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.