Posts Tagged With: learning theories

Instructional design, learning theories, and instruction…oh my!

Thinking - Please wait

(M., 2008)

This week we were required to read three articles. An article provided by our professor, one of our own choosing and one that a peer chose. All of the articles pertained to instructional design, a learning theory, and instruction, whether it was online or blended.

What resonated the most for me from the Savery and Duffy (2001) article, which focused on problem based learning and constructivism, were the concepts of how learning is socially constructed and how important it is that students take ownership of their learning. In their article, they discuss how facts are not facts because of some universal truth but are facts because there is overwhelming agreement about that information (Savery & Duffy, 2001). Until I read this explicitly stated in black and white, I had not fully considered, or understood, how social constructivism truly functions as well as the weight that shared knowledge holds. Knowledge and understanding is based on a give and take and it does require more than one person for this to occur. I see it and experience it daily in my job. In addition, they stress the importance of giving the student ownership of the problem, the solutions, and the entire learning process (Savery & Duffy, 2001). I really like this concept but I think that I need to learn more about the delivery and implementation of it. How do you design learning so that this is possible and that it occurs?

The article by Artemchik (2016) was right up my alley. It focused on a librarian who developed online information literacy tutorials to use in a business course. As I am a business librarian who is interested in learning more about creating online tutorials, I was ecstatic to happen upon this gem. While this article did not explicitly state any theories, it most closely aligned with ADDIE for instructional design and cognitive constructivism for the learning theory. Her tutorials allowed the students to be self-directed learners but still required them to be active participants to construct their knowledge. What stood out the most for me with this article were the authors best practices, i.e., her lessons learned. Artemchik (2016) recommends working closely with the course faculty member to ensure that the tutorials are relevant and relate to course content, that the tutorials are embedded at a point of need for the students so they will use them, that the tutorials contain learning outcomes that are targeted to students so that they can relate to them and will clearly understand the purpose of the activity, and ensure that the tutorials are easy to navigate and use. I would like to learn more about writing learning outcomes that students can easily relate to and internalize.

The article by Loftus, Stavraky & Urquhart (2014) focused on designing multimedia instruction for a nursing course. The authors relied on Merrill’s five principles of instruction and Mayer’s principles for multimedia instruction (Loftus et al., 2014). In this article I was happy that they shared both Merrill’s and Mayer’ principles. I especially like Merrill’s (2002) principles which state that learning should be problem-centered, activate prior knowledge, use demonstration, allow application, and promote reflection and exploration. I plan on reviewing this article throughout this semester as the information will be helpful and relevant for my course design. The main takeaways I have from this article are that multimedia learning needs to incorporate multiple modalities, such as text, images and sound, and that the design of the instruction should help not hinder the learner. For this to occur, extraneous information should be excluded, outlines and headings should be used, placement of images and text should be considered, information should be presented in multiple formats, and the delivery of the content should not overwhelm the student, i.e. cognitive load theory (Mayer, 2014). I have read about this information before in previous classes; however, reading about it again with a different mindset of applying this knowledge brings about new insights and reflections for me about how to design instruction to incorporate these concepts.

All of the articles will impact my design. For my course, I want to create an online information literacy course that focuses on business library resources. To deliver the information, I want to create a series of online tutorials. I want the course and its content to be engaging, interactive, hands-on, easy to navigate and that teaches the students concepts that they will be able to use throughout their entire undergraduate career. It all sounds a bit overwhelming to me at this point, but I know that all I need to do is complete each assignment to the best of my ability. I am excited to embark on this journey.

References

Artemchik, T. (2016). Using the instructional design process in tutorial development. Reference Services Review, 44, 309-323. doi:10.1108/RSR-12-2015-0050

Loftus, J., Stavraky, T., & Urquhart, B. L. (2014). Design it yourself (DIY): In-house instructional design for online pharmacology. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 19, 645-659. doi:10.1007/s10459-013-9492-2

M., W. (2008). Thinking [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wadem/2808468566/

Mayer, R. (2014, July 8). Principles for multimedia learning with Richard E. Mayer. Retrieved from http://hilt.harvard.edu/blog/principles-multimedia-learning-richard-e-mayer

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50, 43-59.

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (2001). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework. (Center for Research on Learning and Technology Technical Report 16-01). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.

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Categories: LTEC 5510 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Designing instruction

Prompt: What does it mean to design instruction? What skills do you think you need to have in order to do it professionally?

According to Fink, when designing instruction an instructor should do the following:

1. Identify important situational factors and then use this information to make three sets of decisions;

  • What do I want students to learn? (Learning Goals)
  • How will students and the teacher know if we are accomplishing these goals? (Feedback and Assessment)
  • What will the teacher and students do to achieve the learning goals? (Teaching/Learning Activities)

2. Make sure that the key components are integrated. (2015, “A Model,” para. 1)

According to Piskurich (2006), designing instruction involves “a system . . . that helps you ask the right questions, make the right decisions, and produce a product that is as useful and useable as your situation requires and allows” (p. 1).  My takeaway from those two quotes is that designing instruction should always include analysis. In fact, before any type of instruction (and by this I mean a deliverable tool) is designed/developed, analysis should be the very first step that is taken.

What exactly do I mean when I say analysis? Well, I am talking about all types of analysis – learner, task, delivery, and assessment (Piskurich, 2006). The instructor needs to determine who the learners are, what their learning needs are, how they like to learn, in what type of situation/environment will the learning happen, what form will the lesson/training take, and how will the learning, or lack thereof, be determined. The answers to those types of questions and more will determine the instruction. If the instructional designer does not know her audience, her client, or the actual learning needs, the instruction is doomed to fail before anything is actually designed/developed (Piskurich, 2006).

In order to design instruction effectively, I think that a sound understanding of learning theories (Clark, 1994; Leidner & Jarvenpaa,1995) as well as knowledge of the ADDIE framework are necessary (Piskurich, 2006). I also think that knowledge of existing technologies as well as a willingness to investigate new technologies is helpful. I am not saying that technology should be used just to say it was; however, if a thorough investigation and analysis of learner needs shows that using technology would benefit the situation, then the ID should be familiar with the tools.

From a personal perspective, I think that patience is definitely a necessary skill. Designing instruction requires patience to deal with the various difficulties that arise during all phases of the design process. It also requires patience to manage and work with other people. Finally, time management is a needed skill. Although designing instruction is not done in isolation, there are times that the ID is the sole person in charge of the project. When that happens, it requires the ability not only to manage your time but also to manage yourself.

I hope that as I continue learning about instructional design that both my knowledge and my skills will keep expanding. I want to learn as much as I can and look forward to being able to continue my journey. If there is one thing that I have learned up to this point in my life, it is that learning never ends.

References

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development42(3), 7-10.

Fink, L. D. (2015). Designing instruction for significant learning. National Education Association. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/34960.htm

Leidner, D. E., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1995). The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view. MIS Quarterly, 19, 265-291.

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Categories: CECS 5210 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

My personal theory of learning

Prompt: How do you think learning takes place? What is the best way for someone to teach? Who makes the best teacher? Which learning theory that you read about would you say best fits your current world view? Why?

As I cannot locate a previous personal theory of learning from my CECS 5030 class, I am constructing one now for my CECS 5210 class. It will also use bits and pieces of my thoughts from my CECS 5110 class that I took in fall 2014. I took CECS 5030 when I first began the learning technologies program in spring of 2014. If I had constructed a personal theory of learning in that course, I like to think that my original thoughts would maintain the same overall foundation but that my ideas would have expanded as I have expanded my knowledge after being exposed to additional classes in this program.

I think that learning takes place anywhere and everywhere. I really like John Dewey’s quote, “education is not preparation for life; it is life itself” (Dewey as cited in Duffy & Cunningham, 1996, p. 4). To me, it, in a nutshell, explains how I think about learning. Learning occurs in both formal and informal situations and can be a combination of both (Hill, Wiley, Nelson, & Han, 2004). Learning also takes place among individuals, within groups, or some combination of the two.

As an example, I am taking structured classes in the learning technologies program, i.e., formal learning. Within my classes, I am responsible for reading the required texts and submitting the assignments, i.e., individual learning; however, each week part of my assignments consist of posted discussions. When I interact with my fellow students, I participate in group learning. Our group discussions are not only formal learning as we all have the same prompt to consider but also include informal learning as many of the discussion posts provide related links to external content or reference additional materials that I can use to further my learning outside of the “classroom” setting.

I do not believe there is a “best” way to teach. In fact, according to Leidner and Jarvenpaa (1995), “No particular model is the best approach;  indeed, different learning approaches will be appropriate depending on the circumstances – course content, student experience, maturity, intelligence, and instructor goals, skills, and preferences, among others” (p. 271). A great teacher is one that takes the time to learn about their learners. Someone who instead of assuming they already know everything there is to know about the subject(s) at hand is open to the possibility of learning from their students. Great teachers let students discover knowledge on their own, which also includes the possibility of mistakes being made. Many great discoveries have occurred due to mistakes (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995), e.g., penicillin.

As a teacher, I want to encourage my learners to use educational technologies; however, it must always have a purpose. Technology needs to be directly aligned with the chosen learning goals and objectives. Those learning goals and objectives must have as their foundation a learning theory. “We too often act as if we believe that each new delivery technology requires a new theory of learning and performance. Thus we ‘reinvent the wheel’ constantly but inadequately” (Clark, 1994, p. 8). We should not pick the media first and make the learning theory fit our choice of media. We must first choose a sound learning theory based upon existing research (Clark, 1994) that exemplifies the preferred learning approach. Only then, can we decide upon the educational technologies to assist in the learning process. Learning should always be the focus and educational technology a tool that enhances and influences both the learner and the learning process (Kozma, 1991).

Although, I disagree with one “best” method, I do believe that learning should be an active process in which learners take responsibility for their own learning and use technology to create content that enhances the learning process (Duffy & Cunningham, 1996; Ertmer & Newby, 1993; Hill, Wiley, Nelson, & Han, 2004; Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). I want to provide my learners with choices. Choices in what they learn; choices in how they learn; and choices in how they accomplish that learning, including which educational technologies they choose to assist them on their journey.

In that sense, constructivism is the learning theory that most aligns with my preferences as it is based upon a learner-centered approach that employs active learning situations where the instructor becomes more of a facilitator than the disseminator of knowledge (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). That being said, I think that each of the learning theories has a place in the classroom or whatever type of learning situation. Learning should not be restricted to one method alone as that indicates the instructor/facilitator is not taking into account the learner’s needs, preferences or styles, which is the antithesis of a learning theory.

References

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development42(3), 7-10.

Duffy, T., & Cunningham D. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of
instruction. In D. H. Jonassen, (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 170-198). New York: Simon and Schuster.

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-71. doi:10.1111/j.19378327.1993.tb00605.x

Hill, J. R., Wiley, D., Nelson, L. M., & Han, S. (2004). Exploring research on internet-based learning: From infrastructure to interactions. In. D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 949-978). Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61, 179-211.

Leidner, D. E., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1995). The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view. MIS Quarterly, 19, 265-291.

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