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.