My network has changed my learning modality from a more visually centered style marked by learning from seeing demonstrations or making lists, to a more kinesthetic style. The visual model lent itself more to learning in isolation, but when I did begin to learn collaboratively I was exposed to many more resources and strategies and leaned more to the kinesthetic type. The kinesthetic learner:
♦ do[es] best when they are involved or active
♦ often have high energy levels
♦ think and learn best while moving
♦ often lose much of what is said during lecture
♦ have problems concentrating when asked to sit and read
♦ prefer to do rather than watch or listen (http://csl.cofc.edu)
This isn’t to say I’ve completely abandoned my visual learning tendencies, but through collaboration with colleagues or classmates I’ve have gained a greater appreciation for learning by doing. I feel that this model really enriches my learning experience and makes the material more meaningful. I am currently challenging myself to get a head start on learning the Adobe CS6 software that I understand we’ll be using later in the program. Now the old Asha, we’ll call her Asha 1.0, would have read through some instructional material like Adobe for Dummies and maybe watched some tutorial videos on the subject. Asha 2.0 takes that learning to the next level by doing, using tools like MOOC’s and/or training libraries like www.lynda.com.
These types of tools facilitate learning for me because they offer a hands on experience and feedback and interaction with students with similar learning objectives. When I have questions this network is very valuable to me and are often the initial resource that I consult. After they’ve provided a frame of reference and some “on the ground” and “in the trenches” advice I go from there adding my own research and point of view. Consulting a network of thinkers to help digest a complex concept is the sort of practice that lies at the heart of Connectivism. Connectivism is all about the power of sharing knowledge from diverse and up-to-date sources. My personal learning network—online communities, mentors in the field, trusted online repositories—is certainly a testament to the theory.