Reflection of Learning Theory, Learning styles, and Motivational Strategies

• What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?

As a teacher, I was aware of some of these learning theories but I was surprised to see that there was much more than I knew of regarding learning theory. Behaviorism, and cognitivism were very familiar. However, as we dove into connectivism, constructivism, social learning theory and adult learning theory, I realized how much more has been done in this area of learning. However, my biggest surprise came during this last week. I was completely unaware that so much research has been done on motivation. I had absolutely no knowledge of the ARCS method of motivation or of all the research in the area of motivation. This theory is invaluable to teachers of all types of learners, such as K-12, college and university students and of course online learners. One of the major issues teachers struggle with is student motivation. Knowing how to design instruction that will address the motivation of learners will decrease the amount of students who withdraw from courses both literally and figuratively. I enjoyed learning about the different learning theories and the method used to present these theories to us. This is a true model for how motivation can be incorporated into a course. Although, I was surprised with the motivation model discussed this week, I must keep in mind that learning is a combination of all learning theories and must pick and choose the best learning activities and strategies that go with the current content and environment.

How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?

At the beginning of this course, I thought of myself as a visual learner and knew bits and pieces of learning theory. At this point, I understand that although I prefer a certain learning style, I use different learning styles depending on the environment and on the activity being presented. I am an adult learner, and learning about this style has helped me see how adults learn vs. students in the middle grades. This is true of all learners. Although I had a basic understanding of learning theories, I now leave this course with a much deeper understanding of how to differentiate on learning theory from another and how they can work together to create a better learning environment for learners. One very important piece of information, I think I should mention here is that although I was using various strategies with my students, I never really thought of the learning theory behind them. Now as I teach my students and use various strategies with them, I can tell what learning theory they support. This has allowed me to use these strategies more effectively in the classroom. However, I now can use various strategies both with younger students, adults, in a classroom and online. This course has given me a broader base of situation within which I will feel comfortable and confident about teaching.

• What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?

Learning theories describe how leaning occurs, what factors influence learning, the role of memory, and how transfer occurs. Each learning theory describes a particular type of learning method. Learning styles are the particular ways in which individuals prefer to learn. In the behaviorist point of view, learning is demonstrated following the presentation of a specific environmental stimulus and a proper response is obtained and the most crucial factor is the placement of the stimulus and response in the learning environment. For cognitivist, learning occurs through the acquisition of knowledge through internal mental structures. Learning is measured by how one thinks not how one behaves. Constructivists believe that the mind filters input from the world to produce its own reality. Learners create their own knowledge from their experiences. “Constructivists believe that it is impossible to isolate units of information or divide up knowledge domains”. The emphasis is on performance and instruction. The three levels of knowledge acquisition are introductory, advanced, and expert. Social learning theory stresses that learning occurs by observing the behaviors of others as well as by observing the outcomes of those behaviors. Learning can occur without a change in behavior and the consequences of behavior play a role in learning as does cognition. Connectivism on the other hand describes learning as Distributed within a social network. Technologically enhances learning which occurs through recognizing and interpreting patterns. However, technology does change how any learning theory is presented in an online environment. Adult learning theory is based on learning taking place through life experiences, working together in groups developing a particular method and talking about what is being learned. This incorporates many systems that continually adapt and merge. Motivation is essential in any learning theory, since without motivation to learn, there is no learning. Therefore, it is important for any instructional designer to keep their learners motivated. Motivation can come in different forms based on the individuals learning style, the learning theory, classroom instruction and online environments.

• How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?

This course will definitely help me as I further my career in instructional design. In fact, much of what I have learned, I am already putting into practice in my current position as a middle school teacher. I have a deeper understanding of the learning theories, which allows me to prescribe specific learning strategies for my students. As an instructional designer, it will allow me to design learning environments and courses that ensure that students learning styles are reflected and that specific learning strategies are used, creating a well-rounded course. In addition, I will be able to design an environment that motivates students to continue to learn. I have learned much about adult learning, the use of technology, and motivation, that I had not prior knowledge of. This course has given me a solid foundation and filled in the gaps I had in my learning. I am feeling more confident about designing instruction that is effective and engaging.

Fitting The Pieces Together

As one of the final assignments, I have been asked to clarify my learning understanding of my learning style, now that I have a better understanding of the different learning theories. As I began this course, I was of the understanding that I was a visual and experiential learner. However, now I realize that this is simply my preferred learning style. I am actually an adult learner, who has many responsibilities but who is also self-driven and self-directed to complete my goals. Adult learners, tend to be older, committed to learning, self-motivated and take responsibility for their education (Cerone, 2008). Adult learners are more motivated and task oriented which allows them to overcome obstacles which may hinder their educational goals (Cerone, 2008). Cerone stated that the characteristics of adult learners are that they need “to be actively involved in the learning process, needs to understand relevance of new information and its relations to the learner’s needs, needs collaborative and supportive learning environment, and needs social interaction to learn” (Cercone, 2008. pp. 154-159). All of these characteristics do define who I am as a learner. However, I now understand that my earning style may change depending on the content. This was an eyes opener for me. I was under the impression that learners had a range of preferences but that they basically used the learning style they preferred. I now understand that this was a misconception and that I need to learn the best learning style for the task at hand. This has also helped me see my students in a new light as well.

technologyAs a teacher, we are informed about behaviorism and cognitivism through workshops and our college courses. However, it has been quite a while since I was in school and school workshops do not usually include discussion on constructivism, connectivism or adult learning theory. During week four of this course, I began to learn about constructivism. Constructivist and social learning theorists highlights the interaction of persons and situations in the acquisition and refinement of skills and knowledge according to Dr. Ormrod, Online learning is perfect to demonstrate this learning theory (Ormrod,2009). Online learning depends on the social aspect of learning and encourages students to collaborate and interact with each other as much as possible through the different course aspects. Online learners not only post their responses to readings, and activities, but they respond to peers, give suggestions, ask questions, which is a unique and authentic learning experience. Constructivists emphasize a learning environment in which students are making sense of content and learning with understanding. Once again, online environments are good learning environments to demonstrate this type of learning through in-depth explorations and collaborative discussions of topics. This information has helped me understand the reasons behind why developing online learning environments for my students are a worthwhile endeavor. Although I had a basic understanding that I was going in the right direction, I did not understand the theory behind it. Understanding the learning theory is important to understand the reasons why activities are done and how they help learners learn. Since I was not an education major, this was escaping me. I can know implement strategies and activities that are more prescriptive and make sense to my students as well as myself.
Although many teachers are still shying away from technology in the classroom, technology is an important networking and learning tool. Students are more collaborative, participate more and can gain a greater understanding of content through the collaborative nature of the tool. I have learned much about how to use technology in the classroom and learn more every day. Technology plays a big role in my learning and has for a very long time. Although, I was unaware of how much I actually do use technology to learn and teach. As I stated in my discussion this week, this type of learning lends itself to the connectivist point of view. Connectivism theory stresses that learning occurs through connections within networks. This learning theory uses the concept of a network and connections to define learning. According to Dr. Ormrod, learners recognize and interpret patterns and are influenced by the diversity of networks, strength of ties and their context. According to the connectivism theory, transfer occurs by connecting to and adding nodes and growing personal networks.

Learning Connections

My network has drastically changed the way I learn.  As a young child and young adult, I learned by reading textbooks, looking at encyclopedias and dictionaries. I still remember carrying a Roget’s Thesaurus everywhere I went. AS an ESOL student, I made sure that I had a Spanish English dictionary with me as well. The year I graduated from High School, they bought computers for every classroom but were not going to use them until the following year. I begged my math teacher to allow me to use the computer. At first, she objected because she could not help me, since she had never touched a computer in her life. However, she made a deal with me. She told me to finish all of my math work and as long as it was correct, she would allow me to play with the computer for whatever class time we had left. I was inspired and would correctly complete all of my math work in half of the time expected. I quickly learned to program the computer and was soon showing my teacher how to use it. I have been hooked ever since. Although I have never really had any formal computer education, I usually use technology in my everyday life including learning.

Learning Connections

Learning Connections: This is a mind map using Mindomo

I learn from my students, teachers, colleagues, classmates and family daily. However, if I need to locate information, I can obtain that from online encyclopedia, libraries, articles, etc. that can be obtained from all over the world and from many sources. Today, I rarely use a pencil or pen. Instead, I type all my notes on OneNote, search the internet for information, use online site for any type of learning I need to do, weather that is a YouTube Video on how to fix the toilet, connectivtism, or curriculum videos used within my classes. The combination of the learning connections in the picture of the mind map are the typical digital tools I use to help me learn continuously.

“Connectivism is a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual. Connectivism proposes a perspective similar to Vygotsky’s Activity theory in that it regards knowledge as existing within systems which are accessed through people participating in activities.” My personal network of learning does support this theory, since my network is mainly made of connected networks, either human or machine.

Our Brains & Learning: The Information Processing Theory

How can teachers use the Information Processing Model to inform their teaching in the classroom. This article by Huitt, “The Information Processing Approach to Cognition” discusses the theory of information processing including how this model can be used in the classroom. The article gives you alternatives to this model and gives you a good overview of the model itself. It continues to discuss the different types of learning as well as Sensory memory, Short-term and long-term memory. The article explains concept formation and concludes with examples of how the theory can be used in the classroom in an easy to read table.

The Brain connection is a web site by postit science. This site has brain exercise activities, games and a host of brain related articles that covers the anatomy of the brain and how we learn to how the brain manages hearing, movement, vision and much more. This is a very interactive site and you can get lost in it for hours learning various aspects of brain function. The Library includes categories such as general, education, and clinical topics as well as brain basics. There is a wealth of information on this site regarding the brain ans how we learn.


Huitt, W. (2003). The information processing approach to cognition. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date] from,

ID Blogs Galore

Although I found an abundant amount of blogs on the subject of Instructional Design, there were few at the moment that I would consider exceptional. Some provide beginner information, others provide more advanced topics, and however, none of them appeared to give me exactly what I was searching for. Real world examples of how ID’s work, where they work, or how they do their jobs. Most of the blogs give overviews of  ID’s and some skills that may be necessary. I have yet to find a blog that really discusses the technological aspects of being an ID and what the requirements are. However, of the many blogs I looked at, the following are the three blogs I found to be the most useful. I have also included links to other blogs that included useful information.

Experiencing E-Learning:

Experiencing E-learning is a blog that is dedicated to E-Learning and blended learning. It was created by Christy Tucker who is an Instructional Designer and a former K-12 teacher. Ms. Tucker writes about many different issues that impact the instructional designer, including learning theory.

This is an interesting site for someone who comes from the same K-12 teaching background. She discusses her blogging experiences over a six year period. She states that blogging has helped her learn and reflect about being an instructional designer and helped her build her confidence to open her own consulting company. Through this blog, she has built a network of professional ID individuals which has helped her become a stronger instructional designer. I recommend this site for the wide variety of issues she covers and her honesty in dealing with the issues. In addition, it demonstrates the importance of blogging and networking for a new instructional designer.

Instructional Design & Development Blog:

This blog is maintained by the faculty at DePaul University. “The site’s primary goal is to provide information on enhancing instruction through the use of technology”. One of the things that attracted me to this site was that it is free advice from educational professionals in the field and who are also teaching the skills of instructional Design. A wide variety of topics are available and it includes discussions about other countries as well. This blog will keep you up-to-date on emerging issues in the field. This is also one of the few sites I found that actually have archived discussions of technological issues.

E-Learning: Knowledge Platform:

This site takes the form of an on-line magazine which is maintained by Knowledge Platform and instructional design and E-Learning Company. It posts articles about E-learning and trends around the world. The article on “The Neurology of Gaming” was very interesting and spoke about the positive and negative effects of video games. This is a useful site to look at different views and issues regarding E-Learning and instructional design.



Some other useful Sites:

Learn and Lead

Reflections on Instructional Design

Clive on Learning

Creativity and Instructional Design

Langevin Blog

Merlot Learning Materials

One-Stop Resource for Instructional Designing