Learning Theories Course Final Thoughts

As I reflect on this course (Walden University EDUC 6115) and some of the key learnings, I find myself appreciating on a different level the understanding of learning theories. Generally speaking, I don’t find enjoyment in the deep study and use of industry-specific terminologies. However, as it relates to education, I am more fully appreciating the study of learning theories. Where it has helped me most is to be more conscious of the design of the learning process.

In terms of better understanding my personal learning processes, this course has certainly helped shed light on how complex our individual learning styles are and how much they impact our learning processes. As I seek to design quality learning environments, it is important to take into account the variety of learning styles. However, I have come to believe (partly through the experience of this course) that it is more important to focus on the processes used in learning as opposed to catering to learning styles. While they may seem like one in the same initially, they certainly are not. As I approach my own learning from a constructivism point of view, it would be easy to then focus much of a course around group work and social learning experiences. However, if the process of designing a course includes group work among other things as required components, I wouldn’t need to necessarily ask myself how to accommodate group learners as that question is no longer necessary. To further summarize that point, in my future of instructional design, approaching the design of the learning environment through the eyes of processes and experiences will best guide the design process.

This course has helped connect the foundation of learning theories and our personal learning styles. In short, learning theories help address learning styles and seek to make sense of them. In turn, addressing the root level of motivation further helps develop strategic plans for facilitating learning. Technology certainly has the ability to play a central role in facilitating learning, whether in a physical classroom or in a web-based environment. However, technology certainly has some intrinsic limitations in addressing the development of motivation in learners. While it may very well accommodate adult learners with high degrees of intrinsic motivation, it may not provide the best opportunities to further build intrinsic motivation in learners that lack it. However, through strategic consideration and planning, I do believe that motivation can be developed through a digital platform, it just takes more intention by varied student experiences, provocative introductions, relevant learning activities and project based learning.

As I continue my education career and look to incorporate instructional design, I do believe this course has helped form building blocks for structuring learning platforms. In particular, the closing topic of what role motivation plays and how it can be developed is paramount and should be continually considered and evaluated. It is an excellent starting point as courses are designed, and will certainly help frame my approach in the future.

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