Learning Strategies and Communities of Practice

The world of Instructional Design has many and varied pieces.  I have to say that as I study the subject I learn more and more. Through the Online Learning Consortium, I am taking a path of study to become a better Instructional Designer. Recently were have been studying the value of learning strategies and communities of practices.

This past week we focused on deep and surface learning as part of learning strategies.  I did follow through and stayed on track but I felt confused. At first, I could not connect deep and surface learning back to the various learning theories (Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Connectivism).

I read and reread different resources.  I found that deep learning is most effective, but there are cases where surface learning is just as effective.  For me what helped the most was an article titled, Deep and Surface Learning: The Literature along with the another article titled, Unlocking the Mystery of Critical Thinking, by Linda B Nilson, PhD (December 1, 2014) These articles demonstrated, to me, how deep learning associates with Cognitivism and Connectivism and surface learning with Behaviorism.  Last week’s focus was Critical Thinking. Further study into deep learning showed that they are critically intertwined.

I also have been researching:

  • ID Skills/Competency: Specifically analyze the characteristics of existing and emerging tech and the potential use as part of Planning an Analysis
  • Learning Trends: Mobile Learning (Pedagogical use of technology)
  • Learning Theory: Practical use of Deep Learning

Communities of Practice

Wenger and Trayner define a community of practice: “A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” I find this helpful and very true as we all have a fundamental social nature.

I have actually been networking with communities of practice without consciously realizing it. I participate regularly with the Brightspace Community. I have been accepted to the ID2ID program. It is a collaboration between Penn State and Educause. I have also found the Instructional Design Central (IDC).  Here at IUP, I have become part of the PI Mentorship Academy (PIMA).

I have found that communities vary in what they offer. Groups like the IDC appear to act more as a resource center, while ID2ID, the Brightspace Community, and PIMA are more interactive.  PIMA is a face-to-face short-term group if you will. We are leaning the ins and outs of grants. It is wonderful to be in a place where others are new to grants.  However, I find myself overwhelmed. Everything we are learning is wonderful but with no grant experience, at all it is intimidating. Being with others who share the same plight as I give me comfort and resources for the process. What has surprised me is that there are so many with the quandary I have.

ID2ID is a wonderful group. Everyone is in Instructional Design. The community members are staff and faculty. We share opinions, concerns, questions, and resources. I have been asking different things in ID2ID ideas that come to mind.  One question (asked me by one of our faculty) I posted was about should faculty have assignment deadline on or near a holiday.  I got several replies all recommended avoiding doing so.

In PIMA, we meet once or twice a month. Each session involves a different grant portion of the process. We can safely ask questions among ourselves and learn from each other. In spite of the fact that the academy meets for only about a year, we have established a network of people we can call on to share with in the future.

My chosen research topic is the pedagogical use of technology. In the Brightspace Community and IDC I found a tremendous amount of information on this subject. However, I was unable to really interact on the topic.

I need to focus more on my research topic as my involvement continues in most of these groups. Having a focus will relate more to my specific interests and keep me on track. Nevertheless, I do hope to be able to support others too. However, I find that time is my enemy. I have yet to find a good way to do this. I am happy to entertain ideas from our community.

Not to exclude faculty, IUP has the Center for Teaching Excellence.  It is a great place for our faculty to gain information, advice, and interact.

I do think being involved in a community of practice is something that is important as part of our scholarship to help stay abreast of the latest topics and share ideas with others.

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