I remember how I was taught in school. Everything was memorized and drilled. I remember I hated the history class because it was extremely boring; especially when my teacher made me memorize a whole bunch of dates that did not have any meaning in my life.
Now I that I am an educator, I understand the difference between education in the past and now in the 21st century. I understand that I was taught using a behaviorist approach. Boghossian (2006) defines behaviorism as the acquisition of knowledge based on external observation of relations between observable stimuli and the responses that follow. As I began to study at the college level, I could see how the paradigm shifted from memory to critical thinking to reflection and finally to social learning networks.
In my BA studies I experienced the importance of answering why in class discussions. This was the result of a cognitive approach to teaching and learning. Nagowah (2009) defines the cognitive learning theory as the active mental processing of the learner. It was important for the professor to know what was going on in my mind, rather that the ability to memorize the proposed lesson.
In my MAED and ED. D. studies, my professors were very interested in the experiences I had related to the given material. Critical reflections were the order of the day. Their teaching relied on a constructivist view of education. Nagowah (2009) defines constructivism as a learning theory where the learner actively constructs knowledge out of their experiences in the world. Each learner generates their own rules through the experience and reflection of things.
In the present, I decided to study online for the first time. I just found out that connectivism is considered a form of viewing and experiencing learning. Kop & Hill (2008) define connectivism as a theoretical framework for understanding learning. According to this theory, learning begins to take place when the learner connects the knowledge to a learning community and feeds information to it as well. In this same line of thought, a learning community is the relationship between learners of similar interests in which they interact, share, talk, and think together.
Now I realize how my learning networks (see mind map) have changed. In the past I needed to be sitting in a classroom in order to learn. Now with the nonstop evolution of a variety of technologies, I have learned how to access knowledge breaking the barrier of time and space. I have incorporated these technologies in all aspects of my life such as, work, family, home, community and studies. Every day I use technologies such as the cell phone, computer, internet, Ipod, among other advances that make my life and my learning easier to achieve.
The technology that I use the most is the internet incorporated in my cell phone. I am always connected to my job and my studies through this technology. If I have any questions about how to get to some place, how to pronounce a word, the meaning of a word, anything that I need to know, I just search the internet and find a body of knowledge from different perspectives to answer any question I might have.
Connectivism depicts how I and many people learn constantly, anytime and anywhere. I relate the connectivism theory and my learning networks (see the mind map above) to Bronfrenbrenner’s Ecological Theory. This theory states that a person learns and develops through his or her social and cultural interactions through five main environmental systems: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosytem, and chronosystem. In other words, learning and development is the result of internal and external relationships that extend to all that relates to each of these relationships; individually and collectively.
In conclusion, it is imperative that educators and instructional designers become aware that there are many ways to approach learning and using an eclectic method that combines many forms would be the most effective way to create successful learning experiences.
We learn from everything and everyone anywhere and anytime.
Boghossian, P. (2006). Behaviorism, constructivism, and socratic pedagogy. Educational Philosophy and Theory 38 (6).
Kop, R. & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning (9) 3.
Nagowah, L. (2009). A reflection on the dominant learning theories: Behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism. International Journal of Learning 16 (2).
Oswalt, A. (2008). Urie Bronfrenbrenner and child development. Mental Help Net. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=7930&cn=28