Distance Learning

My experience with Distance Learning has been very short, but very meaningful; a true learning experience. I never considered Distance Learning as an option for me. The reasons were mostly because of unfounded misconception, resistance to change, adapt and try new ways of learning; basically fear of the unknown. Besides, I was very comfortable with the traditional learning system and I had no real reason to go ahead and try something different, I had the time, had a good job plus several on and off decent paying “gigs”.

Almost every person that like me had doubts about Distance Learning and gave it a chance had a reason that made them change their minds. My reason was family. Now, I saw myself without the luxury of time, the economy affected my income especially, and opportunities were passing me by and as time passed not as frequent. So I had to adjust, sink or swim as they say. I needed to make myself more marketable and for that I need to acquire new skills.  The only option was going back to school, but the conventional system was not an option anymore for me. I needed flexibility, and that is why Distance Learning has worked for me.

Based on what I have read this week I can define Distance Learning as the act of actively participating in an academic environment in which all the parties involved (teachers, facilitators, students or trainees) may or may not be all physically present in the same location and/or at the same time by utilizing different channels of communication in order to interact and share ideas or participate in meaningful discussions.

This flexibility is what many point out as one of the reasons why Distance Learning works for them and why it has become so successful and widely accepted over the years.  Another reason is that it is very economical. Moller, Foshay and Huett (2008) state that the motivating factors for corporate e-learning are predominantly economic.

The adaptability of DL is another reason why it continues to be so successful. Distance Learning has proven to be capable of adapting to the circumstances; it is manageable, plays along very well with the technologies that are predominant at the moment.  Proof of this we can be found by analyzing Distance Learning’s timeline. It dates back to the early 1800’s.

Dr. Simonson in a video interview (Laureate Education, nd.) gives a small synopsis of DL’s timeline. In this video he sums up how Distance Learning or Distance Teaching as he calls it, has progressed over the years. In this interview he points out that it has had more of an impact and had developed more in Europe than here in US. He also points out that this changed drastically in the last decades thanks to the Internet.

This quick jump towards acceptance of Distance Learning as an alternative for learning is due greatly to the fact that access to a computer and to the Internet has increased greatly over last decades. As well as other forms of accessing information, like phones, tablets etc.

I recommend reading the following article, “Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles” written by Chris Dede in 2005, it goes into great detail of the impact technology is having on higher education; virtual learning is addressed as well as other concepts. Keep in mind that this article was written in 2005, some concepts and ideas are introduced as if they were new or in the works, but are that at the moment being used more frequently than before.
Distance Learning___

Reference

  • Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70-75.
  • Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video File]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu on 5/06/2016.
  • Dede, C. (2005). Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles. Educause Quaterly. Number 1. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0511.pdf on 5/07/2016

 

 

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Reflection

Reflection

 I found the Learning Theories Instruction course to be a very important and interesting course. It definitely helped me understand how I learn and the importance of understanding how others learn. It provided me with the necessary tools I will need to have a better learning experience. It made me realize that if I was not able to understand my own learning style, then I could not become an effective Instructional Designer.

This week we learned about motivation. Motivation is what makes us want to accomplish something that is supposed to bring us great level of satisfaction or at least bring us to a higher state being. It is something that cannot be easily measured, but proves to be an important piece when we look at what drives someone to desire to better themselves academically, accomplish a desired goal like getting a promotion or successfully finishing a project before scheduled.

Learning theories are meant to help us understand the process of learning; learning styles are meant to show us the different path an individual uses to gain knowledge; educational technology provides the means or pathways to accessing information. Motivation is the driving factor that helps us bind everything together. Without it, learning does not take place.

I think this course is critical for whoever pursues a career in Instructional Design. Here is where everything is explained. Here is where you learn to identify how individuals learn and based on that prepare instructions that would address his or her needs; how to guide people and show them how they get from point A to point B in their educational journey; here you learn the importance of communicating progress or the lack of it in a way that you do not discourage your target audience and keep them engaged.

In this reflection I purposely did not use any references of any authors, (surely we all have now sufficient material to support our ideas) but I wanted it be my own words that described the importance this course has had in changing my vision of what Instructional Design is. It has made me look at things in a different light and has showed me that ID is much more than what I originally had envisioned.

However I do want to end this reflection with the following quote:

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti
Reference

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jiddu_krishnamurti.html

Fitting the Pieces Together

During the past few weeks we have learned about some of the different Learning Theories that exist like Behaviorism, Congnitivism, Constructivism, Social Learning, Connectivism and Adult Learning. We learned about multiple intelligence; we have looked at videos, read through dozens of articles, blogs and wiki pages; we have looked at research on how the brain process information and on how technology has played an important role in how we learn today. All of these in order to understand how people learn and in the process rediscover how do we learn as well.

On my first group discussion post I remember saying that I never really paid much attention to the way I learned. Based on my initial readings of the different learning theories, immediately I said to myself: ‘the theory that best describes me is Constructivism’. “Constructivism is the theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience” (Bednar et al 1991). In part I still think it is true, but now not as much as before.

I have learned that the best approach to learning is a flexible one. I learned that a person cannot be defined by one specific theory. Because of this I am able to see how I have evolved. I see myself at different points of my learning experience represented in different theories. Initially through Behaviorism, when I learned by repetition and in Cognitivism when I relied more on memory. I still do but I have picked up some techniques to assist my learning along the way.

Now I see that my learning style has blended in with others, if you could say that, because I realize that I am more dependant on my professional and social networks, as well as the internet, to get most of the information I use on a daily basis.

I see myself represented also under the Connectivism theory. “Connectivism is a learning theory, in which knowledge exists outside of the learner, and the learner makes connections between information to build knowledge. The connections that learners make help them create their own learning network. Through this connected web, learners will be able to stay up-to-date with content as it changes” (Ireland, 2007).

Being able to stay current in different topics is very important to me. Knowing and learning how to get information is vital, not just because I want to become an ID, but because my job and my livelihood depends on it (Motivation). Technology plays a huge role in the way I learn and in my day-to-day life. Especially the internet which has become one of my primary sources of information.

Reference

  • Bednar, A.K., Cunningham, D., Duffy, T.M, & Perry, J.D. (1991). Theory into practice: How do we link? In G.J. Anglin (Ed), Instructional technology: Past, present, and future. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Web Article: Ireland, T. (2007). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism & Connectivism. Retrieved from:

http://ci484-learning-technologies.wikispaces.com/Behaviorism,+Cognitivism,+Constructivism+%26+Connectivism

Connectivism

Connectivism

In my research to gather more information regarding Connectivism, I found that it is described as the learning theory for the digital age, which seeks to explain complex learning in a rapidly changing social digital world. This learning theory is promoted by Stephens Downes and George Siemens, (http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism).

This is due to the fact that the way we are able to get information has drastically changed. Before, information was mostly obtained from books, magazines, newspapers, from our teachers at school or trainers at work.

The way information traveled from one place to another compared to our times, was very inefficient.  Now, Information can go around the world in seconds, thanks to the internet. This also has allowed the proliferation of social and professional networks, which has evolved at an enormous pace. These networks are no longer limited to their proximity anymore.

Some of Connectivism’s principals are as follow:

  • The integration of cognition and emotions in meaning-making is important.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinions.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process.

Connectivism is a learning theory that relies heavily on technology to explain how learning occurs today and Mohamed Ally, from the Athabasca University, points out the following:

“There is ongoing debate about whether it is the use of a particular delivery technology or the design    of the instruction that improves learning (Clark, 2001; Kozma, 2001)”. It has long been recognized that specialized delivery technologies can provide efficient and timely access to learning materials; however, Clark (1983) has claimed that technologies are merely vehicles that deliver instruction, but do not themselves influence student achievement…”

When I look at how my networks have changed the way I learn, I see the great impact that it has caused. It has made my “library” larger than I could ever imagine. I have access to articles, journals and books, that I could never have at home or in my local library. To be able to access not only text, but multimedia resources has simplified a lot of the process of learning for me.

My number one source for information, especially since I work the technological field and at a school is the internet (google, youtube, etc). Also lot of the vendors and manufacturers of equipment that I use on a regular basis post a lot of their support materials (videos, manuals, etc.) on their websites.

In terms of professional and social networking, I frequent blogs to keep me informed of social news from my home country (Dominican Republic), and to try to stay current with information related to technology, I also visit certain blogs and webpages. At work the Technology Department for the Department of Education here in NY, developed a wiki page, were we can access a lot of information and download materials to simplify our work. They created a repository of common issues and not so common issues and provide step by step instructions on how to resolve them or inform us if there is a fix on the way.

He is my Mind Map, it is simple at the moment, but it will definitely continue to expand:

My Mindmap

Reference:

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Clark, R. E. (2001). A summary of disagreements with the “mere vehicles” argument. In R. E. Clark (Ed.), Learning from media: Arguments, analysis, and evidence (pp. 125-136). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Kozma, R. B. (2001). Counterpoint theory of “learning with media.” In R. E. Clark (Ed.), Learning from media: Arguments, analysis, and evidence (pp. 137-178). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc.

http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism

http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html

http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch1.html

M Ally – Theory and practice of online learning, 2004 – books.google.com

Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning. Mohamed Ally. Athabasca University

Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

I used this weeks blog assignment as a title because of one of the blogs I read. The article in itself is very interesting, it is titled “How Does the Brain the Brain Learn Best? Smart Studying Strategies” by Ingfei Chen. You will have the option of listening to this article or reading it.

I choose both, and made it into a read along, I can honestly say it brought back memories. This article is about a book Chen read called “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens,” by Benedict Carey and what Chen took from it.

Besides some of the techniques and strategies pointed out by Chen, which I found to be very interesting points of view, I enjoyed reading as well some of the comments left from some readers.

The other blog I liked was this one titled the “Metacognition the Gift that Keeps on Giving” by Donna Wilson. This one is more geared for teachers and gives some pointers on how to show students how to use metacognition.

Within this blog you will also find a link to another post in which Ms. Wilson was co-author, “Engaging Brains: How to Enhance Learning by Teaching Kids about Neuroplasticity“.

I hope you find these posts to be as interesting as I did.

Reference:

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/08/how-does-the-brain-learn-best-smart-studying-strategies/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/metacognition-gift-that-keeps-giving-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroplasticity-engage-brains-enhance-learning-donna-wilson

Introduction to My Blog

Hi everyone, welcome to my Blog. This is my first time blogging, but before I continue let me introduce myself, my name is Starsky Domínguez. Currently I am studying to obtain my Masters in Instructional Design & Technology. I have a BS. in Information Technology from Monroe College. I am currently working for the New York Board of Education as a School Computer Technology Specialist. It’s just a fancy title for Computer Technician.

This is the first time I actively blog, I occasionally read a blog which is more socially inclined, it’s a way that I  have found to be able to stay current with social events from the Dominican Republic, where I lived for many years. The second blog that I try to actively read is geared more towards technology.

I decided to use WordPress for my blog, because I worked with people who have used blogs regularly and this is one of the tools I recall they mentioned. As of what I have been able to see it is very simple and easy to use.

Once I created my blog on WordPress, I decided to search for blogs in the field of Instructional design, and as a true beginner in the world of blogs I looked for titles that would help me understand more how blogs are structured and at the same time informative and related to the ID field. These are some of the ones that caught my attention:

http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2010/05/20/30-top-online-resources-for-instructional-designers-to-keep-up/

For me this blog was very helpful it gave me a different perspective to the ID field and the author (Amit Garg) also included references to other blogs.

http://abnederveld.com/2014/10/30/how-to-work-with-instructional-designers/

I liked this one very much, because the author (Alisson B. Nederveld)presented a new resource she was using to help her make more meaningful instructions through the use video. The tool is Goanimate.

http://moolissap.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/designing-with-audio-and-visuals/

This one I also enjoyed the author (Melissa”Moolissa”) cautions us in the way we should use audio visuals in our designs in order to be more effective and not overload our targets with information.

Hope you find these to be very helpful.