I loved reading about the different learning theories this week and reflecting on how they influence my own practice! As I read about each theory I found myself comparing how different teaching and learning look for my own children and in the classrooms I work in versus when I was a student! Like Matt mentioned, reading about the learning theories took me back to my undergrad and currently I’m a bit overwhelmed with all of the information! Also not going to lie, I still thought the Learning Theory Triangle was a thing!
How have learning theories shaped my own role. My own role is a bit unique as I am not a classroom teacher. As a learning resource teacher a significant part of my role is facilitating reading interventions, and managing inclusion and intervention plans. After a refresher on the learning theories by Peggy A. Ertmer and Timothy J. Newby I think reading interventions have been influenced by Cognitivism. Within the Cognitivism learning theory emphasis is placed on the role of practice with corrective feedback; which is basically the premise of most reading interventions. While reading interventions aren’t flashy or exciting they do have a pretty good success rate!
One of the perks of being a learning resource teacher is I get to see a variety of teachers’ in action and I am excited about what I see! In the 15 years I’ve taught there has been a significant shift to hands on/experimental learning vs more traditional approaches such as memorization and drill and practice. I am sure the emergence of the Constructivism learning theory in the 90’s as well as the increase in technology is responsible for this shift! I see daily examples of learning opportunities that create meaning from experience. Last week my son participated in a Sling shot STEM project, listened to a virtual presentation, experimented with different types of soil and my daughter was learning about primary colors through a tie dye activity! And I was connected to their learning through SeeSaw!
Prior to last weeks class I had never even heard the term connectivism but I can see how it is relevant in today’s world that is centered around technology. To quote George Siemens “Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn.” I couldn’t agree more! I think an important aspect of connectivism will be teaching students digital citizenship, something I am not that familiar with but looking forward to learning more about.
Okay finally back to the Learning Theories Pyramid. Over the years I have participated in multiple professional development sessions that reference the Learning Pyramid and apparently to some degree it’s ingrained in my brain. This week my son was arguing that he didn’t want to write out his spelling words and I spouted off some quote that writing out his spelling words was twice as effective as reading them. After reading the article Tales of the Undead…Learning Theories: The Learning Pyramid” I’ve been questioning if I really believe in the learning pyramid and I still think it has some merit. While I understand the percentages can’t be accurate; I do feel like there is a coloration between student engagement and active learning. Not to say there ins’t a place for more traditioanl approaches. I believe students need a variety of learning opportunities. I loved Candice Benjes-Small quote “People’s attention spans are short, but they do tend to retain more when the instructor mixes it up.” And if your still reading this I didn’t make my son write out his spelling words each night – we mixed it up :).