Evidence: Topic 3 Learning Activity: Your Online Learning Design model (Sept, 27, 2013)
OLTD Learning Outcome addressed: Integrate current cognitive learning and brain-based learning theory
Reflection to Support Evidence:
Creating an online learning design model involved careful consideration of my own teaching philosophy relative to different learning theories. I used SmartArt, a tool in Microsoft Powerpoint, to create a visual model that represented my ideas around learning. I then explained my model in a short summary. The files for each are linked below.
When I first attempted to create a visual model, I struggled with how I could get everything to fit neatly together. I had never used SmartArt before, so there were a few bumps along the way as I became familiar with the tool. I knew how I did things in the classroom, but I had never been asked to articulate it in any way, and I found it incredibly challenging to put my thoughts on (digital) paper. There were several false starts.
This learning activity was assigned after spending time discussing different schools of learning and learning styles. I revisited this information and thought about how it applied to how I teach. Effectively using brain-based learning requires an understanding of your student and their learning environment. I incorporated this idea in the design step of my learning model, where I consider who my learners are, where they come from and what they value. I integrate three different schools of learning throughout my courses (behaviourist, cognitive and constructivist), although I would like to improve upon using the constructivist model and include more case studies or project style learning. I also learned that assessment (or evaluation) is not only a measure of achievement but can also provide motivation. Brain-based learning suggests that students’ motivation is increased by immediate, constructive feedback. I included this idea in my evaluation portion of my learning model, providing learners with both formative and summative assessments. I also felt it was important to allow the learners to evaluate me and the way they were learning, so I included evaluation “by learners” in my process. In the end, I feel I created a learning model that integrates cognitive learning and brain-based learning theory.
Much research is currently being conducted on how the brain learns, and it is important to integrate current learning theory into your teaching. Understanding that learning improves when students are engaged and feel safe and relaxed helps to shape the way an instructor designs a course, course content and activities. One way of implementing this outcome in my practice is to lead discussions with my students regarding the connection between nutrition, adequate sleep and learning. I will also continue to reflect on brain-based learning theory when I create new activities for my courses.
A good summary of Key Findings on Brain-based Learning can be found here.