Week 8 Reflection

While I am not new to online learning, I am new to an asynchronous environment. During this course, I found it surprising that there are so many different theories about learning.  When I started out, I knew that everyone learned differently. I understood a little about learning styles; visual, auditory and Tactile / Kinesthetic learning. I am a visual and tactile learner in most things. However, I am an auditory leaner when it comes to languages. Whether it is on the phone, via BlackBoard, or in person, I listen intently to “hear” the variations, tones, inflections, etc. in the speaker’s voice. When I speak Spanish on the phone or in person, my ultimate goal is to sound like a native, and to be understood. So far, my Mexican families say I do not speak like them. I speak like a Cuban. So, their name for me is “Cubana”. Evidently, I have a Cuban “accent”. I have had teachers from Panama, Mexico, Spain, South America, and several from Cuba. It seems that Cuba has been “impressed” upon me.

     While I started out with a learning style, I have learned some things about theories, about why I do things the way I do them. I learned Behaviorist principles in school; memorizing, practice and stimulus and response (math).”The use of periodic practice or review serves to maintain a learner’s readiness to respond (Schunk, 1990).  Back “in the day”, we used a lot of memorizing, practice skills, and task based learning. In my Spanish classes, my “reward” was to go to County and State Spanish Conferences. In my first State Spanish Competition, I was the youngest to ever go. I was thrilled and scared to death at the same time. This meant competing front of people I did not know and was not sure of my skills. However, through three county and three state competitions, I was able to utilize and hone my skills (observable and measureable). The stimuli / rewards were several factors. We traveled to Orlando, stayed in a hotel for most of a week, went to a theme park, won ribbons and placed in a high rank in the competitions, and the pièce de resistance, we went to Disney World on the way home.

     Depending on the class, I use cognitivism to reason and solve problems using encoding, storage and retrieval. Jonassen, 1991, stated that “the focus on the conceptualization of students’ learning process and address the issues of how information is received, organized, stored, and received by the mind. Learning is concerned with not so much with what learners do but with what they know and how they come to acquire it.”

     In other ways, I use constructivist and connectionist theories. Much of what we learn in an actual school setting, for me, is constructivism at work. We create meaning. We engage, participate, and are socially and culturally aware. Part of our online culture was to have a Commander for our instructor. We also had people from Mexico and Africa. One thing that I am a fan of is cultural intelligence and awareness. We need to be aware of each other and our cultures as we design instruction as well as trying to keep everyone engaged in the learning process. We need to understand geographical and cross-cultural communications to successfully navigate build relationships, and work successfully with many different groups

     I amazed and honored to have a Navy Commander for a professor. This made me want to do a better job. For some reason, I wanted him to be proud of me. I believe this to be a little in reverse order. I am proud of my family, my friends, and of our men and women who serve / have served in the military. I am also proud that I got a little taste of military “teaching” to be the best I can be. Even though our professor did not act like Navy in any way, after reading his CV, I wanted to do a better job. I wanted to “Be All That You Can Be” (Army slogan).

     In an online learning environment, I believe it would be a combination of behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectionism. We will be within a diverse, social and technological framework. We will be in an ever increasing changing environment with diverse knowledge.  These theories and other learning strategies will combine and connect one to another.

     Everything connects. From learning processes to the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation. Know yourself. Know your biases. Correct your biases and be fair in your presentations all the while being mindful and bringing meaningful instruction as you further your career in the field of instructional design. In order to do this, one needs to have an understanding of the Learning Theories. The Learning Matrix is a great guide to keep on hand, just in case one might “forget” to include a thing or two. Constructive feedback, whether positive or negative, is important. “Even negative feedback can be affective when it promotes competence and self determination.” (R. Butler, 1998; Corno and Rohrkemper, 1985; Reeve, 2006; Tunstall and Gipps, 1996). “If it provides information about how to improve in the future, thereby implying that the individual can eventually be successful, it is likely to promote intrinsic motivation.” This allows the learner to know where he/ she stands in the scheme of things. If one does not know “where they stand” this could contribute to poor studying habits, grades, etc. “To learn effectively, you not only have to have the cognitive processes to enable you to learn effectively and to remember it effectively; you also have to want to learn it.” (Ormrod, 2009).  As I stated in last week’s post regarding this university, “One positive aspect is that everything is “spelled out in crayon” for the student. One needs to know “where” they are and “where” they are going. Giving specific dates, times, and expectations is important in an online environment. Equally important is flexibility. Everyone wants to “be a success” or at least “feel” like they are a success. Giving assignments that are meaningful, challenging, and interesting will help a student BE a success. Being or feeling like a success also puts “control” back into the student’s hands. This engages them and empowers them to want to do better.”

     In an online environment, I would implement Keller’s ARCS model to motivate using the  acronym ARCS: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction in the design. Motivational design is defined as “the process of arranging resources and procedures to bring about changes in motivation. Motivational design can be applied to improving students’ motivation to learn, employees’ motivation to work, the development of specific motivational characteristics in individuals, and to improving peoples’ skills in self-motivation. Motivational design is systematic and aims for replicable principles and processes.”

     “The design process includes:

v  Knowing and identifying the elements of human motivation,

v  Analyzing audience characteristics to determine motivational requirements,

v  Identifying characteristics of instructional materials and processes that stimulate motivation,

v  Selecting appropriate motivational tactics, and

v  Applying and evaluating appropriate tactics.”

As I stated last week, one thing that is key in online classes is the discussion boards. One gets to “know” another through reading others thoughts and posting their own thoughts. This starts a conversation albeit a virtual conversation. As one gets to “know” another, they begin to feel less anxious and more comfortable with the class.  I believe this connects with “affect” in that one “feels” and shows emotion through positive and affirming statements that makes one “feel” good about themselves and their work. An instructor (or another student) could make a positive statement such as, “I liked the way that you…” or “You stated that…” In doing so, this shows the student that he/she read the material and that they paid attention. In turn, the student emotionally connects because they “feel” that they have done a good job. In my opinion, this is a great motivator. If one feels good about themselves, one is going to want or desire to receive the same results time after time. This will also help keep me motivated. If I receive only one “atta boy” or other positive affirming statement, I may not feel as inclined as I do not “feel” as if I have presented a good paper or presentation. Even though adult learners are adults, they still have a “need” for affirmations.” Having the tools and knowledge to do one’s job is half of the battle whether it is working for someone or being self employed designing instruction. It is how one presents the other half, to make it a whole, which will make for a successful instructional designer. If I can pull together everything that I have learned and will learn in these courses, I believe I will be an effective instructional designer.

 

Resources:

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed ). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Brooks, J., & Brooks, M. (1999). In search of understanding: The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42.

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly.

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).

Keller, J.M. What is Motivational Design. Retrieved from: http://www.arcsmodel.com/pdf/Motivational%20Design%20Rev%20060620.pdf

Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–2 3.

 Ormrod, J. (Video program) Motivation in learning.

 “ ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller).” Learning-Theories. 2008.

 http://www.learning- theories.com/kellers-arcs-model-of-motivational-design.html

Retrieved from: Poulsen, A., et al, “ARCS Model of Motivational Design”, 2008.

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