Sunday, April 28, 2013


At this point in my life, nothing about learning surprises me because I am always open to learning opportunities.  However, what I found most striking was the many learning theories presented throughout this course.  I have been in the field of instructional design, as an instructor for 5 years and as a writer for just little over a year, and I knew about Skinner operant condition (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 147) and Maslow hierarchy of needs (p. 230), but  it was extremely interesting learning the different philosophies and theories on how people learn.  My personal favorite is Howard Garner’s (2009) take on the multiple intelligence theory (as cited by Armstrong, p. 6-7), as he was able to “dumb it down” in terms in which every non-scholar can understand.

As with anything in life, understanding the theory behind what we do can assist us in closing the gap between where we are in our learning and where we want to be, also known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 192-193).  Along with understanding the ZPD, I was introduced and/or reintroduced to learning concepts that will be beneficial to how learn, retain and recall information more effectively, such as elaboration (relating information to something already known) and maintenance rehearsal (repeating information over and over) (p. 71). 

The connection I have learned between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation is that theories tell us of why, styles describes how, technology focus on additional methods, and motivation is the catalyst behind it all.  We cannot truly understand the how without the why and we cannot reach our full potential without using additional resources, but in the end, if we do not have motivation  (the internal state that arouses us to action) (p. 224), then it all will be for naught.

It goes without saying that I having a deeper understanding of the theories behind the reasons why people learn will without doubt aid me in being a better instructional designer.  The day after I posted my week 8 discussion response, I was able to use information covered in week 8:  Motivational Factor in the Online Classroom.  I was extremely proud that I was able to use some of what I have learned over the duration of the course because it solidifies how I learn, as  stated in my week 1 discussion: being able to apply the information that I learn. I look forward to other opportunities where I am able to apply the information I have learned so far in this degree program as well as what I will learn in future courses. My attention has been aroused; I am able to see the relevance, which heighten my confidence, thus leading to a sense of satisfaction.  This is what Huett et al (2008) refers to as ARCS as it applies to motivation, but without the distant education.


Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed ). Alexandria,

VA:Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Huett, J., Kalinowski, K., Moller, L., & Huett, K. (2008). Improving the motivation and retention
            of online students through the use of ARCS-based E-mails. American Journal of
            Distance Education, 22(3), 159–176.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate

custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fitting the Pieces Together

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?
Over the past 7 weeks, I was introduced to theorist and theories, such as Vygotsky, Piaget, Skinner, etc, and although it has been an extreme eye opener to many different theorists and theories, I have to say that none has impacted my view on how I learn.  However, it is knowledge that I store in my long-term memory in hopes of being able to recall and/or retrieve it when the need arises in my duties as a Instructional Designer, as I am a huge proponent of any knowledge gained is knowledge that can be used when the situation or circumstance dictates.
What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?
I recall when I was an instructor and remembering when some of my students used to have difficulties with some of the lesson concepts. The best way of could think of to ease their concerns was to tell them that what they were learning is not new; what I was doing was putting name to what they were doing every day—putting theory to practice.  The same thing has happened for me.  The last 6 weeks have allowed me to understand the theories behind my learning: 1) being active in the learning process by way of asking questions and being hands on, 2) being able to quickly and receptively apply what I have learned for if I don’t I face the possibility of losing it, and 3) being able to build on the knowledge and skills that I currently posses.  
What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?
The role technology plays in my learning is that it provides me unlimited access to information that I normally would not have access to. For instance, when I was working on a marketing project during my first master’s degree program, I was able to access Starbucks’ annual report, which helped me tremendously in completing my project.  Also, as a writer, I have to conduct research on a daily basis, sometimes at a moment’s notice.  Being able to conduct a Google search instantly, opposed to a traditional search--shifting through a great deal of books at the library--aid me in completely whatever lesson I am working on before the, sometimes, short deadline.   

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Facilitated Learning through Connections

How has my network changed the way I learn?
Being able to have access to other individuals who are credentialed in the ID field and who have years of experience has truly changed the way I go about learning about instructional design.  Do not misunderstand me, my co-workers are a group of professionals and are good at what they do; however, they are not degreed IDers. Most of my co-workers are individuals who have been trained in other fields, such as pharmacy (like myself), security forces (military police), aircraft mechanic, and so on, but have decided to step outside of their primary career field and try their hands at designing. Other than a 20-day training course, the only experience most have is on-the-job training (OJT).  My new network has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about ID and has also ignited a newfound interest in learning more about the field through formal and informal learning.  Prior to this the master course I am currently taking, Learning Theories and Instructions, I have never blogged before, and I have found this network very valuable.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for me?
My lifelines to learning are my Apple MacBook, my iMac desktop, my iPad and my mobile hotspot.  These tools allow me to stay connected to the world of learning 24/7/365.  No matter where I am, I am able to connect to the web and access to information such as my blog, Walden University facilitators, classroom discussion board, resources, library, and so on. This is what Siemens (2013) calls connectivism—a learning theory that integrates technology, social networks, and information. 

How do I gain knowledge when I have questions?
When I have questions, I first try to find the answer on my own by conducting a Google search, looking for videos on YouTube on the subject, or searching the Walden University library. Once I have exhausted trying to find the answer(s) to the question(s) I have, I then turn to those who I feel may posses the answer(s).  I know going to others is the easiest and quickest way to ascertain knowledge on questions I have, but I believe in the adage “give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime”. I am my own best teacher, thus the reason I decide to search for information on my own before going to others.

In what ways does my personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?
My personal learning network supports the central tenets of connectivism in that although we are on our own individual path of learning, we are not separate for each other, in that we are forever connected socially, culturally, electronically, and via information (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).  For example, I can connect with a college 5000 miles away via Skype, OoVoo, Facebook, and so on; I can go to Google and find information on any subject of my choosing whether it is for pleasure, work or homework.

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.),
Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

This week's application assignment asked that we find two online resources that are linked to this week's reading:  the brain and learning.  Below, you will find links to articles I found interesting as well as relates to the ongoing discussion.

1. How Do We Know That? Learning Styles and the Brain by Bonnie Sheryl  Kimmel

This article is very valuable as it distinguishes between left brain learners (analytic) and right brain learners (global).  It further discusses that learning takes place via two independent systems in the brain:  implicit (non-declarative) and explicit (declarative).  The author purports that a particular goal type affects whether implicit or explicit learning predominates one's learning style.

2. Education and the Brain:  A Bridge Too Far by John Bruer

This article argues that not enough is known about brain development and neural function to link that understanding in every meaningful, defensible way to instruction and educational practice.    Also, it draws a relationship between critical periods and synaptogenesis/synaptic pruning insofar as critical periods coinciding with the period of excess synapse formation.  Moreover, Bruer focus on in on the notion that an enriched and/or complex environment plays a part in synaptic growth throughout one's life span and not simply during the critical ages of birth through 10 years old.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mapping Memory in the Brain

If you are any thing like me, this week's reading assignment was heavy duty.  But I think this video will help clear up any confusion that you may have.  So grab a cup of coffee, tea, juice, etc, put in/on your headphones and relax for the next 58 minutes and take in a great lecture.