Tuesday, June 8, 2021


 Mapping Your Learning Connections

With today’s high-tech world changing at an explosive rate, how learning occurs must be revisited to emulate these societal shifts. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism all were applied before technological innovations influenced learning. They are still valid today when viewed in different ways that incorporate the changing landscape of our high-tech world. George Siemens states, “Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn” (Siemens, 2005). Learning used to be like a complicated puzzle. After the hard work of gaining knowledge and skills though, careers came together like the pieces of a puzzle. Today, learning is much more complex, like a weather system with multiple, continual, and rapidly changing factors. It’s a new dimension of learning with diverse knowledge sources (Siemens, 2005).

How do we continue to learn and flourish? It’s become more about learning how to learn, where the capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known (Davis, et al., 2008). Can we reach out to people in our networks to increase our cognitive capacity? Can we accept a diversity of opinions? Can we use visualization strategies to make connections and see patterns within rapidly changing environments? Learning does not happen in isolation. These are the principles of Connectivisim.

With rising technological advances, my network has grown larger as seen on the mind map included (click to enlarge). I continue to make connections with professionals across the varying disciplines that I have worked closely within. In the past, they may have been more face-to-face connections with local people. However, now my connections are through digital tools and are broadened to include more worldwide networking, rather than simply local. It seems like this is now the best of both worlds. I strive to make face-to-face connections when feasible but to increase my knowledge base, I also use digital tools.

I typically use Facebook groups and Linked In to stay connected and reach out to new people. YouTube videos have helped me to develop many new skills needed to complete a project or activity without waiting for formal training. In the last five years, I asked some very detailed field-specific questions to two different highly trained professional superiors and both referred me to find YouTube videos. Initially, I was shocked, but now in retrospect, it has made me more confident in both my abilities and my learning. I use a combination of internet search engines coupled with friend and colleague discussions when I have questions. I feel most comfortable discussing information that I have found on the web with a friend to get their thoughts on its credibility and validity. Even if they disagree with my opinion, I am open-minded and listen to their thoughts on the subject. If I selected them to discuss a certain topic, it is because I respect their opinions, even when different from my own. I usually always “walk” away, whether in-person or digitally, with an expanded viewpoint about the subject. That to me is experiencing Connectivism in a nut-shell.


Connectivism [Video]. (n.d.). Laureate Education. https://class.waldenu.edu

Davis, C., E., Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology (In M. Orey ed.). https://doi.org/textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Design & Distance Learning, 2(1). https://doi.org/itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

In summary, decision-making is still part of the dynamic learning process, but it is now based on swiftly changing foundations. The human capability to perceive when new information transforms the environment based on decisions made yesterday is key. Developing networks that facilitate learning in real-time is essential (Siemans, 2005).

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources


Are you intrigued by all the decorative animated GIFs that are designed to make content more interesting? Have you ever thought about whether or not they enhance or distract from the learning? This week, I have been studying the brain and learning and decided to look further into how new technology such as GIFs may affect learning. I focused on two specific details, decorative animation, and instructional order, within the immense topic of how the brain learns best to understand the effects on the cognitive load of the learner.


Decorative animations impair recall and are a source of extraneous cognitive load by Annabel Pink and Philip M. Newton


The authors have reviewed that the brain’s working memory has a limited capacity for processing new information in real-time and cognitive load theory pursues reducing unnecessary loads on working memory to avert overwhelming it (Pink & Newton, 2020). Interestingly, this study found that recalling STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) content was reduced when decorative animations were used, implying that they are a cause of extraneous cognitive load. In contrast, other studies (Mayer & Moreno, 2002) found that educational animations were linked to improved learning and retention. Therefore, it appears that a distinction between the effects of decorative versus educational animations needs to be carefully made. The authors wrapped up by advising that animations should only be used when they are prominently the focal point of the instruction and not for visual enrichment alone (Pink & Newton, 2020).


Instruction, example order, and student learning: reducing extraneous cognitive load by providing structure for elaborated examples by San Bolkan & Alan K. Goodboy


Another way to consider lowering the cognitive load is in the planning of the order of instructional delivery. This study presented that there is evidence that the order of instruction as far as teaching concrete and abstract examples of a concept does matter to learner outcomes. They argue that beginning with general, abstract definitions before providing concrete examples benefits the learner by placing less of a burden on working memory. Abstract definitions can act as an organizational cue or signal that allows the learner to better process the concrete examples that succeed. Learners can create schemas to categorize and understand concrete examples. These results contradict previous research (e.g., Ching & Wu, 2019; Fyfe et al., 2015; Goldstone & Son, 2015). The nature of the conflicting results may involve the idea that teaching with varying types of concreteness can lead to different outcomes. Also, the diverse content material may affect results. For example, beginning with concrete examples and fading may work better for some math concepts. The authors conclude that “teachers who help their students structure and organize incoming information may help them better understand and retain their lessons by reducing their extraneous cognitive burden and increasing their capacity to engage in meaningful learning activities” (Bolkan & Goodboy, 2020, p. 313).


Both of these studies were published in educational journals including Advances in Physiology Education and Communication Education. By reading educational journals, instructional designers benefit from keeping informed about how new technologies may affect learner outcomes. They may also take the time to consider not only the content sequence but the order of instruction and how that too substantially impacts learning. Both articles discuss related future areas of research needed, thus bringing awareness about future advances.



Pink, A., & Newton, P.M. (2020). Decorative Animations Impair Recall and Are a Source of Extraneous Cognitive Load. Advances in Physiology Education, 44(3), 376-382.

Bolkan, S.; Goodboy, A.K. Instruction, Example Order, and Student Learning: Reducing Extraneous Cognitive Load by Providing Structure for Elaborated Examples. Communication Education, [s.l.], v. 69, n.3, p. 300-316, 2020. Disponivel em: https://search-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=treu&db=eric&AN=EJ1260813&site=eds-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 20 maio. 2021.



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Doorway to Professional Learning Communities


          My name is Lori Wright and I am a graduate student at Walden University studying instructional design and technology. I am embarking on a new journey into corporate training, design, and instruction with a background in elementary education and speech and language therapy. I chose three professional blogs to explore and reflect upon to broaden my understanding of the instructional design field.


          This is a unique blog developed by an experienced instructional designer of fifteen years named, Kayleen Holt, who later in life became disabled. She has a unique perspective and discusses the true meaning of accessibility and inclusive design from her personal account. It is important to consider that disabilities such as dyslexia are not always seen. Simple access to material is not necessarily inclusive. True inclusivity must include the understanding, perception, and vision of people with disabilities in the design process. There is still a great deal to be learned in this area. With my background in teaching special education students, I am interested in learning more by following this blog and contributing to the thinking about the way people learn, especially people with special needs.


          Devlin Peck is an independent instructional designer with his own freelance eLearning business, Peck Consulting, LLC. He is an active blogger with daily practical posts. He focuses on efficient skill development and building portfolios by posting tutorials. His blog includes impressive testimonials, listing current job companies and titles from people who have followed his blog. One-on-one support is offered. Relevant and current questions about the instructional design field are posed, surveys are taken and an analysis of the data is given. The information is interesting to consider as one perspective in the field. This will be a blog to follow to stay current with possible trends in the field.



          Aura Interactiva is the developer of the Shift company. Since 1996, they have been offering solutions to meet the training needs of all types of companies, small and large. They have a mission to "revolutionize online training one screen at a time". They do it all, including planning, set-up, development, and implementation. I chose to follow their blog to gain insight from a large corporation that has been in the field for twenty-five years. They are innovative and relevant with such blog posts about solutions for the top three mobile learning challenges. Their research found that 64% of workers said that training on their phones is a must. With advances in technology, the instructional design field changes rapidly and this company seems prepared. I'd like to continue to follow their blog to continue to keep up with the pace of technological changes that affect the field.


          The three blogs I have chosen to follow will offer me a diverse professional community of learning. It will include the varying scope from an independent freelancer to a large corporation. It will offer learning theory discussions as well as practical skill set development ideas. A unique and not yet well-researched area on the forefront will be the idea of true accessibility and inclusivity beyond compliance. Gaining a wide variety of awareness in this new field is a great starting point.


  Mapping Your Learning Connections With today’s high-tech world changing at an explosive rate, how learning occurs must be revisited to ...