Sunday, June 19, 2011

Learning: A journey of self-discovery

Over the past few weeks I have learnt a lot about my learning. I have discovered many things about the way I learn, and how it has changed over the years, and I think it has really helped me become a better learner. Let me share with you some of my discoveries:

My views on learning

Few weeks ago I thought that most of my learning was Cognitive and Constructivist but after learning about the other theories I found that the ideas of Connectivism, Adult learning and Social Learning Theory also applied to me. I also discovered how much I had changed as a learner. When I was younger I was mainly motivated to learn by extrinsic factors. Positive feedback from the teacher, parent’s approval and high grades were factors that kept me on the straight and narrow.  At this time in my life, there are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that keep me motivated. As well as positive feedback from the instructor and good grades, the will to master knowledge and take on a challenge also motivate me to learn.  Something else I’ve noticed is that how much I enjoy social learning. Throughout my education, I hated group work and assignments. I preferred to work on my own in a secluded spot in the library. Now with age, I have found blogs and discussions to be very valuable sources of information. I have found them to be truly enlightening and have found that the views of my peers can lead me in directions that I would not have normally considered.

My learning style

 Something else I’ve understood is that learning styles and intelligences can change due to many factors such as age, technological advancement, environment, culture and personality. Over the years I have become a more of a social learner, enjoying the benefits of the expertise of other people. I have also noticed that depending on what I’m learning, I like information presented in different ways. However, I’m more likely to remember it if I read it.
I have developed a naturalist intelligence after moving to Houston and enjoy gardening; something I would never have considered in my hometown of Preston, United Kingdom. Something that hasn’t changed much in me is probably my linguistic intelligence. I enjoy playing around with language and still prefer to write papers over any other type of assessment.

The role of technology in my learning

Over the last few weeks, I have realized just about how much I rely on technology for my learning; my mind map on Connectivism is a testimony to that. I always knew that I relied on technology but after listing everything, I was truly surprised. Technology has made learning very instant and personalized and that is one of the reasons I rely on it so much. It has also made connecting to people much easier. As a teacher I can connect with other teachers in other school, states and countries. We can share information and collaborate on projects and help each other with problem areas.  I am able to learn from the expertise of others through online professional learning communities and search for information pertaining to my field of work. I am able to access novels using the kindle application on my laptop as well as my smartphone, which means I am able to read more than I previously could. I use technology not only for my formal learning but also for all types of informal learning. Technology also gives me the advantage of choosing the format of the information; I can read a blog or a wiki or I could watch a video on YouTube. I have also noticed that I now consult multiple sources for information rather than relying on just a book or an encyclopedia. Technology has definitely enhanced the learning process for me and helped me to progress at a quicker rate. 

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