Week 5 – My personal learning theory revisited

Write a reflection on the feedback you received from peers and instructor. What do you agree with? Why? What do you disagree with? Why? How has this experience changed or not changed your perspective on your theory?

In reviewing my learning theory and listening to the rest of the theories, it is quite interesting how one develops their own theory.  I am not convinced that one’s theory changes and cannot be fully written in stone.  As I read articles and reviewed key research about my own personal theory to develop my theory, one thing that stuck with me are two terms: inquiry and constructivism.

One piece of my own learning theory is based on Kolb’s experiential learning:

learning_cycle_2This also supports the level of inquiry that I think is a basis of my theory.  I want to allow for learners to develop on their own using their own experiences.  I feel pretty strongly that one creates their own level of knowledge based experiences.  I can facilitate (another piece of my theory) the level of discussion or the direction, but only when I have an interest in something will I truly embrace it.  I think this is the same for teachers or students.  As we continue to explore ways to allow for more online learning, I see this as a barrier to understanding.  Are there ways to help?  Sure… Videos?  Dialoguing with experts?   Reflections based on experiences?

There is one constant which has remained even though I have changed a few pieces… As I noted, my theory seems to revolve around the idea of ownership of learning through a level of inquiry.  The web is not a new thing, but it seems that either we have not done a good job of creating users who understand how to use simple techniques or programs continue to change, grown adapt as such a fast pace that one has to evolve at that same pace (I tend to lean towards the changing pace).  I do think there is a naivety to users and the who digital footprint idea.  How does this parallel my theory… with facilitator theory the goal is to be a guide on the side and the feeling of being comfortable with new ideas.  As it relates to online learning:  accepting feedback or taking responsibility for the learning.  It is not up to the instructor to “spoon feed” the content.  A learner takes an online course for a number of reasons, one being convenience.  From an instructor perspective, this doesn’t mean providing every piece of learning, but providing enough information that will guide the learner.  Another theory, social learning theory… which I have since changed – social cognitive theory, in which one thing that I found interesting – people learn through observations of others.  I know that we take for granted the opportunities to view and observe others in a face to face situation, but how does that happen in online learning?  I think that as an instructor, there is an importance at developing a level of community which allows for some sort of interaction — virtual is tricky.  The types of interactions should be carefully selected so they don’t become “busy work” and offering value.  Finally, the experiential learning theory – instructors must take a personal stake in the learners, as the “why” questions and not what.  Providing opportunities for reflective discourse vs. just spitting back of the information is important and necessary.

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