Sunday, August 12, 2012

Putting the Pieces Together

Several weeks ago I was asked, "Through what methods, either conventional or unconventional, do you seem to learn most productively?" I responded, "I learn best through experience and most through failure. Success confirms what I believe to be true; failure reveals new truths," and “My thinking and experience are most closely aligned with Constructivism.” Now, several weeks more learned and well-read, my answer is the same.

Do I know more now than I did when I began this course? Have I, in fact, gained knowledge from the assigned readings, group discussions, and professor’s feedback? If “learners create their own meaning of knowledge,” (Jung and Orey, 2008), then indeed, I do, and I have.

Today the question before me is, “Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?” Although still Constructivist, my view is less arrogant, somewhat less self-centric, and it feels less solitary. I have tended to embrace some tenets of Constructivism more than others, grooving with the notion of individual interpretation and getting tripped up by the importance of the environment.

That changed when I was introduced to Connectivism in this course: “Knowledge is literally the set of connections between entities. Learning is the creation and removal of connections between the entities, or the adjustment of the strengths of those connections,” (Downes, 2012), and for some reason or reasons, that really jives for me. I am very comfortable apart, but I now more deeply appreciate the value of being part of. “Experiences with the environment are critical to learning,” (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). 

Technology is instrumental in my learning. Without it, I wouldn’t be a student of an online university. I wouldn’t have met and challenged and been challenged by my virtual classmates, each of whom has changed me distinctly by our presence in each other’s lives. Technology enables me to enter and exit environments largely at will, and to create and remove my connections between entities, which means that I can learn and grow with and from more diversity than a non-technology me could ever imagine.

Sally Bacchetta

Bednar, A.K., Cunningham, D., Duffy, T.M., and Perry, J.D. (1991). Theory into practice: How do we link? In G. Anglin (Ed.), Instructional Technology: Past, Present and Future. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.

Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks.

Ertmer, P. and Newby, T. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), pp. 50-72.

Jung, E. J. and Orey, M. (2008). EDIT 6100 Introduction to Instructional Technology. Comparison of Major Learning Paradigms.

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