning” (Suarez, Martinez, Mendoza, 2018), shared a study conducted around the functioning of the brain as it is related to educational processes. Some key points that were pointed out in the study were that the brain has the ability to store an unlimited amount of information; the brain has different memory systems; and the brain produces more complex responses when there are greater environmental stimuli (Suarez, Martinez, Mendoza, 2018). The impact of this knowledge on the brain is that when a teacher knows the process of information acquisition, storage, and evocation, he/she can develop more appropriate instructional tasks (Suarez, Martinez, Mendoza, 2018). Furthermore, the knowledge of the brain, its systems, functions, and implications for learning allows a teacher educational opportunities (Suarez, Martinez, Mendoza, 2018). Finally, the article explains a nuanced area of academic exploration known as neuroeducation, which is the joint understanding of neuroscience and education to harmonize within teaching methodologies (Suarez, Martinez, Mendoza, 2018). Overall, this resource does a great job of sharing how neuroscience and education can be blended to benefit students in the classroom.
Another area of focus this week was on the cognitive process in problem solving. Ormrod (in Laureate Education, n.d.) shared that the three cognitive processes of problem solving include encoding, retrieval, and metacognition. “In a similar vein, cognitive processes are defined as the mental processes of an individual, with particular relation to a view that argues that the mind has internal mental states (such as beliefs, desires and intentions) and can be understood in terms of information processing, especially when a lot of abstraction or concretization is involved, or processes such as involving knowledge, expertise or learning” (Ekwait et al, 2019, p. 22). This resource contains a study of twenty-five seventh graders to trace their cognitive processes with regard to learning a specific math concept. Through data collection and analysis, researchers found which cognitive processes were helpful to the seventh graders in their pursuit of new math material (Ekwait et al, 2019). The study helped to show that an understanding of the cognitive processes activated and employed while learning a new math skill can help inform teaching and methodologies (Ekwait et al, 2019).
Overall, these two academic articles on the brain and problem solving shed light on the world of teaching and learning. The implications of neuroscience can be very helpful to teacher professionals who want to design instructional tasks that meet the needs of all learners.

References
Ekawati, R., Kohar, A. W., Imah, E. M., Amin, S. M., & Fiangga, S. (2019). Students’ cognitive processes in solving problem related to the concept of area conservation. Journal on Mathematics Education, 10(1), 21-36.
Goodman, C. S., & Tessier-Lavigne, M. (1997). Molecular mechanisms of axon guidance and target recognition. In W. M. Cowan, T. M. Jessell, & S. L. Zipursky (Eds.), Molecular and cellular approaches to neural development (pp. 108–137). New York: Oxford University Press.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.
Siegel, D. J. (1999). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York: Guilford.
Suarez, A. M. S., Martinez, M. E. M., & Mendoza, L. R. M. (2019). Brain and learning. International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 3(2), 128-135.

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Week 2 Assignment- Post on IDT Blog

Amanda Valente’s Post to Dr. Caitlin R. Tucker’s Blog

Dear Dr. Caitlin,
Thank you for the blog post all about universally designed blended learning. As a teacher for 15 years, I have been using blended learning in my classroom of 5th graders for the last several years. As you well know, blended learning is the soft-spot between asynchronous and synchronous learning (Heliporn, Lakhal & Belisle (2021). I liked how you explained four different models for effective blended instruction. I personally employ the station rotation model and the hyperdoc learning model. What I like about the station rotation model is the ability to monitor and motivate students to rotate throughout each station. At times, students are working with technology and are in charge of their own learning path, whereas in other stations they are working directly with me. I feel that while in theory the choose your own path model has a place in the classroom, I find it harder to assess, monitor, or motivate students when this model is being employed. Do you know of any classroom management strategies or tips for teachers who chose to employ this model of blended learning?
Next, when you discussed the hyperdoc model of blended learning, all I could think about was the Bitmoji classroom pages that I have constructed over the years with Google Slides or the comprehensive Google Sites I have created for learning units. I had never known these fell into a category of blended learning, but I am happy to learn that all my hard work on such projects does have a place in learning models.
One specific project that I created for my 5th graders that fits into this blog post about blended learning was a technology project that I named blended delivery/flipped classroom/and a podcast too. For this project students started by listening to an exemplar history podcast at home. For step two, in school, students wrote their own three minute original podcast transcript. Third, students work on a digital presentation for the podcast that contains only images. This presentation would spotlight parts of the transcript. According to Vandenberg (2018), podcasts in the classroom can help flip the learning experience; provide stimulus for student learning; model form, language and structure; provide ideas for writing; and stimulate critical and creative thinking. Do you think this project fits in with blended learning?
Thanks for your post and time,
Amanda Valente
References
Heilporn, G., Lakhal, S., & Bélisle, M. (2021). An examination of teachers’ strategies to foster student engagement in blended learning in higher education. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 18(1), 1–25. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1186/s41239-021-00260-3
Vandenburg, D. (2018). Using podcasts in the classroom. mETAphor, (2), 54-55. https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=10d76377-fcaa-4f19-a639-c6bc91a4cba4%40sdc-v-sessmgr03

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Week 2 Assignment- Review of Classmate’s Resource

From viewing a fellow EDUC6115 classmate’s blog post, I found a great resource in the form of a blog by Dr. Caitlin Tucker. Tucker’s blog is unique because it shares a wealth of blog posts that contain useful and practical strategies for online and blended learning. Blended learning is the happy medium between face-to-face learning and online teaching (Heliporn, Lakhal, & Belisle, 2021). Blended learning has been linked to higher student engagement because of its multifaceted construct (Heliporn, Lakhal, & Belisle, 2021). Tucker’s focus for this blog is resources, podcasts, interviews, and books pertaining mainly to online learning and blended learning. One video posted by Tucker speaks to me about using Google Apps in the classroom. Additionally, Tucker has posted a fair amount of articles and blog posts about universally designed blended learning strategies for the classroom. Tucker’s blog is significant to me because as a teacher, I am looking for practical strategies, tips and tricks, and expert knowledge that I can use to design my lessons and implement them in the classroom. I appreciate the content on this blog that combines blog posts, podcasts, and videos. As a busy professional, it is nice to be able to listen to relevant content when I am away from my computer or classroom. When a blog contains both print and digital content, I think it speaks to a larger audience and allows for a greater variety of topics to be covered as well. Overall, this blog speaks to me right now because I am a classroom teacher and I am always looking for ways to improve my instruction and instructional design to meet my students’ needs. This blog has relevant content for teachers looking to do the same.
References
All things blended and online learning. (n.d.). Dr. Caitlin R. Tucker. Retrieved from https://catlintucker.com/
Heilporn, G., Lakhal, S., & Bélisle, M. (2021). An examination of teachers’ strategies to foster student engagement in blended learning in higher education. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 18(1), 1–25. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1186/s41239-021-00260-3

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Week 1 Assignment- Overview of Resources/Blogs

The first resource that I came across for Instructional Design is called eLearning Learning from https://www.elearninglearning.com/. The site contains an in depth collection of blogs, webinars, and resources that can be downloaded (https://www.elearninglearning.com/, n.d.).
The site has several tabs which feature a collection of articles and resources on instructional design, authoring tools, blended learning, virtual classroom, learning strategy, remote learning, and gamification. The site is powered by Aggregage which is a B2B digital media platform that pulls relevant industry content together (https://www.aggregage.com/) and allows organizations to participate in the content community. The site is interactive and allows you to sign up for an account, which then allows you to customize your search by topics based on concepts, tools, type, companies, organizations, year, or source. One interesting feature about the content entries on this site is that they indicate keywords for searching and how the content has been trending. For example, an article called, “Best Practices for Remote Learning in the Pandemic for Organizations,” shares that it is up 130 points on the trending scale. Overall, this site provides bountiful resources and provides an interactive experience.

The second resource that I came across for Instructional Design is called eLearning Industry from https://elearningindustry.com. This site proclaims to be the “World’s Largest Knowledge Sharing Platform,” (https://elearningindustry.com, n.d.). The mission of this organization is to provide eLearning professionals with specific and inspiring content. According to Shermerhorn, Hunt, and Osmond (2008), an organization’s strengths can be it’s mission statement, values, vision, myths, and strategies. eLearning Industry has many of those strengths, as it was born from a founder that wanted to disrupt the status quo when it came to building a democratized digital network to serve individuals, teams, and organizations globally. The site features a plethora of articles, industry-specific content, a complete industry directory that is searchable by needs, events and webinars, press releases, and job opportunities. This site is also interactive and is best utilized when an individual or organization creates an account to sign in with. A unique feature is that the site has many downloadable eBooks available to users as well. This is a very comprehensive site that can be helpful to individuals, teams, and organizations alike.

A third resource that I came across for Instructional Design is a blog by Christy Tucker called Experiencing eLearning from https://www.christytuckerlearning.com/. This blog is run by the aforementioned, who is a learning experience design consultant. Tucker is a former middle school teacher who found a way to use her teaching skills combined with her skills in working with adults and technology to a pathway into corporate software training (Tucker in https://www.christytuckerlearning.com/, n.d.) Tucker has a unique approach to instructional design and training as she uses storytelling and scenarios with technology. Her blog contains over 70 posts with content like: training on Twine, storytelling, podcasting, branching with scenarios, creating characters, feedback and assessment, and research on scenario-based learning to name a few areas. eLearning, especially at the college level has seen rapid growth in recent years. Cohen (2010) shared that scripts, learning objects, and multimedia resources are imperative to effective instructional design. It seems Tucker (in https://www.christytuckerlearning.com/, n.d.) agrees. A unique feature about her blog is that she has posted many videos and podcasts with industry-specific content. While her blog is not as comprehensive as the first two, it has its own value and niche.

References
Cohen, D. E. (2010). The Online resource selection instructional design script (ORSIDS) and implications for the widespread diffusion of learning objects. Technology, Instruction, Cognition & Learning, 8(1), 67–96.

eLearning Learning. (n.d.). eLearning Learning- Expert insights, personalized for you. Retrieved from https://www.elearninglearning.com/

eLearning Industry. (n.d.). eLearning industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/

Experiencing eLearning. (n.d.) Christy tucker’s experiencing eLearning. Retrieved from https://www.christytuckerlearning.com/.

Schermerhorn, J. R., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R. N. (2008). Organizational behavior (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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