Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ask me again...What Kind of Learner Am I?

Donna Stone
What I’ve Learned……………….

As I reread my discussion entry from the first week aptly named What Kind of Learner am I?  I began to see the learner I have become.  One of my first blog entries had the saying, “You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know.,” and I am proof of that.  So, what have I’ve learned…let me count the ways!
Firstly, I have learned that I am physically (or would that be mentally) incapable of writing anything between 300-600 words.  I alluded to my grocery shopping habits in one of my post, as it takes me an hour and half to shop because I talk to myself the entire time; walking, filling my cart, and processing aloud as I travel through the isles.  Maybe, some of that time could be shaved off if I were capable of writing a short grocery list, but I fear that I am no more able to do that than to wrap up this entry in the allotted 300-600 words.   So bear with me for just another week.
In my first assignment I wrote that without a question I was a tactile learner.  So sure of myself that when a classmate wrote in response to my discussion piece that I may change my mind as I learned more about the learning theories and styles, I was actually insulted.
Now I have a better understand of the definition of learning style and see it as a way a learner focuses on, processes, and internalizes information.  A person’s learning style affects how he/she will then, retain, retrieve, and use learned information. So now let me rephrase my answer to the question, “What Kind of Learner Are You?” Well just because I prefer to write, read, and write again I am not truly or should I say only a tactile learner. Tactile learners learn best through their sense of touch, such as using their hands and fingers. They learn best by writing, drawing, taking notes, using hands-on manipulatives, and involving their emotions and feelings while learning ("Keys learning," 1997).   I am missing some key characteristics of a tactile learner I am not a hands-on learner, I don’t need to touch to learn. I am not adventurous or have difficulty sitting my long periods of time.  I daydream about sitting for long periods of time, and it is not my learning style but my hectic life that prevents that from happening.    My writing and reading come from a more cerebral place.  Howard Gardner viewed intelligence as 'the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting' (Gardner & Hatch, 1989 as cited by: Smith, 2002). Two of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences seem to better reflect how I connect with, internalize, and use information:
Linguistic intelligence is the capacity to use language, your native language, and perhaps other languages, to express what's on your mind and to understand other people. Poets really specialize in linguistic intelligence, but any kind of writer, orator, speaker, lawyer, or a person for whom language is an important stock in trade highlights linguistic intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence refers to having an understanding of yourself, of knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how you react to things, which things to avoid, and which things to gravitate toward. We are drawn to people who have a good understanding of themselves because those people tend not to screw up. They tend to know what they can do. They tend to know what they can't do. And they tend to know where to go if they need help (Checkly, 1997).
SO may wonder if I find myself to be a person with a propensity towards intrapersonal intelligence because I start off each morning with a quiet period of reflection or if it is because the author referred to people with this type of intelligence as tending not to screw up.  Now, really what could I say to that?

A person's intelligence, traditionally speaking, is contained in his or her general intellect - in other words, how each and every one of us comprehend, examine, and respond to outside stimuli, whether it be to solve a math problem correctly or to anticipate an opponent's next move in a game of tennis. Our intelligence, therefore, is our singular, collective ability to act and react in an ever-changing world (Carvin, 2004).  My ability to act and react to a learning situation has grown leaps and bounds during this course.  Where in the first discussion essay I mention YouTube as a means for gathering information in my attempt (maybe not so successfully) at humor, I can now say through this course and our ability to gather, connect to, and internalize information in ways that met our personal learning style, that YouTube and many other facets of research truly enhanced my learning experience.  Through this course I watched a plethora of videos, read a near billion words (possible exaggeration, but I am not sure) in text, and wrote nearly as many. My blog and our discussion group entries gave me an outlet for my learning through the written word.  The ability to write what I learned helped me to internalize and retain so much information.   The freedom to explore helped me to connect in depth with each learning theory we researched.  In this way technology enhanced my learning experience, but did nothing for my inability to say what needs to be said in a short and concise manner.  I am stopping now at just shy of 1,000 words.

Keys learning. (1997). Retrieved from
Carvin, Andy. (2004, January 22). Exploring technology and school reform. Retrieved from
Smith, MK. (2002). Howard Gardner and multiple. The encyclopedia of informal education,. Retrieved February 20, 2011, from
Checkly, K. (1997). The First Seven. . . and the Eighth: A Conversation. Association for supervision and curriculum development. Retrieved February 20, 2011, from

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I am a different learner than I was in grade school, high school, and even as a college student in my twenties.  I am a different person.  My life experiences have shaped the person I have become.  The ‘wisdom’ of being a middle-aged woman, wife, mother, and teacher, along with this digital era of learning, has evolved my learning, aptitude, and successes.  My quest for knowledge is stronger now than ever before and my ability to connect to the people, places, and resurces that I need to find the information I seek is literally at my fingertips. 
The old adage ‘If I knew then, what I know now’ comes to mind when I think about how my life would have been different if we had this type of technology when I was in high school.  What would I have become? What will I now become?
 This digital age of learning was meant for me.  My network of learning now encompasses the entire globe.  Thanks to the internet I can attend a webinar with people from all over the world, take a class with people from differing backgrounds and experiences, and watch videos on how to do just about anything.   Using my webcam I can read a book to a class across the country and can talk with teachers in the next room, state, or on another continent.  A simple Google search could produce enough text to keep me reading on any given subject for hours, days or more.  I email, I blog, I Skype.  I belong to an internet club that connects me to thousands of years of teaching experience.  I read, I try, and I share.  I create webpages for fun.  The world is at my fingertips and I am in touch with it everyday. I benefit from living in this digital era every day.
My new learning perspective as a result of and in addition to the digital world we live in,  helps me to think of the design of adult learning experiences in a different light.  New ideas about adult learning, at least for any given amount of time, appear, are evaluated, revered and/or are attacked; sometimes just until the next idea surfaces.  In Tara Fenwick’s, and Mark Tennant’s Understanding Adult Learners, they assert that there is no one theory of learning that is better than another.  Adult learners come from such diverse experiences and background no one learning theory fits all.  
One theory of learning to consider is Connectivism as it is seen as the learning theory for the digital age.   Learning is not a mental process occurring in a vacuum (Foley,2004).  The influences of living alter learning experiences.  Adult learners these days learn in a world that is technology-enabled where knowing where to find the information needed to meet an educational quest is as important as the information itself.  Each person’s knowledge network holds learning possibilities.  A person learns by connecting to the knowledge of an existing network.  Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources. (Seimens)
The overall factors that influence learning include motivation, aptitude, willingness, the curriculum, and emotional/physical constraints.  In the view on Connectivism it is a learner’s prior knowledge and experiences that influence learning within a network.  In one of his videos on Connectivism, Stephen Downes talks about how people can view knowledge (information found within the same set of connections) differently because each person comes to recognize this knowledge based on their background, experiences, and assumptions.  Personal experiences influence learning.  [K]nowledge is what is created when information is sent from one entity to another along a network. Knowledge is not a thing but rather the growth and development of these connections (Downes, 2008).  In essence knowledge is the connection of information within a network.  Downes refers to networks as something you do not build or construct but develop and grow. 
In an address to Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) George Siemens discussed how learning is transferred.  He stated that we cannot help but learn.  We are constantly learning whether good, bad, right or wrong.  We are all perpetual learners.  Learning happens best when educators provide learners with a [f]orum that fosters the formation of new information connections (and allows) for the most diverse opportunities to connect with the individuals, thinkers, and ideas that interest them (Siemens).  Learning takes place when individuals, explore, shape, and adapt connections. Transfer occurs when there is a connection to, or adding to, nodes within a network.  Nodes are connection points within a network.  Connectivism is strongly focused on the linking to knowledge sources ¼ not simply trying to explain how knowledge is formed in our own heads (Siemens, 2006).
The types of learning best explained by Connectivism are complex learning, rapid changing core, and diverse knowledge sources (Siemens, 2006). Complex learning represents the mixing of environments, languages, and interactions within a digital learning environment.  Our world is rapidly changing and via technology our networks of knowledge are stronger and abundant.   An open social learning environment is responsive to the needs of individuals, is adaptive, and encompass the prior knowledge and experiences of its learners.   It also incorporates a fluid, varied, and contextual content. 
I am a different learner, a different person than I was when I experienced learning in a traditional classroom environment.  This class suits my new needs as a student and allows me to make the connections I choose to gain the information I seek.  I enjoy that fact that I can use the internet to read, view, and connect to additional information when researching and learning about the different learning theories we has discussed.  The flexibility to do so meets and matches my learning style and has been successful in helping me to grow as a new IDT student.

Downes, Stephen, Perf. What is Connectivism. Dir. Stephen Downes." 2008, Film. <>.
 Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. McGraw-Hill Education. Chapter 4, “Understanding Adult Learners” by Tara Fenwick and Mark Tennant
 Seimens, George. "Connectivism a Learning Theory for Today's Learners." Connectivism Networked and Social Learning. George Siemens, 01/20/2011. Web. 1 Feb 2011. <>.
Seimens, George, Dir. George Siemens - Connectivism: Socializing Open Learning . Perf. Seimens, George. 2010, Web. 3 Feb 2011. < >. < >.

Siemens, George. "Learning Theory or Pastime of the Self-Amused?." Connectivism. (2006): 43. Print.
Downes, Stephen, Perf. What is Connectivism. Dir. Stephen Downes." 2008, Film. <>.