1. What were the most important things I learned this semester?
This semester I learned about a variety of learning theories. Some of those included the more traditional learning theories such as constructivism, behaviorism and cognitivism and this provided a refreshing review of those. What was most valuable though was to see how these theories relate to the new “emerging” theories related closely to the spread of educational technology in learning.
Another thing I learned is that the learning theories are quite often complementary to each other or contain elements of each other and that the important aspect of all is to help educators enhance learner’s performance and knowledge. The role of educational technology and e-learning nowadays have been based on many of those learning theories
and there has been a lot of research to make that possible.
And one final thing I learned is to write a synthesis paper as this was my first time to do so. Although it was not an easy task and required a lot of research and reading I consider it a valuable skill.
2. How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?
My research for this course focused on cognitive learning and cognitive load theory and it was very interesting to recognize some of the features of cognitive load in the experiments conducted by various researchers. I was able to relate their results to the reality of my own online teaching and course design and made me thinking of improving some features in the online course I teach, e.g. discussions.
3. Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?
As I mentioned above the research for the final synthesis paper of the course made me relate the cognitive load theory to some of the load that my online students experience in their learning. It made me think of how I can improve on the instructional design of the course I teach so that students improve their performance. I definitely will use some of the ideas of the cognitive load theory.
The skills I learned while researching materials for the final synthesis paper will be useful in the future if I decide to so another research.
4. Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?
1/ Final Synthesis paper
Learner Characteristics: 1.4.b – Describe and/or document specific learner characteristics, which influence the selection
Learner characteristics are crucial in determining the instructional strategies and pedagogical approach in order to maximize of instructional strategies. learning.
Media Utilization: 3.1.1 – Identify key factors in selecting and using technologies appropriate for learning situations specified in the instructional design process.
My paper on cognitive approach to online learning underlines that effective instructional design for online courses needs to pay close attention to the types of cognitive load of tasks as these types affect learning.
2/ Learning Theories Paper
Instructional Systems Design: 1.1.c – Identify learning theories from which each model is derived and the consequent
This paper required that a learning theory is considered in relation to an educational model.
I chose to explore Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive development and relate it to the growing interest in more inquiry-based instruction and learning in high school.
3/ Annotated Bibliography
Computer-Based Technologies: 2.3.4 – Incorporate the use of the Internet, library online catalogs and electronic databases to meet the reference and learning needs of students and teachers.
This task required of me to research peer- reviewed professional resources on a topic of my choice related to a learning theory. The completion of this assignment involved the use of Internet, online catalogs and libraries.
The first thing I would like to note down about my reflection this week is that the reflection topic seems to be the same as in topic 3 without any change whatsoever. I wondered if it is by chance or if this week’s reflection is just an extension of topic 3 reflection.
Now that I have written this I would like to switch to what I learned from drafting the Synthesis paper. There is a lot out there to read but not so much after 2010, it seems. My chosen topic underwent some modifications but I still stuck to Cognitive learning theory and Cognitive Load Theory. And researched the implication of this theory and approaches to learning to online learning .
First, I managed to relate the theory to the reality due to some very good practical examples in the articles I found online. I am still unsure about the title and the synthesis paper still needs quite a lot of polishing but this will be my focus in the coming month. I learned a lot from the articles I read and it was especially interesting to me to read about the recent research on the topic of CLT and how it related to online education. I could easily relate some of the findings as a result of studies to my own online experiences as an online instructor and as an online student.
One especially relevant study was the study about the quality of online discussions and strategies to improve that based on CLT. It gave me some ideas on what my discussions should not be like and how to improve their design. It also confirmed my long-standing suspicion that discussions in the format in which they are presented in most of my online courses- both as a teacher and as a student, are totally irrelevant due to the extraneous cognitive load they impose on learners
In your Module 3 Reflection extend your linkages between theories of learning, theories of educational technology and your own classroom instruction or professional practice.
This week’s discussion with so many chapter summaries made me think of what parts of those educational theories have been applied in the online course I have developed and teach.
I was able to make linkages with Chapter 5 which describes argumentation as a way of learning and mastering knowledge. In the online course I teach as well as in the ones I follow this and previous semester we have a lot of discussions. Our discussions in the IB Economics online course are pretty much focused around Theory of Knowledge approach and our students need to show their understanding and insights on the topics learned in the week. I agree with the reading about argumentation that learners do not always have the skills to build an argument but have also seen learners who enjoy their contributions to the class discussions and also build strong arguments which help their peers gain valuable insights in the economic concepts studied.
Another learning theory that stuck chord with the way our IB course has been designed is the theory of learning through case studies. We have a few case studies in the courses which students are required to either create presentation on using certain guiding questions or just discuss questions in a discussion forum. Later on students need to use this experience to apply their knowledge to real-world raw extracts and write a commentary on the events in the extract. Thus using the case based scenarios our courses lead the students towards the writing of their Internal Assessment commentaries.
And the assignment of the annotated bibliography also contributed to my understanding that usually a mix of theories and approaches to teaching and learning leads to the best results and student achievements. Although I still find it quite challenging to keep myself focused on only one area in the Annotated Bibliography assignment for this module. Provision of some examples from previous students of this assignment as well as more guidance on the areas to research would have been very useful.
In this module I reviewed about epistemology and epistemological systems – theories that I have studied some time
ago and that have been well forgotten until now. Always good to review those from time to time. I also learned about communities of practice- seems to me only the terminology sounds new but basically what I have been doing in my work is based on the communities of practice learning as these days we talk about learning communities which share
similar values and beliefs, have similar aims, contribute to the enrichment of learning and experience of all involved.
As I am an online teacher and course developer I actually use technology extensively. What s important is to make sure to ‘personalize” technology, in my opinion.
I find the reading repetitive from so many sources and would prefer to have two or three basic readings for the week, which are consistent and build upon each other.
In the text I could see the links made between learning theories and learning environments and liked all the examples given as they gave me a clear idea what this subject is all about and how it relates to learning environments. I hope we will have more of those examples in the course to explore and see learning environments.
1. Where are you now, in terms of your own teaching and professional practice and the inclusion of educational technology in that process?
I consider myself pretty advanced in terms of my own teaching as I have established myself as an International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher of Economics and Business Management. And not only am I a teacher of those IB subjects but I also consider myself a successful teacher judging by the results that my students are achieving. Up to 2012 I was teaching in a face-2- face environment in an international IB schools. The results of my students were consistently above the world average, which is a very positive and rewarding thing for a teacher in such a demanding program.
Since 2007 I have also been an examiner for IB Business and Management, which has helped me a lot to understand clearly the external assessment in the subject and to guide my own students towards achieving high scores on the external exams.
Since 2009 I have been a workshop leader and have facilitated many workshops in both Economics and Business Management since then. This allowed me to share my experience with fellow teachers and also to experience new ideas and enrich my own teaching practice. Part of the workshop is closely related to implementation of technology in the process of teaching the subject matter and the sharing of ideas and experiences have been valuable in the workshops.
Also since 2009 I have joined Best Education *, facilitating the first trial online IB course in Economics. At that time the course was delivered through the First Education * and I was lucky to work with a team of professionals and especially the lady in charge of the project, who was versatile in many online tools and made sure to prepare me for working with all those tools. The LMS at the time was Blackboard and as later I had to review and make changes to the course together with a colleague we were trained really well to work on instructional design and to work with the platform fluently.
Later on Best Education decided to deliver the courses themselves and the platform was changed to D2L (Desire2Learn). Another valuable experience was gained while transferring the content to D2L and also later on when me and a colleague had to develop the course for the new syllabus and implement the changes made to the syllabus by the IBO* (*note: each syllabus has a 7 year cycle after which time it is changed and sometimes there are only minor changes but other times the changes may be more substantial).
The course development experience was valuable as this was the first time when I encountered the notion of instructional design and the different theories related to online learning. Looking at the various theories and models for e-learning now and reflecting on what we have created as a new IB online course in Economics, the new course seems to be a mixture of constructivist, cognitive and activity based sequence of knowledge.
So since 2009 my work with Best Education has given me an exposure to two LMSs (Learning Management Systems), to the work as an online instructor and instructional designer, as well as head of department with around 15 teachers. The challenges have been multiple while the online offerings were expanding and new teachers needed support and help to online teaching.
2. What kind of change do you hope to see as a result of this class?
As a result of this class I hope to gain more understanding of the different applications and methodology of educational technology in developing a meaningful e-learning content and creating strong learning environments with the help of technology. I also hope to experience hands-on practice and become more skillful in determining the needs of learners and how those can be met with the help of educational technology.
3.How might your knowledge and experiences influence the actions of those around you?
I can transfer this knowledge to my organization by becoming more proficient in meeting our learners’ needs via the tools of educational technology. Also my online colleagues would get better support from me when I am more familiar with educational technology theory and its application to creating e-learning environments.
I am sure there will be other influences as well but at present , as far as educational technology theory is concerned, I am uncertain of the influence on others. Overall my present knowledge of technology in education, online learning and instructional design has benefited the teachers in my department and the organization I am part of in a positive manner.
1. G. Conole , M. Dyke, M. Oliver ,J. Seale: Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design, Computers & Education, Volume 43, Issues 1–2, August–September 2004, Pages 17–33