June 13, 2019
Learning Thursday #14: What is Your Personal Philosophy of Learning?
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June 13, 2019
Learning Thursday #14: What is Your Personal Philosophy of Learning?
Katrina Marie Baker works for Adobe as a Senior Learning Evangelist. Her independently operated consulting firm has advised organizations in aerospace, construction, healthcare, legal, retail, technology, and transportation. Katrina facilitates keynote sessions and master classes for learning professionals. She also maintains YouTube channel Learn Tech Collective. She has authored books LMS Success (2018), The LMS Selection Checklist (2018), and Corporate Training Tips & Tricks (2017). Katrina is a former Director of Technology with the Association for Talent Development. She has worked in people/project management and global training capacities for Fortune 500 retailer Whole Foods Market, and Global 100 law firms Cooley LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP. Previously, Katrina worked in music and video production for clients such as Disney Channel and Adult Swim.
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Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points.  Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below!  Check out the last Learning Thursday here.

No matter what career you choose, your prior experiences influence your work.  Every learning professional has a reason they want to teach.  And that reason influences how we teach, what we think learning is, and how we approach the learning experience.

Here is a video that discusses how digital media is changing how students view learning experiences:

What is your personal philosophy of learning?

  • Based on your prior experiences, how and when does learning occur?
  • Are there any learning theories or schools of thought you use when designing learning experiences?
  • What are the roles of the learner and facilitator in a learning environment?  Do these roles change depending on circumstance?

To me, learning is something that must take place over a period of time, with trial and error, and through repetition.  Learning is more than memorization.  It is a journey toward mastery of knowledge and it is not a straight line.  The learner makes mistakes that ultimately lead to a more rounded understanding of what is right or wrong within context.  Basic knowledge is augmented over time with scaffolds of more advanced knowledge, and knowledge that was initially incorrect is challenged and replaced.

Constructivism is, to me, a good way of formulating a learning experience.  (Here are some articles on constructivism.) It allows for active involvement of the learner in experiential, collaborative environments.  I do think however that constructivism can sometimes be the wrong approach, as it can downplay the importance of having some sort of guide or facilitator.  If learners try to lead their own learning experiences, there can be an element of the blind leading the blind.  We have to balance the “bottom-up” learning experience of constructivism by incorporating the “top-down” instructor role effectively.  An instructor in a constructivist experience may ask questions and lead the learner to identify what knowledge is inaccurate.  The instructor uses their overall, broader understanding to assist the learner in scaffolding.  The instructor introduces appropriate resources to the learner and then allows the learner to decide the value of those resources.

Facilitating this type of learning experience requires that we shift our approach to assessment of learning.  Rather than delivering test questions or assessing retention, we might ask learners to complete a project and then allow the finished product to represent the learner’s level of understanding.  We can use cases and problems to present the learner with challenges.  This enables inquiry-based learning and gives the facilitator an accurate picture of whether the learner has the skills necessary to address real-world scenarios.  We can also create communities of practice so learners are able to mentor each other.

Would love to hear how your experiences and beliefs influence your teaching methods!

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

2 Comments
2019-06-16 21:25:07
2019-06-16 21:25:07

Katrina, you already did read a lot about my learning experiences and beliefs.  One important belief I have never mentioned: mutual respect between trainer and trainee is very important. I dislike the word ‘dummy’ very much. There are no dummies, each trainee comes with skills and experiences that can be used to his/her advantage by a good trainer.

About assessments, was smiling when reading your comment. I rarely used MCQ for any exam in college, worst way of assessing. My students had to prove their skills in projects, and they got a lot of self-assessments. Presently my trainees (for advanced Captivate) will work only on projects fitting in their professional situation. One of the reasons I do not believe in certifications, since they mostly are based on 19th century assessments, not on skill testing.

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Lieve Weymeis
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2019-06-25 05:58:43
2019-06-25 05:58:43
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Lieve Weymeis
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I agree Lieve, multiple choice doesn’t really prove that a student understands.  It does prove that they have retained certain facts, so MCQs can be used to assess retention of definitions, rules, etc.  But only if that assessment is then followed with another assessment – like you mentioned, project based learning and opportunities to reflect personally on learning are very important.

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