Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fitting the Pieces Together


At the beginning of a course in learning theories and instruction, I theorized that constructivism described how I best learn.  Over several weeks, I delved deeper into learning theories and have concluded that no one learning theory, learning style, or multiple intelligence best describes my ideal learning preference.  I use what works, adopt or create strategies when needed, and discard what does not work.  When I began this program, the first class I took was on organizational leadership.  In the course of that class, I was asked to discuss my strengths and weaknesses.  For both I discussed my pragmatic nature.  I consider it as strength because I am results driven without much regard for conventional thoughts and the restraints of theoretical preference.  As John Dewey wrote,
Philosophy, it cannot be too often repeated, consists simply in viewing things sub speciea eternitatis or in ordine ad universum.  If man, as matter of fact, does not realize the nature of the eternal and the universal within himself, as the essence of his own being; if he does not at one stage of his experience consciously, and in all stages implicitly, lay hold of this universal and eternal, then it is a mere matter of words to say that he can give no account of things as they universally and eternally are. (Dewey, 1886, p. 160)
I prefer discussion of how a problem can be solved rather than discussion of theoretical ideas on how a problem should be solved.  As a weakness, my pragmatic nature can make me less aware of the “feelings” aspect of issues.  Where I see resolution, others see a need to sidestep around feelings and convention. I am aware that as a weakness, I need to work on finding balance.

In all of this, what role has technology played in my learning?  Previously, I discussed the various resources I have utilized in the past, including thumbing through card catalogues and scrolling through microfiche.  What technological advances have done for me is provide a faster and more convenient way for me to access information.  If I am sitting in a waiting room, I can use my smartphone to search the Internet for information on whatever is interesting to me at the moment.  As an undergraduate student, I was able to access lecture notes from courses similar to ones in which I was enrolled, allowing me to have a different point of view.  I found applets and animations as well as videos and PowerPoint presentations.  Technology has greatly facilitated my eclectic learning style.

As I move forward, I understand that I may ruffle feathers.  Nevertheless, what keeps me going is that I do get results and peoples’ lives have been improved.  To me, that is the bottom line.

References


Dewey, J. (1886). Psychology as Philosophic Method - John Dewey Source Page. Mind 11, pp. 153-173. Retrieved from Brock University Mead Project 2.0: http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Dewey/Dewey_1886c.html

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