Saturday, December 17, 2016

Reflection:  Learning Theory and Instruction

As a corporate training delivery professional and military training manager, I thought I had an understanding of my career field, but I was wrong.  Fortunately, I took the advice of my professor for my Workforce Education and Development professor.  She told me that I should pursue a master’s degree in instructional design and technology, but didn’t explain why. I’m glad that I heeded her council.

Learning Knowledge Epiphany

            My professor knew that instructional design and technology was the perfect capstone to prepare me for my future as a training and performance improvement professional.  After wading through the course materials associated with how people acquire knowledge, I was surprised to find that learning theory was so complicated and that no one theory was entirely correct as stated by Ormrod and associates Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).  It appears as if learning theorist are in a perpetual “do loop” reaching back to the times of Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates. 

Learning Personal Growth

            I have admitted that I felt ignorant about learning theory, but I was also lacking in understanding my personal learning process.  I found out that learning styles are not essential to knowledge acquisition and when instructing, I should focus on learning strategies that use multiple methods to teach the same information (Laureate Educations, n.d.).  I also learned about multiple intelligences and that my intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences are dominant as articulated by Gardner (Gardner, 2013).  As a result of this lesson, I understand why some people don’t like me, while others love me, and the fact that I care but not so much.  My view of my personal learning preferences changed thanks to Gardner and Ormrod and I will stir away from the learning style focus.


Learning Component Linkages

Learning is dynamic, and the instructional design is the glue that brings learning theories, learner characteristics, educational technology, instructor delivery, and student motivation together.  The instructional designer must be able to draw information from various sources, plan instruction strategy, develop course materials, evaluate the project continuously, be cost conscious, monitor advances in technology, and create engaging learning opportunities for students in classrooms and online.  “Instructional design has not reached the level of scientific exactness” according to Morrison and Associates (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013, p. 12).  As a result, I am an “artist,” and my job is to connect the elements of instructional design together to meet the individual needs of teachers and learners in circular ways as depicted in the graphic.

Learning Career Enhancement

            As a trainer and performance improvement professional, this course helped me realize the benefits associated with technology and learning.  What I learned will allow me to deliver my message to the masses without leaving my home.  I have been inspired to be a stand out in the crowd by delivering my message in dynamic ways, much like Prince Ea. (Ea, 2016) in his video “The People vs. The School System ( ).”  It may not be scholarly, but it seems appropriate to conclude with…. AMEN!



Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fitting the Pieces Together

Learning View Change

Upon review of the learning resources and after completing my Learning Theory Matrix, I find that my response holds true from Week 1.  Constructivism is my preferred method of learning, which aligns with Adult Learning Theory.  I enjoy and excel in project-based, self-directed, experiential and action learning (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003, p. 4-9).  The variations associated with the reality, knowledge, and learning as a Social Constructor (Kim, 2001, p. 2) starts my engine.  But I would be remised if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m also a Connectivist.  I thrive in environments where decisions are made during the chaos and I demonstrate a willingness to change my mind based on new information (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008, p. 2).  I appreciate challenges that line up with my talents and skills.


Personal Learning Preferences

After adopting the idea that learning style identification is not a good thing and that our intelligences are more relevant to personal learning, I’m apprehensive, but optimistic about my learning future.  I have been able to learn using various senses but found my intelligences lacking in some areas, such as mathematics.   Most enlightening for me was that I discovered that I have a high “Intrapersonal Intelligence’ which explains why “I care…but not that much,” what others think about me (Armstrong, 2009, p. 7).  I will continue to leverage the multiple intelligences lessons long after this course is over.


Technology Role

As I attempt to wrap my mind around the complex and chaotic learning domain, the associated technology has blown me away.  As a trainer and performance improvement professional, it is critical that I understand the technological applications, hardware, and design principles to meet customer needs, to include understanding how to engage online learners as described by Lim in her Tech Trends article (Lim, 2004, p. 21).  I conclude by stating that technology is the glue that holds the learner, the learner characteristics, and the instructional design together, but I’m cognizant of the fact that not all technology facilitates effective learning.




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Connectivism: Reflection

This mind map depicts the learning connections that are being used by the Stallworth and Roysters as we communicate with our cousins that we have never met.  The families originated is Tuscaloosa, Alabama with a half migrating to the Cleveland, Ohio area.  It was not practical to meet everyone, so an online family reunion website was set up on Facebook.

The Facebook connections started with a football card post of The Pittsburgh Steelers “John Stallworth” who is my Mother’s first cousin.  Expanding the connection, I posted John’s childhood story.  My Mother’s Aunt and the only living sibling of John Stallworth’s Father saw my post and set up a group chat with about 35 people that she believed were relatives. 

From there a family Facebook page was created, and all possible family members were sent a friend request.  I shared our family history over a chat that some read on their mobile devices.  One relative messaged that he was brought to tears as he viewed the words on his cell phone.  If not for Facebook, learning about each other would not have been possible.  Facebook made it possible for us to digitally meet cousins that we had never met or knew existed.

In sum, connectivism played a pivotal role in my personal learning network, and the Stallworth-Royster case supports the theory.   When I wanted to ask questions, the best digital method was messaging on the Facebook discussion board.  I could select individual family members to communicate with or add them all.  The tenants of connectivism were visible as we attempted to see if we all were related.  There was a diversity of opinions, and we were receiving up-to-date information. 

My Mother provided the institutional knowledge because she was there when our family originated, so I spoke with her over a cell phone to get the correct information.  She gave us the knowledge that changed the family foundation for those that are truly related to us. Those that were not relatives witnessed the rapid learning environment that had a significant impact on our “desire to know more than what was known” about our family origins.  The learning network for discovering our family history and sharing it with family members that have never met supports the central tenants of connectivism and I’m excited about the future connections we will make.




Connectivism: My Family Reunion Learning Connections

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cognitivism and Behaviorism Conversation

Discussion: Conversations about Learning


The dialogue between Kerr, Dowes, and Kapp presents interesting learning theory viewpoints for the instructional design professional.  They counter argued the importance of the cognitivism, and behaviorism without stating whom the teacher was teaching.  Thus, I concluded the most important variable that was missing in the posts was, “the identity of the learner,” keeping in mind that the motivators for children, adults and those in between are different.  The instructional designer must know their audience to reach their audience. The three bloggers may have modified their posts based on the age or maturity of the learners, and I proceed under that assumption.

Kerr wrote in October that he believed that there needed to be “a big” change in learning theory and that “the _isms” (cognitivism and behaviorism) were necessary to help substantiate a revolution.  As an instructional designer, I see no reason for a significant change when there are so many learning theories and the lack of full understanding.  Kapp in his post agreed with text authored by Kerr stating that “each _ism” has value without being a stand-alone concept. I agree with Kapp in his support for Kerr.  I also agree with Ormrod, as she says that designers should focus on the learning theory “big picture,” such as attention, interpretations, and purpose (Laureate Education, n.d.) rather than the multitude of learning options.  Kerr mentions “connectivism” a new element to learning theory, Rock (TEDxTokyo [TEDxTokyo], 2013) suggests more study of “relationalism” which is “in a broad sense applies to any system of thought that gives importance to the relational nature of reality” ("Relationalism," 2016).  Certainly, the instructional designer should consider reality in developing terminal objectives.

Dowes in his post reference to instructional design and the notion that instructional designer’s reliance on behaviorism was problematic and that the theory faded in other communities.  Kerr countered and referenced that we all are behaviorist because stimulus and response exist in every human activity.  I agree with Kerr’s response, but I believe that Dowes was suggesting that “cognitivism” as stated by Atkisson, “attempts go beyond behaviorism by explaining the things that are part of the human experience but cannot be explained by behavior alone” (Atkisson, 2010).   I get Atkisson’s point, but as an instructional designer, there must be tangible results, beyond brain function.

Dr. Ormrod, states that behaviorism is a valuable tool for instructional designers and outlined the concept of terminal behavior (Laureate Education [Laureate Ed.], n.d.).  From her narrative, behaviorism provides the desired change in the learner and allows the instructional designer to plan backward from the terminal objective and develop sequential learning objectives that support the desired outcome.  Using the ADDIE model of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command validates behaviorist learning theory much like Dr. Ormrod describes (Harris, 2013).  The Army trains tens of thousands of soldiers a year using the model(Army Training and Doctrine Command [TRADOC], 2014).

In conclusion, I find that behaviorism and cognitivism are complementary learning methods. They both provide a framework in which instructional designers can do their work.  The U.S. Army has adopted the learning theories but call them learning domains as depicted in the Taxonomy of educational objectives (Harris, 2013).  The military reference cited presents no argument that cognitivism or behaviorism are more important than the other, but the military strives for change that can be seen.

After reading, listening, and reviewing course materials, I gravitate to Kerr’s viewpoint that the two learning theory “_isms” should be used as a filter.  I offer an alternative metaphor for consideration by comparing “the cognitive and behaviorist  _ism” challenge to panning for gold ("Gold Panning," n.d.).  The “pan” represents the learning theories as serves as the foundation; the dirt, water, and other chemicals in the “pan” are the instructional design elements, and the gold nuggets are the desired learning outcomes associated with behaviorism.  Finally, I present this equation for your consideration and comments.


 Cognitivism + Behaviorism / Constructivism = Learning (C + B/C = L)





Sunday, November 6, 2016

Brain Retrieval: Military Instructional Design

Upon reflection of the discussion posts for Learning, Theories, and Instruction, I discovered a consistent theme.  Most students stated that they were having some difficulty retrieving information from long-term memory.  The cognitive ability to recall as described in the course materials is the desirable outcome.  In the military personnel are returning from the combat zones and are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which in my opinion is the undesirable retrieval of negative images, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with fighting wars.  The ability to forget a memory from a war rather than connect it to a loud noise of a car driving by would be welcomed deficiency for a traumatized soldier.

Manchenton explains in her article entitled, “New Training Scenarios Help Military Develop Tough Minds in Tough Bodies” how the armed forces are developing ways to prevent the horrors of war from being embedded into long-term memory (Manchenton, 2014).  The Army is working with brain information processing and learning specialist to create experiential learning environments that mimics stressful war-like situations.  The goal is for troops to be familiar with their own emotional and mental pressure associated with the extremes on the battlefield; when they experience the real environment, it will not be shock them.  This type of braining training is not restricted to the U.S.

Instructional designers in the Australian Army sought to understand how the brain works and developed training packages that engage two or more of learner senses.  According to Major Rod Powell, in his review of the Army’s training, he focuses on people and “developing a cognitive edge” which implies that their soldiers are smarter than their adversaries (Powell, 2015).   Both the U.S. and Australian Armies are embedding cognitive theory in training development or instructional design.  It seems that retrieving data from long-term memory is on the forefront along with emotional stimulus in developing future military training.  It would be beneficial for both countries to share their work.  The documents cited offer interesting perspectives on retrieving data from long term memory under extremely stressful conditions outside academia.  “To recall or not to recall,” that is the question for those susceptible to traumatic disorders.


 Ken M.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Instructional Design Resources for the Comedic Social Media Influencer

As I ease on down the yellow brick road of instructional design and technology, I have selected a few resources to assist me on my journey.  The first is a comic strip blog, the next is a professional learning strategy newsletter, and lastly, I signed up for a course development software blog.  The three sources provide a foundation in my work as a comedic social media influencer (  An influencer is a personality that uses social media to promote products or services rather than traditional advertising.  Similar to Larreamendy-Joerns, Leinhardt findings referenced by Artino; “the increasing popularity of online learning rather than classroom instruction.”  (Artino, 2008, p. 37).  Social influencers are the next big thing in advertising.

To be an affective comedic influencer, I must be funny so I enlisted some help from Andy Schmidt.  Andy founded the Comic Experience (  He started the company in 2007 because there was no good source for comic strip training.  After working for Marvel Comics for five years, he went about developing classes that he wishes had been available when he started in the industry.  This website will be instrumental in developing multi-media presentations with a comic book twist.  As a social influencer, differentiation separates the winners from losers.

When I wake up in the morning from my dreams of winning, I venture out into the world, and see every stimulus as a learning opportunity; from commercials, billboards, labels, phone calls, door knocks, and pieces of mail.  To facilitate my engagement capability I found a multimedia resource that focuses on the transfer of learning opportunities in the workplace called the Chief Learning Officer  ( ).  The publication provides a plethora of resources designed to facilitate learning which is the key element in achieving my influence goals.   It is my intent to sift through the best practices and identify those that are compatible with entertaining and enlightening social media viewers.  This resource will allow me to stay current in learning technology and trends.

The final missing element in my instructional design development was a blog that allowed me to combine the learning transfer resources and the comic strip training together into short learning modules.  The blog published by a company called Articulate provides learning software based on simplicity in building great courses (  This blog will allow me access to e-learning software options for social media video.  I view social influencing as an opportunity for my audience to learn and for me to provide that learning quickly.  The tools to help me compete in the online environment come together on this blog.