Connectivism: My Mindmap

My Learning Connections

My network has changed the way I learn because I am required to know fewer bits of information. Over the years, I have increasingly relied on my network for information and education. A great example of this change is the popular Internet meme about calculators. Whenever I was elementary school in the nineties, teachers often said things like:

You better learn how to do the math in your head because you aren’t always going to have a calculator in your pocket!” Less than ten years later, everyone had cell phones with calculators (literally in their pockets). Now, everyone essentially has a mini-computer in their pocket, which means we could lookup any piece of information imaginable and get answers immediately.

We no longer need to “store”every piece of information within our own minds; we can rely on our network(s). Our network consists of where we gather information (i.e. reference books, friends, Google, seminars, etc.)

My favorite digital tool for facilitating learning are search engine websites like Google. I can find out information about almost anything by using Google. However, I still tend to ask people I know for information whenever I have questions. The way I ask them questions have changed though. I may text the question or ask them via social media rather than call or ask in person.

After creating a mindmap of my personal learning connections, I think my network supports the tenets of connectivism. It highlights where and how I gather information, and how even those places are connected. It made me realize how much I rely on other people and technology to learn. As technology improves, I suppose people will become increasingly more dependent upon their networks (online). I feel fortunate to live in a time where people are connected and we have more information at our disposal than ever before. I just hope we proceed with caution. Networks can become limiting and corrupt. Search Engines can tailor search results to fit an agenda, misinformation can be spread easily, and algorithms are not perfect. With these considerations, critical thinking will continue to be a valuable resource.

 

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Information Processing Theory, The Brain and Learning, & Problem-solving Methods during the Learning Process

This week, I learned about Information Processing Theory and how neuroscience relates (and does not relate) to instructional design.

Cognitive Information Processing Theory (CIP Theory)

Cognitive Information Processing Theory, despite its name suggesting it’s one theory, is actually a blanket term for a few different theoretical approaches. In this post, I’m going to share some of the resources I found that have helped me gain a better understanding of CIP theory

http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/information-processing/

I found this website helpful because it highlights G. A. Miller’s theoretical ideas. It states  that our attention span can only handle a certain number of “chunks of information” at once. The chunks, the website says, are “any meaningful unit.” I liked how the website gave examples of applications of these ideas. In addition to it being helpful, it seems like a good source since the citations listed seem credible.

https://sites.google.com/site/cognitiveapproachtolearning/cognitiveinformationprocessing

While this is not a scholarly resource, I found the information on this website to be aligned with what is written in my instructional design course textbook. The references at cited at the bottom of the webpage seemed credible (.edu and Pearson), although I was unable to access many of them because they no longer exist on the web. The information on the website is presented in a way that I can clearly understand. Whenever I initially read the chapter on CIP in the textbook Learning Theories and Instruction, I felt as though I got bogged down in the details and could not get a summary or proper overview of CIP theory. This website helped me understand what was written in my textbook about CIP, so I found it very helpful. I also liked the section including links to relevant YouTube videos about CIP.

The Brain and Learning

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/interviews/bruer.html

John Bruer, the author of the “Myth of the First Three Years” is seemingly an advocate for  referencing neuroscience responsibly and using evidence-based interventions in education. In his words (from the linked article) “If our intent is to use science and research to form policy, to guide educational practice and to give parents assistance, it’s incumbent on people putting forth those arguments to get the science right.” I found this PBS interview with him. I especially liked the line where he highlights the importance of behavioral science — it is a science just like biology is a science. I enjoyed the interview.

https://www.brookings.edu/research/windows-of-opportunity-their-seductive-appeal/

This is an in-depth article that explains how neuroscience can be misused to influence political policy around early childhood education. I found this article easier to read than other resources on the same topic. It covered the “early window of opportunity” and  explained the “seductive appeal of neuroscience” to non-experts. It is a similar perspective to Bruer’s in the link above, but I liked how easy it was to read.

Problem-solving in Relation to the Learning Process

http://theelearningcoach.com/learning/metacognition-and-learning/

I found this website written by an instructional designer describing strategies to help improve learners’ metacognition. I am interested in strategies to help learners “think about thinking” as the blogger mentions in the article. This article was an easy read and very practical for teachers and instructional designers alike.

http://www.ipsascientia.org/blogbits/what-is-meaningful-learning

As any teacher knows, it’s important to make your lessons meaningful to your students. It’s also important to relate new information to students’ prior knowledge. The resource linked above is a blog that cites one of the authors of my ID course textbook (Ormrod). The blogger describes and summarizes what meaningful learning is and how to achieve it. I thought it was a decent summary of how meaningful learning relates to the transfer of knowledge from teacher to learner.

I hope you find these links as helpful as I have.

 

References have been linked above.

Additional References:

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

 

 

Blogs about Instructional Design

In this post, I’m compiling a list of blogs that focus on Instructional Design and explaining why I think they are good resources.

Resource 1: Infed

article: What is Learning: Exploring Theory, Product, and Process

This website would serve as an extremely useful reference for learning and learning theories. In the article I linked to above, the author describes learning in great detail and explains different learning theories. I always assumed there was a consensus among experts about the definition of the word learning. Most people use the word often, and it seems so simple. It does not seem like you would need to be an expert to discern what the word “learning” means. The author of the article does a great job at explaining how ideas about learning have evolved over time. I appreciated the table towards the bottom of the page with the different theories and the individuals who contributed to them. I also like how the author broke down the different taxonomies.

Resource 2: Instruction @UH

article: Setting Up the First Day of an Online Class

I chose this blog because it relates to my career as an online instructor. Even though the topic is familiar to me, I think it is useful to read about different perspectives. The information in the blog article I linked above is helpful. I like the suggestion about having students complete a non-graded activity. I’m happy to say that I am already implementing most of the suggestions, and they do work! The Instruction @UH website seems to have a lot of resources pertaining to successfully facilitating online learning experiences.

Resource 3: Train Like a Champ: A Learning and Development Blog

This blog provides insight into the life of an eLearning Developer. The articles are personal and well-written. I almost feel like I am learning one-on-one by job shadowing the author(s). It also contains a link to a “Must Read” books section, which could prove helpful.

Resource 4: Instructional Design Central

Whenever I was initially searching for information about Instructional Design, I found this website. It contains descriptions of the field as well as links to important tools designers use like links to various learning management systems. It also contains a blog full of articles on Instructional Design and eLearning.

 

 

Smith, M. K. (2018). ‘Learning theory’, the encyclopedia of informal education. [http://infed.org/mobi/learning-theory-models-product-and-process/. Retrieved: 1/07/19].
Photo credit J Kelly Brito (Unsplash)

First Post, Introduction

Hi, I’m Danyelle.

I have a BA in Art Education from Seton Hill University. I am creating this blog for my continuing education in Instructional Design. I have years of experience in eLearning, but I’m working on taking my education to the next level.