Over the last few weeks I have been studying learning theories. Before I started, I had some general ideas about how people learned but through reading and interacting with my fellow students, my knowledge of the subject has expanded greatly.
Based on my recent studies, I would say my original views on how I learn have been broadened. Originally, I felt that I learned mostly by acquiring knowledge, forming an internal structure, and making small changes, which is the theory of cognitism discussed by Ertmer & Newby (1993). I now know that I learn in multiple other ways, including social learning and connecting older knowledge with new knowledge.
I never connected it to a learning theory before but I do have a preference for social learning. This type of learning is beneficial for me in that I am able to learn from others and find out where I may be missing information in my knowledge base. In turn, I am also able to help others in the same way. Often, with this type of learning I am able to see how others work and am able to gain knowledge that otherwise might not have been possible.
Problem solving is also a big factor in my learning process. For my character animation education it wouldn’t have been possible to learn without learning how to problem solve. Animation is a complex art, particularly computer animation, and using problem solving, along with social learning, I was able to learn much more than just reading a book or watching a video. (Though both still provide a vast variety of knowledge!)
Technology is has been a key factor in my learning process. Twenty years ago, books were my primary source of knowledge resources. Today, the Internet and the wide variety of blogs, social learning sites, online schools, search engines, and many other resources are available. Leveraging these tools has enhanced the way I learn.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-71.