The course of study in this class has been instrumental at this stage of my career in education. Even though learning theory is rarely discussed in my setting, I now have a greater understanding of the history of learning theory, the similarities and differences among learning theories, socio-political influences related to education and technology and finally a chance to examine emerging theories that incorporate technology. This solid foundation will give me more credibility as a new instructional coach. I can now speak easily about the evolution of technology in the classroom, its potential, and the reasons why administrators need to free up time for educators to continue learning about technology use in the classroom.
My early academic training focused on liberal studies. This interdisciplinary foundation caused me to have a preference for learning things in layered context. For example, it is so helpful to have the historical, political, and psychological context to frame a field of study or connect to a theory. I found that the flow of assignments and related readings in this course made it easier to assimilate the large amount of information we were consuming in order to make sense of it. At times it felt overwhelming to narrow in on a topic in depth such as the learning theories paper when you had just barely touched the surface of learning theories. Then the annotated bibliography assignment zoomed my lens back out. I remember thinking that I should know the topic of my final paper before I completed the bibliography. Then I relaxed and let my interests guide me and I discovered that I needed to understand the history of learning theory before I could embrace an emerging theory. By the completion of my annotated bibliography, I had an idea about the topic of my synthesis paper. It turned out that the resources in my annotated bibliography were essential to finding new peer-reviewed research for my final study of connectivism.
I will definitely refer to various learning theories as they come up in conversation with teachers or my administrator about classroom practices or within the context of discussion during professional development. Practical solutions to the challenges of effectively implementing technology in the classroom will be especially useful. Teachers are already strapped for time and often on information overload so I look forward to suggesting a basic framework for technology integration, depending on each teacher’s current level of understanding, using my knowledge about connectivism and related pedagogy mentioned in my final paper.
The three assignments I referenced above relate to AECT’s 5th Standard (Research): Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize, and apply methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance. I identified application of these three specific indicators: Ethics – Candidates conduct research and practice using accepted professional and institutional guidelines and procedures. All assignments mentioned required use of the APA format and proper credit given to the source. Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates apply formal inquiry strategies in assessing and evaluating processes and resources for learning and performance. All assignments required us to evaluate our resources in order to identify a topic for research, specifically, the annotated bibliography. Theoretical Foundations – Candidates demonstrate foundational knowledge of the contribution of research to the past and current theory of educational communications and technology. The entire flow of readings and assignments achieved this in total.
As much as I enjoy the practical aspects of educational technology, this course made me realize how much our profession is in need of more research based practices. Not only do teachers deserve greater respect and might gain it from this knowledge, our students deserve the best that we have to offer.
Check out this link from teachthought.com. It has a great visual showcasing the various learning theories.