First steps in Instructional Design!
My views on learning styles, learning theories, and certainly learning in general have changed a lot since first starting this class. In the beginning, I subscribed to the common idea that each person has a certain learning style and along with that, a certain type of intelligence, and there really isn’t much someone can do to change it. Throughout our class and especially in week 6, I was very excited to read sections of Armstrong’s Multiple Intelligences In The Classroom, and to gain a very different perspective on the nature of learning and what is really possible. Armstrong discussed in detail Gardner’s MI Theory, which includes the belief that “Most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency” (2000, p. 15). I have always considered myself lacking in musical ability as well as logical-mathematical abilities. Singing, playing an instrument, and understanding mathematical concepts always seemed more challenging when compared to my spatial, linguistic, or bodily-kinesthetic abilities. I always just seemed to have to work a lot harder to understand music and math! But, knowing more about Gardener’s views on intelligence and how people have the ability to make reasonable progress in all types of intelligences, I can see how giving extra effort in my past, really did lead to progress in those areas I was lacking. I will never be a naturally gifted singer or play an instrument at an excellent level, but in the past when I had to do both, I did reasonably well because I worked hard at developing those skills. Understanding this in greater depth has changed the way I view learning and how I will approach teaching and instructional design in the future. Taking great care not to limit students to the intelligences they excel at, but instead encouraging them through thoughtfully constructed lessons, to explore the areas that might be more challenging to them. After all, Armstrong said, “a person’s ‘weak’ intelligence may actually turn out to be her strongest intelligence, once it is given the chance to develop” (2000, p.27).
Throughout this class, I have also come to know more about my personal learning preferences. Taking the MI Inventory for Adults in Armstrong’s chapter 2, I saw that I very closely matched the characteristics of spatial intelligence as I reviewed the self-test. I’ve always known I was a visual learner, so this would explain why I like to see charts, see words on paper as I’m writing them, and have an understanding of what design elements look naturally good together in an advertisement or on screen. I was also surprised at the strong results in other areas such as Interpersonal and Intrapersonal, and surprised by even the modest results in musical intelligence! Having an understanding of my own learning strengths, weaknesses, and preferences is vital in being able to create quality, well-rounded resources for my students. Knowing and improving these strengths and weaknesses help teachers understand where we may be lacking and where we can improve, in order to better serve the variety of learning styles our future students will possess (Armstrong, 2000).
These days, technology is playing the biggest part it ever has in my learning. In the past, I would have never dreamed of getting a master’s degree online! But now, having been learning online for several months, I am experiencing firsthand the new, more personal, exciting direction of learning. In addition to my online master’s degree, my personal learning in general is now conducted almost solely online. If I have a question, I just look it up online. It is striking to me how quickly accessibility of information has changed for the world. I will be curious to watch the progress of technology and information availability as the years go by. What benefits will come? What complications might it bring? How will everyone keep up with the rapidly changing nature of information?
Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development