Reflection on Learning Theories Instruction

I began this class believing that learning styles weighed heavily when evaluating which approach to use in teaching a specific class. After eight weeks of examining the foundation of learning theories and instruction, I will not give students’ learning styles any weight at all. Instead, I will evaluate which learning theory is most appropriate for the material I’m planning to teach, and I will consider what might motivate my students, based on an analysis of my audience. I now understand that it is critical that as an Instructional Designer I strive to provide situated motivation—motivation that is “partly a function of the learning environment” (Ormrod, 2009, p. 224). This includes ensuring, according to the ARCS motivational process (Keller, 1999), that my curriculum (1) captivates my students’ attention, (2) is relevant to their lives, (3) that my interaction with them promotes confidence in their ability to succeed in my class, and (4) that they are satisfied with the material covered, the way it was covered, and their interaction with me as an instructor.

Some of the things I found surprising as I moved through this course included the role of arguing in developing critical thinking skills, the importance of elaboration and social interaction, and the theory of multiple intelligences.

Most of my life I have avoided conflict whenever possible. My husband is the opposite—he taught our children when they were adolescents how to argue either side of any issue. At the time I found this stressful, and I would either try to intervene and stop the conversation or I would leave the room and sometimes the house. They all found it humorous that I couldn’t abide what I considered arguing. A few weeks ago my husband and I were having lunch with three of our grown children, and a discussion started in their old style of debating. After about ten minutes one of my daughters turned her attention to me and said to the others, “Oh no. Mom has her ‘you better stop your arguing right now’ face on.”

I considered for a moment before responding, “I’m fine. You’re just expressing conflicting ideas on a subject, you aren’t arguing. ” They all stared at me for a few minutes as if I’d grown a second head. I believe that was shortly after reading Chapter 6 on the Constructivist Theory. Ormrod et al. emphasizes that from a Constructivist perspective, “The most straightforward recommendations are to involve students actively in their learning and to provide experiences that challenge their thinking and force them to rearrange their beliefs” (2009, p. 188). I’m grateful to my husband that he did this to help our children develop critical thinking skills.

I plan to integrate technology into the curriculum whenever it is the best way to introduce or elaborate on a specific subject. Considering that social interaction is so important, when working with teenagers I would set up a social network page and use it to provide a friendly environment for the exchange of ideas and to encourage elaboration of curriculum.

For the most part I expect to be teaching adults through web-based tutorials. The first class I will teach is in the development stages. Our authors, who are subject matter experts, do not want the production team’s help in writing for the web. My task is to work with my supervisor to write templates that both communicate how to structure web-based tutorials while providing an environment in which to do so. Our goal is to provide them with the tools they need while demonstrating how we can add value to their products. Historically, they work in Word and hand us a long document that is written appropriately for a report (maybe), but not for the web. I am excited about using what I have learned in this class to work with the SMEs to produce excellent material.

 

Reference

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

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