David Evans reflection Learning Theories 606

How did project go?

So far, the course has been a revelation.  I had no classes in education or psychology in college, so the material is new.  On top of that, I have enjoyed the collaboration with excellent partners, albeit at a distance. It has been a long time since I have been in a degree program, and the technology and learning processes are very new to me.  The group I worked with has been very helpful providing information on Annotated Bibliography format, and also assisting in other areas, particularly technology (I was in college during the Watergate era, after all).

The openness and freedom of this new (for me) approach has forced me in a good way to be more accountable and interactive with other students.  As an undergraduate, my performance and assessment depended pretty much on my individual effort; that is far less the case now with the group work approach.  So this project work is an exciting and challenging new way of learning for me personally…and the internet is an overwhelming difference.

What did I learn?

My initial reading on Communities of Practice consisted of fairly dry and abstract academic articles that did not convince me that this theory was innovative, serious, or specific.  However, further reading and research beyond the first Wikipedia links I checked out changed my point of view. In fact, my own thinking about CoPs changed from a belief that the concept is a dry, back-water academic theory to the realization that CoPs are vitally important knowledge sharing social networks and effective productivity tools for business.  The Harvard Business School article on CoPs that my associate Ellen T. brought to my attention was outstandingly analytical and clear.

Initially, I thought it would have been a good thing to have an overview of all the learning theories before choosing and delving into one theory.  On further reflection, the process of joining the group already established and not making the theory the primary factor in my decision at the start led to many surprises I would not have learned had I made a choice made from a personal bias alone.

What Questions do I have going forward?

I am looking forward to the reading because I think that the routine will offer a disciplined approach to broaden our Learning Theory framework. After looking at the complex concept map of learning theories that Dr. Ardito posted a few weeks ago, I understand that mastery (or at least proficiency!) of just a few theories will take a lot of time digging even deeper and collaborating more fully with my colleagues in the class.

Thank you.


    • Sam Hoffman
      Sam Hoffman

      I have to agree, after being away from school for a while, just doing proper research is an education in itself, what with proper citations, peer-reviewed materials etc.

      What I really liked was how this project helped me find some reputable education journals which I think will be really in the future when looking for good teaching materials.

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