Saturday, 24 October 2015

Final Reflections

There are a multitude of factors that contribute to our ability to acquire knowledge and skills.  Learning can be examined from a biological, philosophical and learning theory perspective.  In addition, there are learning styles, multiple intelligences, affect, and motivational considerations that can be applied to children (pedagogy), adult learners (andragogy), and more recently, online learners.  Technology continues to play an increasing role in education and will require us to continue learning by following the research and developments in educational technology.

As I furthered my knowledge about how people learn, it made me realize that people are not just diverse physically and culturally, but also in the way they learn.   By examining and comparing the various learning theories throughout this course, I have gained an awareness, understanding and appreciation of why the theories were developed and in which contexts they appear to be more relevant.  I also identified the learning theory that best describes my own personal learning process.  As an instructional designer, I must always be cognizant of my own learning preferences and processes so that they do not overly influence my work.  It is vital to recognize and appropriately design instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

I have worked in higher education throughout my career yet I am able to see how learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation equally applies to K-12 educators and instructional designers.   Adult learners have different challenges than children, such as balancing work, school and family life. (Cercone, 2008) They also bring life experience and prior learning to the classroom and tend to be self-directed and motivated.  As an adult learner, I am primarily intrinsically motivated and enjoy the autonomy of the online learning environment.  

Our learning path in this course was well-constructed and demonstrated the effectiveness of scaffolding.  Once the foundation of learning theories was established, we were able to build upon this foundation by examining adult learners, online learners, using technology effectively and the role of motivation.  Using the ARCS model as well as constructing the Learning Theory Matrix provided me with an excellent opportunity to consolidate many of the topics studied in the course.  The Learning Theory Matrix allowed me to compare and contrast the various learning theories and I was able to apply the ARCS model in a problem-solving context to address the issue of motivation in an online course.

As an instructional designer, recognizing and understanding the many factors that impact learning is essential if I am to effectively meet the needs of a wide variety of learners.   Even with well-designed instruction, students will be more successful if they are motivated to learn.  In an online learning environment, it may be even more challenging to motivate students.

I now can appreciate how complex learning is and why there are so many different articles, journals, publications and resources available to instructional designers and educators.  I look forward to my next course in Instruction Design where I hope to further apply my knowledge of learning theories and instruction.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Fitting the Pieces Together

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

My view on how I learn has not changed significantly. Cognitivism and constructivism best describe how I learn at this point in my life. What has changed is my understanding of the many learning theories and how they were developed in response to deficiencies in existing learning theories.  I now have a better understanding of learning styles, learning strategies, and learning theories and how each helps to explain how I learn.

What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

My week one posting included a reference to connectivism that I "discovered" accidentally during my research and I am glad we had an opportunity to examine it.  Connectivism resonates with me because I have witnessed firsthand the significant changes in the volume and nature of information available to us as a result of technology and the Internet.   The mind-mapping application clearly demonstrated my reliance on technology for my personal learning network and the many of the resources I use while I learn.   I recognize that when I label myself as a "visual learner", I am using visualizations to construct and connect new material.  As an adult learner, I have greater motivation and am self-directed and independent and this allows me to be a more successful online student.

What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

Looking back, my early learning years now seem very one-dimensional with respect to learning materials (books, pencil, paper), learning environment (classroom) and the time when my learning occurred (Monday to Friday between 9 and 3).  Today, information is available and communicated in multiple formats (appealing to a variety of learning styles) and is accessible at home, at work, at school, on the bus or train --  24 hours a day and seven days a week.

"Google" was added to both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2006.   Google is derived from the word googol which means 10100 (an incredibly large number).   We continue to be exposed to an incredibly large amount of new information, innovations, and applications as a result of technology.     Using technology to search for information saves me significant time as I do not have to personally visit libraries in order to conduct my research.  Technology has enabled me to learn and share with my classmates who are thousands of miles away.  Video brings words to life as I watch and listen rather than just read words on a page (but I still have the option of reading words on a page).  The work I produce is more visually appealing (by using colours and images) and I can easily share it with others.  We seem to be using technology more than ever to help us learn and it provides convenience, variety and currency to my learning.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Learning Connections

I created this mind map using a Google app from

Mapping my learning connections has greatly reinforced and demonstrated the relevance of Connectivism learning theory.  I am constantly drawing on a wide variety of resources in all aspects of my life and more and more of these resources are digital.  My work, education and personal interests intersect through the use of many of the technologies shown on the above mind map.   

Technology has allowed us to develop extensive learning networks that can be accessed by the click of a mouse.  Much of the information I consume does not differ in content but rather in how I access it (online versus paper-based).  I no longer have to personally visit the library or wait until I am at work to view a file that I was working on last week or ask someone a question.

Technology has enabled me to store/bookmark/download/subscribe and otherwise access a vast knowledge base.   Tools also allow me to decide how to organize these resources so that I can subsequently find the information I need. 

Tools that best facilitate learning for me allow me to structure digital resources in a way that mimics how I store and access information in my long-term memory.  What is intuitive for one person may not be intuitive for me so I prefer tools and resources that mirror my own internal processes.

I gain new knowledge when I have questions by defining what is needed to bridge the gap between what I know and what I need to know.   This is a systems approach and when I have a clearer understanding of my requirements, it is easier to find a solution as well as the approach to use -- should I talk to someone, can I look the information up in my existing knowledge network, do I need to access specific resources or must I begin with a more general search.

I have had a "personal learning network" for many, many years (as many people do) but now it can be greatly enhanced through online interactions with people you don't necessarily know but who have similar interests and share their ideas, questions and resources.


Burt, R. (2014).  What is a Personal Learning Network.  Retrieved from

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Brain and Learning

For my week 2 blog assignment, I have identified and evaluated the following resources that address this week's topics:  the brain and learning, information processing theory, and problem-solving methods during the learning process.

Research in Brain Function and Learning
The importance of matching instruction to a child's maturity level

The author, Dr. Margaret Semrud-Clikeman, begins by reminding the reader of the different rates at which our bodies grow physically and we develop emotionally so why would our brains would be any different?

What I found of particular interest were the facts and myths about brain development and learning. We viewed a video in the first week of this course suggesting that learning styles do not exist so what other misconceptions are out there?

The site also includes a number of do's and don'ts which are supported by evidence.

Instructional Design Models and Theories: 
Information Processing Theory

This website was referenced by several members of the class as a valuable resource for instructional designers.  Upon further digging, I found a nice connection between information processing theory and instructional design.

Applications of information processing theory on instructional design and learning include:

  • Focusing skills
  • Information gathering skills 
  • Remembering skills 
  • Organizing skills 

Additional learning theories:

How Einstein's Brain Is Different Than Yours

Presenting new information in multiple formats enhance one's ability to learn and utilizes multiple memory systems, such as semantic, verbal and visual (iconic).  For this reason, I've included this link to a video (3:08) by Discovery News that suggests Einstein's genius may be attributed to the size of his corpus callosum (bundle of nerve tissue) that enables communication between both hemispheres of the brain.   Engaging in tasks, such as playing a musical instrument or using  your non-dominant hand, that utilize regions in both hemispheres may strengthen these communication pathways.  Can we design learning activities that make demands on parts of the brain in both hemispheres to increase learning and enhance retention and recall?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Blogs for Instructional Designers

I've enjoyed visiting the blog sites recommended by my fellow learners in EDUC6115 and have consolidated them on this single listing:  

Blended Learning Toolkit

Edudemic  Connecting Education and Technology

e-Learning Heroes

Rachel Matz: Teaching Through Technology


Pea’s Teaching Blog

eLearning Learning

The Rapid e-Learning Blog

Off the Charts

Association for Talent Development

The eLearning Coach

E-Learning Heroes

The ELearning Coach


Nicole’s Instructional Design & ELearning Articles

Upside LMS

The eLearning Coach

eLearning Feeds

Updated:  September 10, 2015

Friday, 4 September 2015

Week 1 Doorway to Professional Learning Communities

Working in education with an emphasis on elearning, I have a bookmarked a number of websites that I have found quite useful.  As a requirement for our week 1 application, I would like to share these resources with a critique of each.

Blended Learning Toolkit

I first learned about the University of Central Florida's initiative at a conference. I like the simplicity in which the information is provided.  The site provides checklists with worksheets and resources that can be used to develop or re-develop curriculum for blended delivery format.  It also shares examples of courses taught in blended format.   If you read my discussion posting in week 1, you know I like to organize new information as part of my learning process and like to use context and examples to help me better construct new knowledge.

Edudemic - Connecting Education & Technology

You can subscribe through RSS to this site and it has a variety of useful guides, such as The Teacher's Guide to Twitter or Pinterest or YouTube.  With all the attention that social media garners, some faculty might think they need to use it as part of their teaching practise.   But only if it is the right tool for the job and you're not using something just for the sake of using it.

Technology has become easy to use and pervasive in all fields but it is only a tool.   Knowing how to use the tool does not mean the end product will be successful -- one must use the tools to implement what has been properly designed.    Technological tools won't fix poorly designed instruction.

e-Learning Heroes -

Articulate is a software company whose products can be used for developing instructional material. A number of my colleagues are using Articulate and Storyline to create engaging and interactive content to support classroom and online learning.  The site itself is clean, fresh and colourful -- visually appealing but not overwhelming (in my opinion).

The site includes a blog with Instructional Design resources and their approach to e-learning includes three core areas:   instructional design, visual design and performance consulting.

By studying instructional design, I expect to use products like Articulate to bring my instructional designs to life.  I plan to design and deliver engaging, interactive curriculum that successfully and effectively meets the learning outcomes.  Perhaps active content can foster active learning.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Welcome to Vida's EDUC6115 Blog!

Welcome!  I hope you will visit throughout the EDUC6115 course and enjoy the entries and links that I will be sharing.   Please  leave a comment whenever you visit -- even if it is just to say hello.  Of course,  I welcome all feedback and suggestions.

I did a bit of research to select an appropriate blogging tool and chose Google as my blogging platform.  Why?
  • I already have a gmail account so there was no need to create another username and password
  • Google has a knack for doing things well "focus on the user and all else will follow"
  • Don't be evil is their informal corporate motto