Sunday, February 28, 2010


(photo by Jon Fravel see credit below)

My course in Learning Theories and Instruction is drawing to a close, and I have been asked to reflect upon what I have learned, and how I will apply what I have learned in the future.

What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?

I was surprised to realize that some of my ideas about learning and intelligence assumed too much about similarities between computers and the human mind.

I was forced to reevaluate my thoughts about motivation; motivating learners involves more than just communicating goals and objectives. Goals and objectives don’t necessarily appeal to a learner’s individual interests and passions.

I learned about functional MRI technology. Today scans can show specific brain activity as a person responds to specific stimuli. (Ormrod, 2009) I have since read a number of articles about discoveries made by FMRI and implications of those discoveries that are forcing me to change some of my views about learning and the human brain.

How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?

I realize I don’t have some of the limitations I thought I had. I can take control of my own learning, taking advantage of my own strengths and the educational resources available to me, such as discussing what I am learning with others through social networking and blogs. I realize that only imagination limits what can be learned at any age. I had never realized the extent to which culture and social interaction are essential to the way we learn, nor had I thought about its importance as a teaching tool. Now I will find ways to incorporate interaction with others as an essential part of any future training. Previously I realized that it is more important to learn HOW to learn than it is to learn facts and methods, but I had not considered that it is even more important to learn HOW to stay current. Now I will emphasize the skill of keeping current.

What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?

I learned the value of elaboration when introducing new concepts, and of using multiple methods that will connect with people with multiple learning styles. I learned that student “learning styles” may change from lesson to lesson and not just from person to person, and that the best way to “cater” to various learning styles is to empower learners to adapt instruction to their own style, since it is impossible to cater to all styles and still have a coherent presentation. (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008) I learned the importance of motivation--helping learners to make the choice to learn. I learned students need to be held accountable not only for what they learn, but for how they learn. Students must take ownership of their own learning. I learned that people learn best when their learning is linked to their culture and community. I learned that pictures are an important way to reinforce learning.

How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?

As a result of this course, I will review the acronym ARCS to ensure my product demands attention by “selling” the benefit of learning with sharp graphics and background sounds and music. I will create learning activities that enable learners to adapt the course to their own learning styles so it is relevant to their individual interests. I will provide direction and links to previous learning so the student is confident of what they are doing. I will provide feedback so students experience the satisfaction of a job well done. (Keller)

I will use multiple activities with each learning objective so learners can pursue their own interests to elaborate on what they have learned, reinforcing their own learning in a way that is compatible with their individual learning styles.

I will focus on finding ways to “partner” with learners rather than controlling learners, so learners have ownership of their own learning. I will encourage learners to link their learning to their own cultures and communities.


Ormrod, J. (2009). Information processing and the brain [Video file].

Chicago set 2007. (2007). Millenium Park and City Scape [Photograph]. Photographer Fravel, J. Retrieved from

Gilbert, J. E., & Swanier, C. A. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal, 1. Retrieved from

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in omputer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (78), 39-47. Retrieved from

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

YouTube - An Open Letter to Educators

YouTube - An Open Letter to Educators

I first saw this entertaining video rant on another blog, "The Innovative Educator." In this video Dan Brown, a self proclaimed "drop out" from the University of Nebraska, explains that he dropped out because school was interfering with his education. In the current age, information is freely available. Dan Brown argues that education is about empowering students to learn, not on providing information.


When School Gets in the Way of Learning....Drop Out! [blog]. (Monday January 2, 2010). Retrieved from

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fitting the Pieces Together: A Reflection On My Own Learning

This blog entry was created in fulfillment of an assignment to answer the following questions after revisiting a private discussion which I have re-posted here.

•    Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

I think my discussion in week one actually demonstrated some grasp of all of the learning theories we discussed except possibly Connectivism (Lloyd, 2010, January 6), but I had an unrefined teaching style that was based on a belief that learning is transferred through a variety of experiences. Now I have a more refined understanding of how different learning styles interact together from person to person, and even from activity to activity, because everyone has multiple strengths and weaknesses that may interact in different ways at different times (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). Previously I would have likened my approach to using a shotgun to insure a target was hit. Now, with my understanding of various learning theories, I will refine my “shotgun approach” into an arsenal of precision tools, starting with an emphasis on my own strengths and weaknesses as an instructional designer.

•    What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

In this class, we have explored seven perspectives on learning.

Behaviorism treats learning as a "black box" in which learning is influenced by positive and sometimes negative reinforcement until a learning objective is achieved.

Cognativism explores how new information is accommodated into an existing framework of understanding.(Omrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 50)

Constructivism recognizes that no one has a complete handle on reality, but each person constructs their own imperfect view of reality from new and previous experiences.(Omrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 185)

Social learning theory explores how the culture and multiple talents of individuals in a group combine to enhance the learning of members of a group.(Kim, 2001)

Connectivism focuses on how people use the resources at their disposal to continually update their view of the world around them.
(Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008)

Adult learning focuses on differences between how children and adults learn, especially in the context of career-focused learning.(Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2010)

As I have been studying instructional development, I have been “trying out” new ideas with my ESL students and with my homeschooled students.

I have clearly become a more effective teacher, although some of my experiments have failed miserably such as attempting to use facebook to help ESL students practice English. I learned a valuable lesson in how technology can get in the way of learning. I underestimated the importance of “computer literacy” to using technology in the classroom. I found myself teaching students to use a computer rather than using a computer to teach English. One (only one) of my students is making new online friends, and will likely benefit from my efforts eventually, but my students were intimidated by the attempt, and one student has apparently dropped out of the class.

•    What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

My learning will never be the same because I now understand how to incorporate social learning and Connectivism in an organized way. I have already benefited in some of my own personal research by having these new tools at my disposal such as social bookmarking, and’s online citation management tool which I discovered as a result of my new discipline of following educational blogs.


Lloyd, D. (2010, January). Revising "Week One" of my course in instructional design [blog]. Recharge Point. Retrieved from

Omrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Custom ed., p. 50). New York: Laureate Education, Inc.

Omrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Custom ed., p. 185). New York: Laureate Education, Inc.

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2010). Adult learning. Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology.

Gilbert, J. E., & Swanier, C. A. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal, 1. Retrieved from

Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey [Ed.]. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Constructivist Theory.doc

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey [Ed.], Emerging perspectives on learning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Autism and Learning

Temple Grandin: My Experience With Autism

In this 20-minute video, Dr. Temple Grandin discusses autism, the brain,  educational strategies for visual learners, and an interesting perspective about how all people think and learn. She discusses how to distinguish between sensory overload and bad behavior. Anyone interested in learning and the brain, or just anyone who works with children will find this lecture interesting.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Our ability to find information quickly can be much more important than the information we have already learned.

Connectivism is the educational model that focuses on how learners construct their own dynamic view of the world around them by using their own private networks of information sources: both human and technological. Connectivism involves more than just using technology to look up information. It involves the way technology creates dynamic interaction of diverse viewpoints, and it involves the idea that what is learned is rarely static, but concepts continuously evolve, and Connectivism is a way of life in which education is an ongoing process involving a lifetime of constant adjustment. “Keeping current” is the focus of Connectivism. (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).

Even before the advent of the internet, my own focus has been on the importance of knowing how to know and how to keep current over the importance of static knowledge. Working as an application software engineer over the last 20 years, I have experienced the “reinvention” of basic programming concepts several times. Years ago my learning network consisted of the people I knew, the books I owned, books and journals at the local library, in local bookstores, and broadcast media. I still use these resources, but they have largely been pushed aside as internet resources now form my primary framework for learning.

Now, instead of pouring over dictionaries and encyclopedias, card files and the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, I get my quick overviews from Wikipedia. If I want to query legal information, I read blogs and download the text of bills. To know about the latest research on a topic, I read blogs and download journal articles from Google Scholar or one of the “Inspire” databases (Indiana’s virtual library online). If I want to read a book, I go online to find the book at my library and have them reserve it for me, or I go to Amazon and download an ebook for a fraction of the cost of a physical book.

If I can’t figure out how to get started learning about an issue, or I need an expert opinion about something, I no longer have to wait to make contact by phone or in person. Now I can send an email to ask a question or I can post a question on a blog or on a social network. Generally I can educate myself about any subject within a few minutes by just searching Google or Delicious. With social networks, if I “once knew someone” who could answer a question quickly; chances are that person is either a Facebook friend, or has contact with a Facebook friend. All I need to do is post a question and I’m immediately connected with an old acquaintance that has the information or a connection to the information I need.
I still depend on other people for much of my learning, but I find I connect with others in ways I could never have imaged just a few years ago.

Now I send text messages and emails. I participate in bulletin board discussions, Facebook, and blogs. I “argue” with others online making the case for my view of how things should be done. Sometimes others persuade me of their opinions. Sometimes I persuade them. Sometimes I wish I had not persuaded them, because new information forces me to reconsider my opinion.

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey [Ed.], Emerging perspectives on