As an adult learner who decided to pursue a degree in a self-directed online environment still can expect support from her family, friends, and the university itself. To gain knowledge for self-learning as well as being guided to finding information has been the experience that I have received at Walden University. In not giving up on me, I am learning to continue to strive for success and ultimately reaching my goal of graduating and providing to a global community. I initially thought that a curriculum had to accommodate to student’s learning styles but the idea is to take the content and consider how the content will be meaningful to the student based on the technology you have access to and having an open mind to learning theories and styles in order to reach a particular outcome.
I realized that my personal learning process has been consistent but as I went from being an elementary school learner to a graduate adult learner that my learning has been flexible itself in order to accommodate the external and internal changes going on around me. Your perspective can change and in doing so, you may have to adjust the way you learn to grow in knowledge or learn how to incorporate learning through other means such as technology. Personal experiences (anxiety, motivation, culture) can also help keep an open mind to struggles that learners may have in their learning environment. Being a part of my children’s education as virtual learners, I can take what I have learned to understand what works and does not work for them in an online environment. I can understand what their virtual school is doing to connect to my children’s learning and in keeping their attention as well as meeting their academic needs as advanced learners.
Learning about the different learning theories in an organized way helped to identify the different and, yet, similar characteristics of each of them. It is important to understand that sometimes instruction requires the application of instructional design based on more than one theory thus keeping in mind that learners process information differently, have their own ways of connecting to content, and should have opportunities to utilize their skills to find solutions. Technology has definitely made its mark in education and it will only continue to evolve and require designers to keep up-to-date with trends and developments in the way learning occurs. Motivation is key especially in an online class setting. What makes someone want to keep going to their computer to complete their assignments and feel that by doing so, they are relating to the content and how they apply the content while still being encouraged and being a part of a social community?
This course, Learning Theories Instruction, has opened my eyes to the different connections of learning theories both old and new. It has been interesting to see how they have developed especially in regards to the development of technology throughout time. It is constantly in change and thus the way people learn are also changing. I had not considered myself a big fan of social networking. My sister had to pull my arm to become a part of MySpace and Facebook when they were being introduced. At first, it was entertaining but cumbersome, but it has now become a part of daily life. What I found out is how you utilize such tools to your advantage and that is what this course has introduced me to. I had not been involved with creating a blog, but had the opportunity to experience that and am enjoying it and how I can utilize it as a resource and to connect with others in the fields of instructional technology and education. I realized that being an instructional designer encompasses having certain traits as well such as knowing that if you work behind the scenes (which suits me) you still need to have the skill set in being able to communicate and work well with others. I enjoying learning new ideas and concepts and that plays a major role as an ID especially in a field where you have to be informed of new technologies and strategies. Additionally, as an ID, you naturally want to help people learn, which I find extremely important. I find any form of educating oneself whether to earn a degree, learn a skill, improve a department, or just to learn a new hobby truly essential (Tucker, 2007).
I realized at an early age that education was important not only to get a “good” job but to combat ignorance. In experiencing prejudices by others, I wanted to prove to myself that as a Hispanic female, I could succeed in anything I wanted. Having children just reinforces that for me because they are Hispanic as well. My husband and I feel that every child has the opportunity to succeed and we cannot let external factors hinder them from reaching their goals. We want to expose them to resources through education and technology to gain knowledge but in teaching them the significance in learning and to enjoy it through motivation. Keeping that mindset as an ID, I would want learners to be successful and I want to be encouraging through what I design as part of their learning. Lastly, there is plethora of resources to choose from but as an ID we have to be able to use our skill sets to be able to apply what we learn to help others. As a humanities major, I was amazed at all the developments, creativity, and social changes in different cultures throughout history. I find it fascinating that it has always been about learning.
Tucker, Christy (2007, June 20). Is instructional design the right career? [Blog message]. Retrieved from http://christytucker.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/is-instructional-design-the-right-career/.