First steps in Instructional Design!
The ways in which I learn, as illustrated by “My Learning Connections” mind map, have changed dramatically since I was in High School and University. I remember when I was a senior in high school, and my friend showed me how to use email and search for information online. Until that point, my research for school had been conducted in the traditional way, like everyone else, in libraries, locating physical documents, and by using encyclopedias. Those days seem like light years away, even though it was the middle to late 1990’s. These rapid changes in technology and the ways 21st century people manage the massive amounts of information accessible to us at all times, form the basis of the learning theory called Connectivism. Connectivism addresses the issue of how we manage these ever increasingly massive amounts of data, and how we choose what is necessary to our learning online and what is not (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003).
These days, when I need to know something on a personal level, I usually just type it into Google. If I need to locate information for our Walden coursework or for my job, I will use the Walden Library or choose a YouTube or Vimeo Instructional Video, respectively. The challenge that Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith discussed is having “the ability to draw distinctions between unimportant and important information” (2003, para. 7). One way to be sure you are selecting the right quality and type of relevant information is to use the correct first step of knowing where to look. I would have to sort through much more irrelevant or incorrect information if I used Google for my Walden research.
Social media has also greatly affected how and what I learn. I reluctantly joined Facebook sometime in 2009 or 2010, and although I primarily use it as an easy way to communicate with friends still abroad, it has been a great way to read about issues and problems important to friends and their friends worldwide. Facebook has certainly changed the internet into a much more personal experience for me, which is something I appreciate and enjoy.
I agree that my personal learning networks support the theory of Connectivism. For example, while listening to NPR or BBC on my commute, I hear information that relates to what we have been studying about the brain or learning. These connections reinforce the original encoding I made when first studying the material, which promotes the likelihood of being able to access the information more readily at a later date (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). If a story or information was particularly interesting or informative, I might share it with friends or family using email, Skype, or Facebook.
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson