My learning philosophy is informed by the various learning theories I have studied. I believe each theory has something to offer teachers as they endeavor to meet the learning needs of students. Examples include the behaviorist’s drill and practice and chaining, the cognitivist’s rehearsal and chunking processes, the constructivists’ experiential learning experiences (Driscoll, 2005) or the connectivists’ networked learning (Siemens, 2008). Teachers should locate, explore and practice innovative ways to meet the needs of learners, to inspire and motivate a desire to learn in any environment whether face to face or online. While teachers should be conscious of students learning styles, they should teach not only to their strengths but also challenge them to learn in other ways as well since this will help develop well rounded individuals. The teaching learning process should be learner centered and provide opportunities for learners’ active involvement with the environment and collaboration with others. The learning environment should authenticate the everyday problem solving information seeking context in which the learner is able to build and expand their personal information network. Teachers should be flexible, engaging students and embracing their ever changing roles (Siemens, 2008).
It is critical that today’s learning environment allow the student to slip seamlessly from an everyday classroom into the digital world. I believe that student’s should be comfortable in both spaces as teachers allow students to explore beyond the classroom. I believe that a caring supportive environment should be established whether online or face to face. I believe that the teaching/learning process is not only top down but also bottom up, that it is an interactive, collaborative process through which both teachers and pupils are changed. While I do not embrace connectivism as the sole learning theory for this era I agree with Siemens (2006) that learning is not strictly linear but the learner now has the opportunity to learn beyond the bounds of the classroom. I believe that one of the purposes of teaching/learning is to stimulate inquiring minds and develop independent, self-directed, life-long learners. All of this I believe is critical and non-negotiable if we are to develop twenty-first century citizens.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. A Creative Commons licensed version, Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf
Siemens, G. (2008). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Retrieved from http://itforum.coe.uga.edu/Paper105/Siemens.pdf