Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reflection...

As this course draws to a close it is a bittersweet ending. I have learned so much over the past few weeks and feel I possess a deeper understanding of how people learn. I was surprised to find that learning does not encompass one thing or one theory. Learning encompasses a multitude of learning theories, activities, behaviors, and methodologies. Knowing this helped assure me that there is not one right way to learn concepts and therefore, as an instructor, I have a lot of room to try different methods to engage students in course materials.
This course helped me understand that learning is a personal process. Everyone learns concept in different ways. Some people are more visual learners, while others prefer hands on activities. Knowing this will improve my teaching skills because it reminds me of the importance of being patient with my students. It reminds me to approach every student on an individual basis without comparing them to other learners in the class. If a student does not grasp a concept immediately I realize I should take that as an opportunity to try and present material to the student in a different way. It does not mean that student is not intelligent or that I am a bad teacher. It is simply an opportunity to approach the learning process with a different method.
Instructional designers should not rely on one learning theory because one theory does not explain all of the ways in which people learn. Using various learning theories provides a clearer picture of how students learn. All learners possess the ability to learn via the various learning styles, but they may be better at some styles versus others. Educational technology can provide a way for more learners to pursue continuing education efforts. This is particularly true for adult learners who may work full time, care for young children, or care for elderly relatives. Therefore, instructors must do their best to keep students engaged and motivated in learning course material. Information that is engaging and relatable to students can help keep them motivated to do well in the course.
I will always be thankful for taking this course because it has been the catalyst for my involvement in the instructional design field. Before this course I had thought about starting a blog, a website, and running my own business. However, I was not sure of how to get started. Assignments and material in this course helped me better understand the blogging process, how to subscribe to RSS feeds, and helpful sites for instructional designers. Without this course I do not think I would have discovered all of this information. I am happy to say I learned more about information I had been seeking and that I was able to apply knowledge from the course directly to real world situations. This course provided a foundation for me to stand on as I explore the instructional design field further. I will always be thankful for what I learned in this course because it helped connect me with an entire online instructional design community that I was not aware of before taking the course.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Reflection on How I Learn Best

My view on how I learn has changed over the past few weeks. I now appreciate the fact that I am an adult learner in every sense of the term. I found that I can draw on all of my experiences even though they might seem unrelated. I learned it is okay to draw from my previous experiences to help me learn, retain, and process new information I am learning from this new field.
Theories, such as Connectivism and the Social Learning Theory helped me understand that although I am taking classes online I am still connected to a community. This community is considered a social setting the same as if I were attending a traditional classroom setting. I was relieved to learn this information because I have heard positive and negative comments about online learning. Some employers and colleagues feel that it is not the best environment for learning. Some also feel that it is impossible to experience any type of connection to the class because of the virtual environment.

Technology is a big part of my learning. I use my favorite devices, an iPhone, laptop computer, and Kindle Fire, daily to help me learn and process information. I often think back to when I was in high school and computers were starting to become very popular. I do not know how I survived all this time without computers. I remember playing games like Where is Carmen San Diego on the computer, but the Internet was non existent. Technology has made my life easier and how much I learn better. Google is a lifesaver because I can ask virtually anything and get the answer I need in seconds. I am excited for future technology and e-learning because it is a new frontier.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reflections on Connectivism

My network has greatly influenced the way I learn. I find myself learning from people and gadgets in my life where I never thought possible before. When I began my undergraduate degree I barely knew how to operate a computer. Ten years later I am glued to my iPhone and Kindle Fire on a daily basis for information. My son teaches me everyday about patience, persistence, and that the concept of learning does not have to fit a cookie cutter mold.
My Google Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and iPhone are the three essential gadgets I use on a daily basis. They are my connection to the outside world and a vast sea of knowledge. My Kindle Fire holds my electronic books from Amazon. As a Prime member I can borrow books, access documentaries, or search the internet. I feel lost without my iPhone. It provides immediate access to information. In less than a minute I can access information and data from around the world.
Whenever I have questions I usually Google them on my computer. I look over information from several credible sources and form my opinion. Sometimes I will look for answers on YouTube. Surprisingly, there are tons of videos on YouTube about many different topics. Lately, majority of my questions are being answered from reading blogs. Thanks to my RSS subscription with Feedly I get access to all of my blog subscriptions in one place. I am learning from top individuals in my field about instruction design and how to become a successful blogger.  A world of information has opened up to me that I was not aware of before.

My personal network supports and aligns well with the principles of connectivism. I access learning and knowledge from a network of diverse opinions. Much of my learning resides in nonhuman devices. I access information I need on a daily basis through my computer, iPod, and Kindle Fire. I make it a point to nurture and maintain connections with everyone and everything in my network. Whether that is keeping all of my devices clean and fully charged or constantly calling or texting friends and family every other day, I try my best to show that I value those who are my sources for knowledge and inspiration.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Helpful Resources for the Brain and Problem Solving


If you are interested in learning more about the brain and learning, I highly recommend the Center for Parent Information and Resources website. This site offers a wide range of information on the brain and learning topics with links to other reputable websites and blogs. Parents and teachers can access information on brain research and disability, applying brain research to education, what learning does to your brain, and the ABCs of the brain. It serves as a central hub for a variety of brain topics and is perfect for accessing brain and learning information from sites that have already been categorized.

Do not let the name of this next website fool you. It offers a plethora of problem solving strategies. Here you will find templates, a thorough definition of the decision making process, the pros and cons of decision making methods, and step by step instructions on how to cater the templates to your decision making needs. I was particularly drawn to this site because of the free SWOT analysis templates and examples. I use SWOT analysis in my Health Education field to assess the strength of companies and organizations. If you are looking for more information on analysis templates then this is a great place to start.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Helpful Instructional Design Blogs

I am new to the instructional design community. I thought it would be helpful to provide information on three instructional design blogs I found helpful. Each blog’s creator has been in the instructional design field for some time. The authors are eager to share their knowledge and experience and network within the field.
Experience E-Learning is authored by Christy Tucker. This blog is very helpful in that it provides blogs about E-learning and Instructional Design. Readers can find posts with links to other instructional design blogs. Tucker explains her experience and steps taken to research and connect with other instructional designers. This is a great blog to reference if you are looking for a central location of instructional design blogs to begin your research
Design for Learning is a blog about the adventures in instructional design experienced by the author, Natalie Ladera-Kilkenny. This blog features information about education and technology from a comical perspective. Ladera-Kilkenny offers ideas and images for use when designing education content. This blog offers useful images to help explain the learning process. It is also a good source for acquiring instruction ideas. I imagine using this blog site as a source of support and information.

In the Middle of the Curve is an excellent blog if you are looking for a source of support and understanding in the instructional design field. Author Wendy Wickham describes stories of her experiences developing and delivering training. I appreciate how Wickham tells stories about her experiences to give her audience a view of her thought processes and how she works through challenging problems. I highly recommend this sight for anyone who is new to the instructional design field and wanting an inside scoop of what challenges designers experience and how best to overcome them.