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Lynnette Harbison Final Personal Learning Theory December 4, 2011

Personal Learning Theory


The answer to the question How do humans learn? does not have one direct answer. The various aspects of human learning cannot be secluded to one theory; thus, my philosophy leans strongly toward the constructivist approach which includes strong influences from both Vygotsky and Bruner. Humans are unique beings that each learn in different ways and, in accordance with Brown, learning [is] a continuous, life-long process resulting from acting in situations (as cited in Driscoll, 2005, p. 390). Situations are the facets of life, which range from a structured classroom setting to a casual conversation with a friend. No matter the context or environment, humans learn spontaneously when needed: by doing (kinesthetic), listening (auditory) or viewing (visual), to name a few. According to Vygotsky, teachers need to hold learners in their zone of proximal development [ZPD] (as cited in Driscoll, 2005, p. 392). Each humans ZPD allows for learning to occur in a process that keeps the brain from becoming overwhelmed. Similarly, according to S. Krashen, each learner can only learn what is comprehensible to them based on their own background knowledge plus one step further (as cited in Bilash, 2009). From a teachers perspective, it is also important to realize that instructional techniques need to be scaffolded and diverse. Teachers need to utilize visual and auditory examples, demonstrate effective modelling, provide corrective feedback, as well as incorporate social interaction, which plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development (Learning Theories Knowledge Base, 2011). In addition to social interaction, Bruners Spiral Curriculum concept states that learners need to revisit the learning outcomes repeatedly. Building upon these outcomes until the student has grasped the concept (Smith, 2002), is equally important to how people learn. Learners also need to be able to construct their own experiences to make learning purposeful, authentic and meaningful. In conclusion, my personal learning theory encompasses different components of various learning theories because human learning cannot be explained by one theory.

References: Bilash, O. (2009). B-SLIM: Bilashs Success-Guided Language Instruction Model. Retrieved December 2, 2011 from http://www2.education.ualberta.ca/staff/olenka.Bilash/best%20of%20bilash/home1.html Driscoll, M.P. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction (pp. 384-407; Ch. 11 Constructivism). Toronto, ON: Pearson. Learning Theories Knowledge Base (2011, December). Social Development Theory (Vygotsky) at Learning-Theories.com. Retrieved November 24, 2011 from http://www.learningtheories.com/vygotskys-social-learning-theory.html Smith, M.K. (2002) 'Jerome S. Bruner and the process of education', the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved November 25, 2011 from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/bruner.htm.