My Learning Style

In Week 1 of my Learning Theories and Instruction class, we were supposed to examine how we thought we learned. My discussion focused on how I used to learn as a high school student with lots of memorization and repetition. I am no longer the same person I was in high school and I no longer learn in the same fashion.

As an adult learner, one of the biggest keys for me is motivation. I attempted to learn Spanish several times over the past 10 years because we have some large Spanish-speaking neighborhoods nearby. I tried books and CDs in the car and I was never able to make much progress. Why not? I don’t think it was because I am unable to learn a new language. Gardner talks about multiple intelligences and how most learners have the capacity to expand on their knowledge in many ways. I believe it was because my motivation was low. It would be nice to learn a new language but it was not necessary for me to do so. It was not required for my job or my family life and so I never dedicated myself to the task.

By contrast, I enjoy learning things that will help me in my role as a training specialist. I attend more seminars than others in my group. I investigate ways to get more from our authoring tools. I am pursuing this Instructional Design and Technology Certificate because I predict that our training group will have to change from traditional instructor-led, lecture-heavy teaching to something else soon.

Another think I’ve learned is that I learn best by solving real-world problems. When a problem comes up at work, colleagues often turn to me to help them resolve the issue. I read the help, search the Knowledge Base, and try various solutions until the correct solution appears. For me it is like working on a jigsaw puzzle. The research and trials are enjoyable and I feel a sense of completion when I find the solution.

Finally, this class has taught me a lot about the value of being connected to many sources of information. I am amazed at the wealth of information available in blogs. I find myself jumping from one link to another, unable to stop reading more about the changing role of technology in the classroom. I am pleased with the number of articles and eBooks we were introduced to in this class. Hopefully I can read the remainders of some eBooks, such as Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era [Foley, G (Ed.). (2004)]. We were assigned only 2 chapters of this 17 chapter book and I think there will be more helpful information within. I also find myself employing technology to take notes of important facts and details so I can recall them later in the years following this course. In the old days, a pile of looseleaf sheets in a three ring binder was sufficient. Now, using an iPhone app such as Evernote, or a workstation based tool such as Microsoft OneNote, allows me to write reminders to myself that are easily sorted into different folders and quickly searched for reminders of key information.

So I’m throwing away my flashcards and discarding old notebooks. I have a new, connected way to learn and I am excited about the possibilities moving forward.

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