Learning Theories and Instruction: Reflection


          An understanding of how people learn is the foundation for designing effective instruction. Learning accounts for the acquisition of a variety of capabilities and skills, strategies for functioning in the world, and attitudes and values that guide one’s actions (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). Learning about brain research helped me to better understand my students. My school district does not willingly admit that teaching at a Title I school requires further insight about the students and families we serve. I am not always afforded the opportunity to dive into my scheduled day without having to help a student work through a bad situation they left at home. I used to spend lots of time reviewing rules and procedures that should be followed easily. According to Jensen (n.d.), stress related to poverty can lead to limited working memory that may appear as restlessness, lack of motivation or being easily distracted. I was very surprised to learn that my students really do learn differently and need different approaches to build working memory.

My understanding of my personal learning process has deepened since the start of the course. I stated that my learning style is visual because I learn best by viewing charts, maps, graphic organizers and models of what I am requested to replicate. Constructivism describes how I learn because I relate to knowledge better when I am able to experience it or make it relevant. According to Ertmer & Newby (2013), in order to understand the learning which has taken place within an individual, the actual experience must be examined. At this point, I believe that I don’t truly have a particular learning style. I learned that learning styles change when the need arises.
Some concepts are taught best through hands-on work, some are best taught through lectures, and some are best taught through group discussions (Glenn, 2009).

Learning theories provide instructional designers with verified instructional strategies and techniques for facilitating learning as well as a foundation for intelligent strategy selection (Ertmer & Newby, 2013).  Designers must have an adequate repertoire of strategies available and possess the knowledge of when and why to employ each (p.2). When it comes to learning styles, I was taught that teachers should plan lessons that were geared to students’ learning styles. After reading the information provided in this course, I learned that I should considered how my students learn, but my focus should be on what would be the best instructional method for the lesson (Glenn, 2009). Incorporating technology allows students to interact with information in order to acquire, synthesize, create, and share new knowledge (Robertson, Elliot, and Washington, 2010). It can be used for information seeking, information presentation, knowledge organization, and knowledge integration (p. 281).

Educators as well as instructional designers are always faced with the challenges of motivating students. Keller created four principles (attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction) that have become known as the ARCS model (Keller, 1999). Boosting the motivational level of online learners can be done by implementing Keller’s ARCS model. To grab the attention of online learners, lesson content should be high interest with an attractive screen layout. The content should be relevant to the needs of the learners. The course should be presented in a manner that builds learner confidence and objectives should be set low to high. The end result, satisfaction, would be achieved at the onset of mastery (Keller, 2008).

My learning in this course provided me with an understanding of how people learn through examining learning theories, my own learning process, how to motivate others, and the role technology plays in learning. As an instructional designer, the information will help me to design quality lessons along with implementing learning strategies as well as motivational strategies.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: ComparingCritical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71.

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497/

Keller, J. M. (2008). First principles of motivation to learn and e3-learning. Distance Education, 29(2), 175-185. Retrieved from http://www.anitacrawley.net/Resources/Articles/Keller%205%20principles.pdf

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

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction ( Laureatecustom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.




Fitting the Pieces Together

According to Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009), learning is a multifaceted process that individuals typically take for granted until they experience difficulty with a complex task. I never truly took time to think about the learning process when it applies to my style of learning. This course has been an eye opener for me. At the beginning of the course, I mentioned that my learning style aligned with what we deem as visual. I say this because, I learn best when I can see what I am expected to learn.

     I believe constructionism describes how I learn. Constructionists believe that knowledge is constructed and learning occurs when children create products or artifacts. I learn best through meaningful experiences, concrete props and visual aids, such as models and/ or time line (Orey, 2010). My view about learning styles has changed. I was taught that good teachers refer to learning styles as a means of instructing students. Now I understand that I learn through visual tools and not necessarily a preferred style. I also understand that I learn best when learning has been experienced in the actual use of tools in real-world situations.

     Technology plays a major role in my own learning preferences. I use technology to create study tools to help me organize information. The internet plays a key role in my learning. I use the internet to search for information that is needed to complete learning tasks. I also use Google Suite to share, record, and store information that I have learned. Technology affords me the opportunity to attend school without leaving my home. I have access to Blackboard which is a one stop for all of my course needs. Watching tutorials on YouTube is another way that technology helps me with learning. If I am not sure how something is done, I usually search YouTube to find what I need.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.

Standridge, M. (2010). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Learning Connections Reflection

My previous post included a mind map that listed my personal, professional and learning networks. This post will explain how my network learning connections facilitate learning.

My learning connections have changed the way in which I learn professionally. For example, I attend more professional development opportunities by viewing webcasts and completing courses through a learning management system. Many organizations are creating learning environments that do not require travel. The days of face-to-face professional development are decreasing. Face-to-face meetings are decreasing. At my job, we are leaning more towards viewing Google Slides and responding on a group Google Docs sheet when information is shared. Email is also used to share information within my entire organization.

My personal learning has transitioned to online courses instead of the traditional classroom setting. I am able to complete my courses via Blackboard. Group discussions are also completed in this environment and posted for feedback. I also use my iPad to sync all information and apps that can be shared with my MacBook and iPhone. When I am busy and not able to attend my local church’s assemblies, I can view the videos on Facebook.

My personal networks have changed the way I communicate and learn. I use text messaging to communicate mainly. I have the freedom to communicate regardless of my location. I often utilize YouTube to learn how to do crafts, cook and to watch tutorials for anything I’m endeavoring to do. When there is a need to learn new knowledge, I search the internet. I also search for information for technology ideas at Google Hangouts. Although my theory of learning aligns with constructivism, my personal learning networks support connectivism. Learning for me takes place through different networks as I rely heavily on a variety of digital products for learning. Creating a mind map really helped me to see how much I truly rely on nonhuman ways of learning. I hadn’t realized the extent to which I utilize different connections for learning as well as communicating with others.

Connectivism: My Networks

Connectivism is a theory of learning in a digital age that emphasizes the role of social and cultural context in how and where learning occurs. New digital opportunities have been birthed through this theory of learning. The mind map below, includes  my personal, professional and learning  networks.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning2(1), 3-10.





The Effectiveness of Brain-Based Learning

Brain-based learning is a perspective in teaching and learning that is based on the study of the brain, it’s functions, and technology. Brain-based learning uses what is known about the brain to create positive learning environments and learning activities.

Brain-based strategies have gained substantial attention from in the field of education. Research was conducted to confirm the positive effects of brain-based learning on student achievement. Three experimental groups were included in the study. The first group was taught using four brain-based learning techniques. The second group was taught using the same techniques as the first group along with tablets and PCs. The third group was taught using conventional teaching methods.

The study was based on two science units, “From the Cell to the Human Body” unit and “The Heat” unit. Brain-based learning techniques included hypothetical thinking, web analysis, application of symbol systems and analysis of point of view. The study lasted for three months and concluded with a science assessment that had 30 questions. The assessment measured knowledge, application and reasoning.

The results of the research revealed that there was an advantage held by the technological group compared to the control group. However, the greatest advantage was held by the first group that were taught using four brain-based learning techniques. The results also revealed that knowledge retention was also gained through the use of brain-based learning techniques. The four techniques taught in the research were high level cognitive techniques. Students were able to practice predicting, testing hypotheses, logical thinking, and analytical thinking.
Brain-based learning bridges the gap between neuroscience and education. It is a different way of thinking about education. Instead of loathing over testing data, educators should use data to focus on techniques that enhance the brain for learning. Questions to ponder are “What do we know about the brain, and how might we do education differently?”

Jensen, E. (n.d). An emerging paradigm: moving towards brain-based learning. Retrieved from: http://www.brainbasedlearning.net/moving-towards-brain-based-learning/

Balushi, K. & Balushi, S. (2018). Effectiveness of brain-based learning for grade eight students’ direct and postpone retention in science. International Journal of Instruction, 11, 525-538.

Wendy’s Tech Resources

Providing resources for entry level instructional designers

Christy Tuckers’s blog, Experiencing E-Learning, focuses on building engaging learning experiences through instructional design and e-Learning. Christy has experience working with students in grades K-12. She gives pointers for transitioning from teaching to instructional designing, avoiding pitfalls in e-learning, and scenario based learning experiences. This blog provides educators with insight for working with young learners as well as adult learners. 

Connie Malamed’s blog, The eLearning Coach, provides effective strategies, applicable content, product reviews and resources to help with designing, developing and understanding online learning. The eLearning Coach offers freebies and other products for professional learners. 

In the blog, Usable Learning, Julie Dirksen discusses how learning takes place. Instructional designers need to be able to understand the way people learn in order to design appropriate curriculum and materials.  The blog is filled with a vast amount of resources that explain the way the brain functions when learning takes place.