Sunday, October 28, 2012


I thought that this course was going to be a review of the information from a learning theories class that I had taken in my undergraduate career. Some of it was but there were other parts that dug deeper into the theory or introduced a theory or concept that I was not aware of before. The class really challenged me to think about my own teaching, learning and opinions about education. These challenges are what I believe makes us better and improves our techniques as we move forward.
I was surprised at how many learning theories that I was not aware of and especially the theories that involved technology. The world is quickly evolving with technology and education is keeping stride. I was surprised that there are already theories about the use of this technology and how they affect their learning. For example, I had never been exposed to connectivism before but after learning about it, it really made sense.  Also, I was shocked by reading the Horizon Report in Week 6 about the newer technologies and how they will be used in education.  Some of the concepts I had never heard of before and I’m honestly not real sure how I feel about some of them.
This course has deepened my understanding of the concepts by asking me to discuss the ideas with my fellow classmates. I think that this forced me to see different opinions from people with different backgrounds, ideas, and opinions from me. This really helped me to understand the concepts deeper. In my undergraduate studies when I learned these theories it was just asking us to know the concept and recall their ideas and define then. However, I really enjoyed discussing them, hearing about how others may have experienced them, how they will be used in technology, etc. I think reading about other people’s ideas is incredibly valuable.
Learning theories, learning styles, motivation and educational technology are all highly connected. Any instructor or educational designer will be more successful if they understand the connection between them. I actually think that students should be taught these concepts as well in order to be more successful. I think if they understood how they learn and the concepts that accompany the theories, they would be better equipped to succeed. In high school I actually had a teacher that did this and I think my educational career has benefited because of it.
In a lot of aspects in my life I have already used the content that I learned in this class. I have a six month old son who is learning simple things daily. I often think about the theories behind this and how I can help him grow. I am a teacher and I have tried to use some of these concepts in my lesson to improve student understand, recall, and motivation. As a hopeful future educational designer, I can use this knowledge to better my students and make it easier for them to be successful. By providing experiences that are based solidly on theory can make the difference for students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week 7 Application

My learning theories class is almost over and I can’t believe how far my understanding of learning theories has come. Every day in class, I pick out the theories in play and think about the effects of my teaching and the students learning on the learning process. My view or paradigm of learning theories is still somewhat chaotic and complex but I think I relate most to the emphasis on social interaction and how the environment effects a student’s education. Being in the classroom, I really see these factors play into the learning process and are value to the students. I also see them being applicable to the changing technologically advanced classroom.
                Not only have I learned about my students learning and learning theories in general but I have thought about my own preferences and learning processes. I personally seem to identify with Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Multiple Intelligences. I see such value in pushing and challenging myself to understand the topic on a deeper level. I recall information much better as well as understand information in a more valuable form than when I am just simply asked to recall the information. I can apply the knowledge to other situations and see the connections much clearer when utilizing higher level thinking.
 I also really enjoyed reading about the multiple intelligences and really see the usefulness in studying the theory. I love that the resources that we had about the topic talked about how we all have intelligences. Many students give up because they believe they are not “intelligent” in the traditional sense of the word. By informing students that they are indeed intelligent but maybe in a different way, they are more prepared to be successful.
New technologies and their relation to learning theories are also something that I feel like I have a better grip on now. Technology is becoming an increasingly important factor in education and this is something that has been emphasized throughout the course. I think that technology forces students to take charge of their education, aid in customizing their education for their own learning styles, personalities and interests, and aid teachers in presenting information to students in varied forms. Technology allows students to collaborate more easily, experience new things that they might not have been able to experience without technology and create which is a higher level on the Taxonomy. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Learning Connections

This week in class we were asked to think about our learning connections. Personally, I interpreted this as the learning connections in all aspects in my life because truthfully, I am still learning in all aspects of my life (aren't we all?). So, here is my mind map that lists my learning networks as well as demonstrate how they interconnect between aspects of my life. I may have gotten carried away but I was getting into it!

My networks have changed the way I learn by providing ideas, thoughts, concepts, etc that I would have never thought of myself. For example, in class at Walden we are asked to discuss topics in an online forum. Several times I have been happy that we are asked to do this assignment because other classmates bring up things from the reading or their own personal experiences that I would have never thought of or bring new insight to my paradigm. I think it enriches my thinking and quality of my understanding.

As you may notice, a lot of my networks are online networks. I think that these provide access to an unlimited amount of information, opinions, experiences, thoughts, individuals to answer literally any question you may have about anything. I find the online resources that you can collaborate with the most helpful and the best way to learn. For example, both Walden's "Blackboard" as well as the NAAE Communities of Practice website allow users to post questions, get answers, and search for helpful information. These collaborative experiences have proved very useful in my educational career as well as my teaching career.

This is also how I gain new information. I set out to find it either by asking the question online, calling a personal contact, or searching for the answer that someone has already formulated. Personally, I prefer to have the instant success of finding my answer online immediately and putting my new knowledge into application right away.

My philosophy of networks and new ways of learning support connectivism because of I like to others in many different forms in order to learn. I draw from others ideas, thoughts, experiences and opinions in order to form my own. Using this theory, I can also see the connection between things and how they all relate to make up the world that I currently know. This is another tenent of connectivism.

Mindmap was made with

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Brain, Learning and Education

This week in class, we are asked to learn about the brain, it's biology and how understanding the brain can help us in education and instructional design. The following websites are great references on the topic and have led to a deeper understanding for me. I hope that you check them out!

Understanding How the Brain Learns
I found one main website that I was very much impressed with. The website is put out by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities but walks the reader through the biology of the brain, how learning affects your brain, how this changes education and even advances into how the brain is different when a student has a disability. The site provides great, reliable links for reader to refer to. The two links I have chosen to review actually came off of this website.

Education World- Brain Friendly Teaching
As a hopeful future Instructional Designer and a current high school teacher, I wanted to find some resources that would help me in the classroom. I wanted to find out not only more information on how the brain works but also, how I can use this to help my current students. Marilee Sprenger wrote this article and it takes you through the anatomy of a great lesson plan and why it works based on what we know about the brain. Some of the information I already knew and already use in my classroom but it was good to read about the reason behind the methodology and reinforce the concepts. She emphasizes differentiation which seems to be one of the keys to this week's lessons. We learn in multiple methods, therefore we need to be taught in multiple methods to be successful. Something that hadn't been mentioned this week but is mentioned in Sprenger's article is that not all learners will be on the same page after something is taught or presented. She offers a way to fix this issue and cater to the needs of the brain. She also suggests that it is a known that if assessment takes place in the area that the learner learned the information will be easier recalled. I thought that this concept is very interesting and a great application to what we know about the brain.

Brain Based Research Prompts Innovative Teaching Techniques in the Classroom
This website is a great application for how we can use what we know about how students learn and turn it into success in the classroom. The article talks about a school that uses technology in order to capture the student's attention and create learning situations for students that might not be possible without the technology. Many students learn by doing. This has caused a problem for teachers because the "doing" wasn't always an option either because of finances or location, etc. Technology allows for the kinesthetic learners to be engaged where they never could be before. The article includes great ideas for the classroom and explains how and why those ideas are great ways to reach the students because of the way they learn and ultimately the way their brain works. It was especially interesting to me because it mentions lessons in GPS units and I am currently working on lessons for GPS. Hopefully I can engage my student's brains, engage them and help them retain the information!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Useful Instructional Design Blog

Here's something you should try- go to Google, type in "Instructional Design Blogs" and be amazed!

I googled that very copy and was astounded by the suggestions that came up. I'll share three of the blogs that I found and why I thought that they were so interesting.

1.  The ELearning Coach
The ELearning Coach blog is written by Connie Malamed and has great little tips, top ten lists and even book reviews. For someone who doesn't like to read big blocks of useless text before getting to the "good stuff" this blog is great! Malamed offers great suggestions of ways to present content and incorporate technology into learning but not in an overwhelming way. You know a blog is good when it gets you excited and makes you want more! That is exactly what this site was for me. Both as a teacher and a hopeful future instructional designer, the tips, suggestions, resources, and updates will be extremely valuable in the future.

2. The Rapid Elearning Blog
I'll be honest with you- sometimes I need things to be catchy or interesting right off the start in order to get me to read further. This blog is just that! Free templates, tips and demos litter the blog and titles of entries like "Avoid the curse of the Frankencourse" and "Maybe all your learner needs is a baby shower" caught my eye. The entries are easy to read, encouraging and a lot of them are humorous which makes me want to read more and even learn more! I will continue to go back to this blog to watch the demos and get the free templates while completing my degree and teaching. It's definitely one that I will return to!

3. Upside Learning Blog

The Upside Learning Blog also caught my eye and held my attention. This blog has a lot of "top" lists that I enjoyed scrolling through and is also presented in a way that holds my attention. I enjoyed the entry, "Ipad Apps and Bloom's Taxonomy" since this is what we are focusing on in class this week. It was an interesting cross over and food for thought. It's amazing that theories from long ago are still applicable on some of today's leading computer devices. Like the other two blogs, this blog also gives tips and advice for instructional designers and I even enjoyed reading through other individuals comments on the original blog entries. This particular blog looks as though it is updated fairly frequently which I enjoy and will check back for updates.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Welcome to my blog!

My name is Meredith and I am currently a third year high school agricultural education instructor. I  am also working towards my Master's in Instructional Design and Technology at Walden University. This blog was created in response to a class for that program called Learning Theories and Instruction.

Happy Blogging!