Personal Learning Theory

I am a function of so many environmental factors that all affect my learning style.  I only learn when I am motivated to do so and most of my real learning is based on my own efforts and desires.  A lot of what I learn is determined by the people I am around and the situations that I encounter.  I learned a lot about conflict and disputes by being involved with many controversial matters.  I learn a lot about health by the things I do and the people I work out with and associate with.  So where I live, where I travel and kinds and age of people that I associate with really determine how much and how often I learn.  I ask myself every day, if I have learned something today.  I believe that you become what you think about and if you thing about learning you will become a life long learner.

I like this history of some of the founding fathers of constructivism.  Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are two eminent figures in the development of constructivist theories. They share the common belief that classrooms must be constructivist environments but I am sure they had no clue that the future would be online learning.

I have enjoyed reading Marcy Driscoll third edition of The Psychology of Learning for Instruction.  She writes in a very easily reading style and has good examples.  The content in this book is excellent and would make a good text for this course.  I suggest that future classed use it since it is a good reference for future study too.  I have thought about subscribing to Journal of Constructivist Psychology, it is published four times a year but I am sure that will not get the proper attention right now with all of the other readings and assignments.

 

I am hopeful that at some point in time I can engage in an online research project which will result in some good information to shape the motivation factor for online courses.

 

How well supported does your personal theory feel? 

There is something about the word personal that stands out in this question. A personal theory implies that it is my theory about how learning takes place for me and how I learn as opposed to my theory of how others learn or should learn.  I know how I learn. By understanding some of the commonly expressed learning theories, I can correlate my personal learning theory to those standard and therefore claim that I am a social constructivist. Are others adopting the social constructivism? Does the teaching community at large adopt this same theory? Knowing that I want to collaborate with others and gain from their shared knowledge and that I want to build my knowledge based on my interest certainly supports my personal theory. I do not feel isolated or alone in that regard.
 
What research could you do in order to support your theory? 
Research on motivation within the context of online learning could be done to support social constructivism. Better understanding self-regulation combined with intrinsic motivation would be a good research topic.
 
What methods would you employ?
I prefer the mixed methods approach to research. The quantitative and qualitative approach usually does a pretty good job at getting the answers of the research question. Why do you prefer to learn in a group instead of on your own. Why to do you like to collaborate with others and work as a team to solve problems? Both of these would be good research questions that would provide insights to social constructivism

Here is a short video of me sharing at a very high level my personal learning theory.
Personal Learning Theory

I have been learning my entire life. Some of it has been institutional and much of it has been through life experiences. From an institutional perspective, I started out with an undergraduate degree in engineering (1975) followed by a graduate degree in conflict management (2011). My lifetime learning with real life experiences are related to technology and business development. I have been a serial entrepreneur and each of my business development engagements have been very much defined as active learning environments. You have to be constantly engaged with a variety of resources that include people, process and technology. The engagement is also very dynamic and changes rapidly, which requires you to learn from past experiences and to build more knowledge going forward. My theory of learning over time has actually transformed in a best practice. I continue to employ these best practices going forward from the REAL’s methodology (Rich Environments for Active Learning)

• promote study and investigation within authentic contexts;
• encourage the growth of student responsibility, initiative, decision making, and intentional learning;
• cultivate collaboration among students and teachers;
• utilize dynamic, interdisciplinary, generative learning activities that promote higher-order thinking
processes to help students develop rich and complex knowledge structures; and
• assess student progress in content and learning-to-learn within authentic contexts using realistic tasks and performances.

The challenge for me is to find ways to continue the active learning pedagogy within the new technology environment that is associated with online education.

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