Learning to Learn about Change

At the start of our class, we were asked to assess our learning style and select a learning theory that most closely resembles how we learn.  I concluded that my personal style was a mix of behavioral and cognitive learning.  When I learned a concept for the first time, I preferred to use a more behavioristic approach.  Since I would study by taking quizzes and attempting to get the correct answer, I was focused more on getting the correct feedback response as opposed to actually learning the material (Ertmer, & Newby, 1993).  However, when building upon previous knowledge, I leant more towards a cognitive way of learning.  In this phase of erudition, new information builds onto information I already know.  Here,  I am looking for feedback about my results, instead of just looking for the reward of getting the right answer (Hartley, 1998).

Now that class has progressed and we have learned more about learning styles, I find I must amend my previous statement.  I would say now that I am still a behavioral and cognitive learner, but I am also an adult learner.  I came to this realization when I considered the following: I am more motivated to learn material that is directly relevant to a future job, and the more hands-on exposure I have had to the content, the easier I learn (Speck, 1996) since I hold the information from experience in long term memory.  I also wish to learn at my own pace, and have full control over the way I learn the content.

I understand more about the social cognitive learning theory and my Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).  ZPD, originally defined by Lev Vygotsky,  is basically the zone within which I can accomplish a task. If I go beyond that zone, I will be unable to complete the assignment (Ormrod, 2010). 

The new information presented in class over the weeks has been instrumental in helping me extend my ZPD.  For example, I now know about connectivism – where one can absorb information from a network of sources both electronic and human (Siemens, 2010).  Through connectivism, the knowledge of the masses is laid out for me, already categorized. 

Of course, to support learning I must be able to find reliable sources.  Since I am a stay at home parent, it is not always convenient or possible to leave home to find a library to conduct some research.  Here, I am rescued by technology.  Using google search, or the Walden Library services, I can conduct my research at home.  Additionally, I can keep track of my grade, my past assignments and communications to other students through the university online portal.  Having read the Horizon Report, I am looking forward to trying the emergent technologies listed such as geoeverything and semantic computing. 

References

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design pers Theory of Social Cognitive Development pective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50–71.

Hartley, J. (1998) Learning and Studying. A research perspective, London: Routledge.

Johnson, L., Levine, A., & Smith, R. (2009). The Horizon Report (2009 ed.). Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/

Ormrod, J. (2010) “Theory of Social Cognitive Development” Retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/53036/CRS-CW-4603373/Transcripts/EDUC6115_04_Transcript.doc

Speck, M. (1996, Spring). Best practice in professional development for sustained educational change. ERS Spectrum, 33-41.

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