Originally, I believed that I learned best by interacting with others and making meaning of those interactions in relation to the content I was studying. This process aligns most closely with the social learning theory. However, after learning about connectivism, I realized that this theory is what currently has the largest impact on my learning as an adult. Adult learning is a combination of “prior knowledge, experience, perception, reality, comprehension, and flexibility” (Conlan, J. 2003). Connectivism allows me to immediately look up an answer to any question, therefore furthering my inquiry process. I firmly believe that because information is readily accessible, the most important skill for any learner to have is learning how to research and make meaning of the new information we are gaining. As an adult learner I believe that we are “active constructors of knowledge, creating new meanings and realities rather than ingesting pre-existing knowledge” (Foley, G. 2004).
I believe the reason I have always preferred to work in small collaborative groups is because while I was in elementary school it seemed that many of my teachers used this method of instruction. Typically we prefer what we are used to, and this is something I have had a lot of exposure to. What was challenging for me, was getting us to collaborating as an adult learner via the internet (in an online course). When I began my graduate program, I made the choice to attend and online university because of the flexibility it allowed me. I did not anticipate that I would be collaborating with my peers on a weekly basis. However, I will say that my view on the significance of collaboration for online learners has changed. I now understand how critical the dialogue component is in a virtual classroom. Especially in the Instructional Design and Technology program “learning must go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital environments, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others” (Adams Becker, S. 2017).
Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Hall Giesinger, C., and Ananthanarayanan, V. (2017). NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf
Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. McGraw-Hill Education.