Learning Theories and Instruction Reflection

      When I first started this course I felt that I had a strong knowledge of how people learned. What I have come to find out and found surprising is that the theories I knew have evolved and updated. I also have learned about new theories that have helped explained my personal learning process. These new theories and styles are only half of what I have learned because as an instructional designer I need to be able to mix technology with these theories to keep the learners engaged and using the best tools to maximize learning. What I have learned in this course will help me make stronger trainings by including different learning theories to allow diverse populations of students succeed.  By including multiple theories into my trainings and courses I develop, I will be able to maximize the learning for a diverse population of students.

            One of the most surprising moments for me in this course was learning about connectivism. What I found surprising is that connectivism is a very modern theory. Davis, C., et al. (2008) explained connectivism by posing this question

“the traditional learning paradigms of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism have been the benchmarks against which the learning process has been measured. What happens, though, when you throw into the mix all the technological advancements that have come about over the last 40-50 years?”

Connectivism believes people learn by creating a network of people and information to help understand a topic. They create this network through a mix of social interaction and technology. What I found surprising was that a learning theory to into account the use of social media and the internet as factors of how someone learns. It is a very modern theory and I found this to be an interesting and pleasing surprise.

            When I began this course I believed that behaviorism was a major role in my personal learning. I still feel that is correct but I feel that it is not the only theory that affects my learning. I feel that my learning is like a multi-layered cake. The first layer is behaviorism; this allows me to make generalizations about the new information. The next is layer constructivism which as stated by Ertmer & Newby (1993) “Understanding is developed through continued, situational use.” As I use and explore the new information I begin to understand it more and more. Finally the social learning theory allows me to discuss my information with others. These discussions strengthen my understanding of the information as well as correct any errors I have. Kim (2001) explained “Knowledge is derived from interactions between people and their environments”.

            As students and others use and take my courses that I design I need to remember that different learning theories and styles that I use work better with different technologies. For example behaviorism in an online environment works better if there is synchronous online communication to help shape the student through stimulus and response. Also motivating students is very important to learning but, can be harder for education in an online environment. Keller, J. M. (1999) states that “it is a greater challenge to make self-directed learning environments responsive to the motivational requirements of learners.” One way I have found to be interesting in motivating students is gamification. Gamification as explained by Farber, M (2013) is “interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action”. Using gamification in my trainings and courses I develop will help keep students motivation high and their learning at a maximum.  

            What I have learned in this course has created a strong foundation for me to call upon as I further myself in the Instructional Design field. I will take what I have learned and be able to apply it to new information and theories that I learn later to help strengthen my own understanding of the new information. Also the techniques and tools I have acquired from this course will allow me to make better trainings that will be interactive and motivational for the trainee.

            By including multiple theories into my trainings and courses I develop, I will be able to maximize the learning for a diverse population of students. These trainings will be motivating for students and will use the correct educational technology with the correct learning theories. I will use my own experiences to help create a stronger course and the use of multiple learning theories will allow me to create trainings that a diverse population of students can learn from. EDUC-6115 has given me a foundation of knowledge and experience to base my future education and creations upon.




Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

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.

Farber, M. (2013, May 02). Gamifying Student Engagement. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/gamifying-student-engagement-matthew-farber

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).

Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Social_Constructivism


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