Philosophy of Learning

When I reviewed my the philosophy of learning a wrote in LTEC 5030, I discovered that my philosophy has not changed much but I have acquired more knowledge from the courses I have taken and am better able to support my philosophy.  I recognize that I will need continue to refine my philosophy as I continue learning more in my classes.  I am anticipating that as I learn more about instructional design I will be able to expand my philosophy to show how the role of an instructional designer can support the teacher and learners in the learning process.


Learning is the mechanism by which permanent, long-term modification of knowledge, behaviors, or ways of processing the world occur in an individual. Driscoll (2002) shares four principles of learning, “Learning occurs in context.  Learning is active.  Learning is social. Learning is reflective” (p. 2).  Context provides the learner with the framework upon which to build knowledge.  It encourages the linking of new knowledge to prior knowledge.  Morrison (2015) provides this definition of active learning, “where students apply concepts through discussion, debate, writing, hands-on-experiments, etc. produces better learning results” (para. 1).  These activities can be performed in a traditional manner or with the use of technological tools which can expand the reach of the activity.  Allowing students to work together exposes them to other ideas and ways of doing things.  Through the interactions, they can develop the social skills that will allow them to successfully communicate with a diverse group of people.  Students require feedback about their thinking to further their learning. Providing students with the opportunity to reflect upon what they are learning allows them the give feedback to themselves.


Smith (2012) provides this definition, “Education is a deliberate process of drawing out learning (educere), of encouraging and giving time to discovery” (The nature of education section, para. 3).  The task of the educator is to facilitate learning activities that create an active learning environment for the learner.  Active learning techniques such as discussion, problem solving and other activities that promote creation, analysis, and evaluation will guide students to achieve learning objectives (Driscoll, 2002).  The learning objective, time available, location, number of students, and student capabilities should be considered when choosing activities and tools to use.  A few examples of tools that could be used are handouts, whiteboard, smartboard, and computer applications.  A skilled instructor will prepare students to use a variety of tools to solve problems and complete tasks so they can learn in any situation they find themselves. A great teacher is knowledgeable of the subject matter and has exceptional classroom management skills.  Writing clear learning objectives leads to choosing the right activities for students to achieve the objective.  Talented educators can provide detailed instructions to the learners including the goal, whether it is an individual or group assignment, how and when the activity will be completed and what tools will be used.  An accomplished teacher will be able to use adaptive learning tools to personalize instruction (Fleming, 2014).   A flexible teacher can modify a lesson when it is not working as expected.  Collaborating with colleagues to explore new ideas and resolve problems prevents extra stress on the teacher.  An excellent teacher will be knowledgeable of a variety of learning theories to be able to choose the best strategy for teaching objectives to students.  Piskurich (2015) provides a great analogy of the goal of teaching based on a Chinese proverb,

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat as long as there are fish in the pool.  But design a training program that helps him learn how to stock and manage his pool, and there is no telling how far he might go (p. 15).

Learning Theory

Learning theories provide a source of instructional methods, approaches and techniques which allow for the selection of a strategy to integrate into a lesson and anticipate student success (Ertmer and Newby, 1993).   Being familiar with multiple learning theories allows the teacher to use parts of them based upon the objectives being taught and the level of the student.  The behavioral learning theory is based on stimulus and response principles.  Behavior is shaped by coaching the student how to respond to some stimulus by using reinforcement.  The cognitive learning theory focuses on mental activities such as thinking, memory, and problem-solving.  Knowledge is viewed as schema and symbolic mental constructions.  Acquiring new knowledge is achieved by building upon existing schema.  Constructivism suggests learning is active construction of knowledge.  The constructivist instructor encourages “students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing” (“Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning”, n.d., para. 2).  Students construct their own knowledgebase by linking new learning to prior knowledge.  Leinder & Jarvenpaa (1995) asserts, “No particular model is the best approach; indeed, different learning approaches will be appropriate depending on the circumstances – course content, student experience, maturity, intelligence, and instructor goals, skills, and preferences, among other” (p. 271).  There will be the need to use each of these learning theories to create learners who can adapt to the conditions they encounter while continuing to acquire knowledge.


Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Driscoll, M. P. (2002, October). How people learn (and what technology might have to do with it). ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, Syracuse, NY. ERIC Identifier: ED470032

Ertmer, P. A. and Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: comparing critical features from and instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly 6(4). 50-71.

Fleming, B. (2014, April). Adaptive learning technology: what it is, why it matters. Eduventures. Retrieved from

Leidner, D., & Jarvenpaa, S. (1995). The Use of Information Technology to Enhance Management School Education: A Theoretical View. MIS Quarterly, 19(3), 265-291. doi:10.2307/249596

Morrison, D. (2015, September 2). Four-step strategy to create active learning in any learning space—online, f2f or blended”. Online Learning Insights. Retrieved from

Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Smith, M. K. (2012). ‘What is pedagogy?’, the encyclopaedia of informal education. Retrieved from


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