Fitting the Pieces Together

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Fitting the Pieces together. Learning by strategy, learning by theory and learning by styles. It is important to note that these learning processes are not the same. They each provide their unique insight in how learners gain understanding. In Enquiry-Based Learning by the University of Birmingham key concepts to denote are that in Learning Theories: ‘students are as empty vessels waiting to be filled’ by or through; (behavioral learning); cognitive engagement (cognitive learning); active construction of knowledge (constructivist learning). Whereas, learning strategies and learning styles: are simply that students learn in many different ways dependent on their personality, cognitive processes and previous learning experiences.” (Enquiry-Based Learning, n.d., p.1)

The more concepts I explore within the learning process the more tools and resources I see that aid our learning. At the beginning of this learning adventure I believed simply that I was a “visual learner”. But truly had no backing/information for what that really meant. Am I a visual learner, sure but aren’t we all to some degree. Visual learning is but the use of images, maps, or graphic organizers. It is a preferred method of mine as it influences my learning but it is not the only method that influences my learning. My eyes, ears, smell, and touch are all integral pieces to my learning they are systems that allow information to be absorbed, processed, comprehended and retained to later be utilized. From a theoretical standpoint, I learn through cognition by engaging in creative thinking or problem-solving. From a constructivist view I learn by creating meaning from my own experiences. By living in a digital world, I now have technological resources at my disposal that also aid in my learning. It is with technology that I can build networks and expand my knowledge. It is what I use to research, develop understanding, brainstorm, or contribute knowledge. For example, YouTube. It is a place where I can see and hear complex concepts be broken down in a manner that is relevant to me.

It is with all these theories and styles that I have come to understand that, “The study of learning is not simply an academic exercise; it is of critical importance to both the individual and society.” (Ormorod, n.d., p.1) Building networks and gaining strategies serve both individuals and society as it allows growth and new perspectives. Understanding that we all create and perceive information in a way that is uniquely our own. It is therefore, important to take into consideration the various learning experiences and accommodate the learning theories, strategies, and styles accordingly to serve a diversity of learners. And with willingness to open our minds and allow for new attitudes and intellectual capital will make all the difference in how we approach learning and how we are to interpret it to create meaningful learning environments.

 

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(as cited in Kaiser Science, 2015)

References

 

Enquiry-Based Learning. (n.d.). University of Birmingham. Retrieved from https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/cladls/edudev/documents/public/ebl/journey/learning-theories.pdf

Ertmer, P.A., & Newby, T.J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71.

Kaiser Science. (2015). Retrieved from https://kaiserscience.wordpress.com/about/special-education/

Ormrod, J.E., Schunk, D.H., kGredler, M.E. Learning Theories and Instruction XML Vital Source ebook for Laureate Education, 1st Edition. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from

https: //mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781256289302

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Connectivism

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To learn or not to learn that is the question? Or is it. Perhaps the deeper question is how do we learn to understand? To learn is the fundamentals of who we are. We learn to talk, walk, contemplate, rationalize, connect and so much more. In an article by Davis he describes the learning process as “the intersection of prior knowledge, experience, perception, reality, comprehension, and flexibility.” (Davis, Edmunds, & Bateman, 2008) And because of these interactions plus the integration of technology it was only fair that a new perspective emerge. Thus, Connectivism was born. George Siemens created what we now know as connectivism. His theory is based on several key principles some of which are denoted below:

  • Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions
    • Knowledge exists everywhere and is accessed and organized by the learner
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning
  • Learning is the process of creating connections and developing networks
    • Network learning allows experiences to be shared and learning to be more effective
  • Part of learning is considering the value of information and determining if it is useful

(Davis, Edmunds, & Bateman, 2008)

Networks are key in connectivism. They are direct links in facilitating our learning on a daily basis. Every interaction and connection I have made throughout my life (my learning network) has help shape the way I view and interact with the world today. People and technology are all part of our learning network. They provide us with unique perspectives and relevant up-to-date information. Today we have such quick and simple ways to gain answers to all our questions. If individuals need to gain a better understanding about a subject they can choose to log on to YouTube. It is filled with great tutorials and visual stimuli. Wikis, blogs, and other discussion forums provide great sources of information.  All of which become a part of our learning network.

So, To learn or not to learn that is the question? Yes! Learn. However, do not merely learn what you believe is relevant and useful in the moment. Be a life learner. In other words, learn to learn. This occurs by seeking understanding, making connections, and discovering new possibilities. The world is full of endless knowledge and taking the opportunity to learn it may provide you with countless possibilities for your future. It may bring you knew opportunities or take you on exciting new journeys.

Moreover, I have provided a glimpse of my learning network.

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As always I hope this adventure may lead us on the path to growth and improvement.

 

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?tilte=Connectivism