The Implications of Tech on Training

As technology continues to advance, the workforce is becoming more “tech-dependent” than ever.  These advancements, however, do not guarantee an increase in human resource budgets.  Therefore, human resource departments are forced to make “smart” technology selections.  In doing so, HR must consider what technologies are going to aid employees in doing their jobs better rather than taking them away from their work (Meyer, 2015).  That’s the thing with technology; for many, it’s a necessary evil.  The key to leveraging technology in the workforce is to choose tech tools that save on time while increasing efficiency.  There are several tech tools in existence now that allow just that, and many of them are cost effective (and some are even free of charge).

Here are a few technologies that have proven to impact the way that people learn and interact and that may improve training and performance in the workforce:

  1. Social Media – Social media has advanced since its popularity exploded in the early 2000s.  Websites such as MySpace and LinkedIn were first to gain prominence, and by 2006, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter appeared and are now some of the most popular social media networks on the World Wide Web (Hendricks, 2013).  Social media creates interactive communication and allows for the exchange of user-generated content (Noe, 2013).  In terms of training, while social media may not be suitable for delivery of training materials, it can be used to communicate new information and content through asynchronous communication.  Social media may allow employees to stay abreast of updates within an organization as well as to share feedback.
  2. Shared Media – Slightly different from social media, shared media is audio or visual content that can be accessed via Internet or web and shared with others.  An example of shared media that is most popular today is YouTube, while there are other shared media outlets like TeacherTube, a spin-off of YouTube that allows users to share content pertaining to education.  Shared media can be useful for training purposes.  A form of training is audiovisual training (Noe, 2013), and this form of training may be used to illustrate “how-to” procedures or processes.  Shared media would be suitable for this form of training since it allows audio or visual content to be accessed online.  Trainees may be asked to access a video that provides them with step-by-step instructions on how to access and navigate a new program or software that a company is implementing.  Trainees could also be asked to view a video as a means of gaining “pre-knowledge” before a training session is actually conducted, say for instance if an organization is adopting Office 365 and wants to inform its employees about what the product is and how it can benefit the company.
  3. Learning Management Systems (LMS) – Learning management systems, or LMS, are technology platforms that can be used to automate the administration, development, and delivery of all a company’s training programs.  Examples of learning management systems are Blackboard and Moodle.  LMS are suitable for training types like audiovisual, on-the-job (OTJ), case studies, or team training.  These platforms allow users to access content readily and to interact with the content on their own time and at their own pace.
  4. Virtual Classrooms – With online or e-learning becoming increasingly popular in higher education, virtual classrooms are now commonplace.  A virtual classroom utilizes computer access and Internet to distribute instructor-led training to geographically dispersed employees (Noe, 2013).  In fact, learning management systems, as shown above, can be used to create virtual classrooms.
  5. Applications (Apps) – Applications, or apps for short, are designed specifically for smartphones and tablets, although some apps can be accessed on computers with limited features or functioning.  Some apps that are useful for training are Moodle Mobile, Apple Keynote, iTunes U, and Blackboard Mobile.  These apps are “simplified” versions of websites or computer programs/software.  Apps allow users to access information and content on a mobile device, which means that trainees or employees can participate in training on-the-go.

What technologies are you familiar with that support training or human resource capital management?

References:

Hendricks, D. (2013, May 06). Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/the-complete-history-of-social-media-infographic.html

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

  • Chapter 8, “Technology-Based Training Methods”

Meyer, P. (2015). Fostering Change. HR Magazine, 60(6), 60-61.

Determining the Needs of an Organization

Nokia Corporation, driven by the invention and study of Nokia Bell Labs, serves consumers of all kinds with an endless portfolio of products, services, and licensing.  Its mission is to “create technology that connects the world” and “to transform human experience” through the latest generation of cellular mobile communication and, of course, the Internet, or as Nokia has coined it, the Internet of Things (IoT).  Nokia offers products to consumers, such as mobile phones, and to businesses, such as cloud storage, communication software, and licensing of intellectual property.

 

Nokia offers information regarding its investors, quarterly earnings, presentations, tables, and webcasts that keep all stakeholders updated.  The company also offers annual reports regarding its accounts and investor relations.  This information provides a wealth of knowledge regarding Nokia’s financial status and whether the company is meeting its outlined goals for each quarter or the entire year.

 

The stakeholders that would be of most interest in terms of needs analysis are consumers, businesses, sellers, manufacturers, technicians, and management/leadership.  Below is a table outlining questions for the appropriate stakeholder(s) in order to determine the needs of the company.

 

Figure A:

Consumers Businesses Sellers Manufacturers Technicians Management
Questions What qualities or characteristics about Nokia’s products or service are of most interest to you and why?

 

What do you mostly use Nokia’s products for?  Texting?  Phone calls?  Web surfing?  Listening to music?  Social media?

 

What qualities or characteristics about Nokia’s products or service are of most interest to you and why?

 

What do Nokia’s products and service offer that is to beneficial to your business?

In comparison to other brands or companies, how often or how frequently do you sell Nokia products? When making or producing Nokia products, what is an aspect of the process that could use improvement for more efficiency?

 

What tasks appear to be most difficult to perform and why?

What is the most common technical issue that consumers and/or businesses name regarding Nokia products?

 

What tasks appear to be most difficult to perform and why?

What are the performance objectives or goals of this company?

 

What strategies are implemented to ensure that employees are performing as expected?

 

Are employees aware of company expectations?

 

Are roles clearly defined?

 

Is training enough to support employees in performing their roles as expected by the company?

 

 

The records or documents that I would request to see are sales reports, training or procedure manuals for manufacturers and technicians, documentation of employee evaluations (which will also indicate what tools are used to evaluate or analyze performance), and documentation of performance issues.  Once the proper documentation has been collected as evidence to be analyzed, it is now time to determine what interventions or strategies need to be employed to improve the performance of this company.  The most appropriate techniques, based upon Noe’s text, are:

  • Interviews – Conducting interviews with both management and employees (e.g. manufacturers, technicians, etc.) will provide insight on performance issues from two perspectives, those who are in leadership positions and those who are “on-the-floor”. One group is responsible for the operations of the company and ensuring that goals and objectives are met while the other group is responsible for carrying out the steps needed to accomplish those goals and objectives so that the company is operating at peak or maximum performance.  Often, there are inconsistencies in how management/leadership perceives the functioning of an organization versus how those doing the groundwork perceive the functioning.  Because commands are delivered in a sort of funnel, trickling down from top to bottom, those who are doing the groundwork tend to be most affected.  Therefore, conducting interviews with both parties will help to determine what gaps need to be filled.
  • Observation – Performing observations of the company’s operations, how products are designed or manufactured, how each department of the company operates, how issues or concerns are resolved and the timeliness in which they are addressed, or how employees relate and communicate with one another, including management, is a method of collecting data that is just as useful as interviewing members or collecting documentation. As a “neutral” party, conducting observations allows me to assess matters from an unbiased lens.
  • Focus Groups – Focus groups in this situation are most appropriate with consumers, businesses and/or sellers (e.g. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint) to document responses to the questions posed in Figure A.

 

Figure B:

Intervention Reason for Employing Intervention Stakeholders Involved
Interview Serves to determine what gaps need to be filled between management or leadership and employees so that performance issues can be expressed and resolved Management/Leadership

“Ground-level” Employees

Observation Serves as a method of collecting data in addition to collecting documentation and allows the company to be analyzed from an unbiased lens Management/Leadership

“Ground-level” Employees

Technicians

Manufacturers

Focus Group Serves as data collection of how the company’s performance ultimately affects the community of individuals that it serves and can be a determining factor in evaluating whether training and development is effective in resolving performance issues Consumers

Businesses

Sellers (Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.)

References:

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

“Nokia Corporation.” Nokia, 2019, www.nokia.com/.

The Truth About Training

Training involves a series of structured activities designed to cause people to reproduce a consistent behavior without variation but with increasingly greater efficiency irregardless of conditions.  With consistent training, people are able to perform or reproduce a behavior with automation, meaning without second thought.  The more people practice the intended behavior, it becomes much like a reflex.  Training is an educational practice that involves instruction, or structured activities that are aimed at learners to generalize knowledge beyond the specifics of the concepts that have been taught.  Essentially, training, instruction, and education are not independent of one another but rather work cohesively together to produce a desired outcome.

Nonetheless, with this definition of training, it can still be difficult for some to understand its necessity or importance.  An “elevator speech” that explains the truth of training and its importance in education and the workforce could do more justice, which is why I created an elevator speech of my own.  Take a listen below.

Managing Issues in a Project

As an elementary educator, teachers are often required to team with a department or grade level to collaborate on projects pertaining to instruction, assessment, or data analysis for the purpose of informing and improving our instructional practices.  Recently, I was tasked with collaborating with the mathematics department to design and develop a project-based lesson to implement with 3rd through 5th grade students to improve students’ scores on unit post assessments.  Our aim was to implement these project-based lessons to provide hands-on, personalized instruction to students so that the mathematical standards would “stick” with them and aid them in better understanding content presented on unit post assessments.  We were given a timeline of one work week, or five school days, to complete the project-based lessons and submit them to our school’s math coach, and we were instructed to meet and review our project’s status daily.  Communication could take place face-to-face, via e-mail, conference calling, or instant messaging.  The project began to experience scope creep when teachers presented ideas for the project within just a day or two of the project’s deadline.  With the project being well underway to completion, these new ideas presented some complications that could have set the team back and caused us to not submit the project in a timely fashion.  Often, when working with a team on a project, everyone wants their ideas to be valued and respected.  However, everyone’s ideas may not be implemented in a particular project but can be presented in future projects (Laureate Education, n.d.).

The specific scope creep issues presented in this scenario were that a couple of our team members presented ideas for how to improve our project-based lesson to make it more interactive for students by incorporating media and educational technologies, such as Nearpod, which is a resource that is commonly used among teachers within our school.  The lesson that we’d already developed, however, involved students having to conduct research both in and outside of the classroom to solve a real-world problem.  Our materials did include the use of technology, but not the technologies that these teachers suggested in the way that they desired the technologies to be used.  While the ideas that were presented were creative ideas, our team was under the pressure of meeting a deadline and wanted to continue with the lesson that we were in the process of developing and completing.

The stakeholders included in this project, which consisted of 3rd through 5th grade teachers, addressed these issues by communicating the value of the team members’ ideas but also explaining the importance of respecting the deadlines of the math coach.  When addressing scope creep issues, it is important to communicate to stakeholders that their ideas are valued and respected.  Often, clients or team members will present ideas that could indeed improve or enhance a project.  However, creating a project scope is like giving the project a foundation upon which to build upon.  Should anything disrupt the foundation, it could disrupt the entire project.  Therefore, in this instance and any other instance of managing a project, effective communication is essential along with developing management tasks, prioritizing those tasks, and conducting a daily review to check progress (Laureate Education, n.d.).

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Project Management Tools

In order to effectively manage a team or project, it is important for project managers to have effective tools to help them manage time and organize tasks.  There are two tools that can be useful for project managers:

  1. Timely (http://www.timelyapp.com) – Timely is described as an “automatic time tracking” app that “tracks, suggests, and improves” while the user trains. Timely records your tasks using its Magical Memory tracker, which stores data in a secure timeline that only the user can view. Additionally, based upon a user’s recorded work, Timely will suggest time entries and automatically add project tags. Timely is a user-friendly app that allows the user to train the app to make better predictions. Users can rename suggested entry titles, regroup activities, reassign tags and confirm changes. This makes Timely a customizable time tracking app that is improved from a user’s edits and changes. Timely is a beneficial project management app because it not only helps users to track timing in terms of project schedules, but it also helps to make predictions or suggestions about how one can improve their schedule or timing on future projects to improve productivity and performance.
  2. Quick Base (http://www.quickbase.com) – Quick Base is an “online task management software that eliminates manual tasks and streamline processes.” Quick Base provides users with automated notifications, reminders, reports that allow businesses and teams to view action items, tasks, and accomplishments while keeping everything on track. Quick Base boasts key features such as Kanban reports where users can “view, update, and share progress across teams and resources with Kanban reports.” This feature has a drag-and-drop card view that allows a team to visualize the order of tasks and also track the progress of a project. Another feature that Quick Base has is Calendaring. Users can view tasks daily and weekly and can organize events by assigning colors or tags to them. The Automations feature lets users create business rules and teams can “perform actions in response to changes or based on a schedule.” This software is beneficial for project managers and project teams because project managers can establish expectations for the team, communicate rules, and also keep track of a project’s progress.

References:

Quick Base: #1 Low-Code App Creation Software | Use Our Web Database Applications Builder Without Coding for Custom Solutions. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2018, from https://www.quickbase.com/

Timely. (n.d.). Fully automatic time tracking. Retrieved November 22, 2018, from https://timelyapp.com/

Did You Get the Message?

“The Art of Effective Communication” includes a message that is presented in three modalities, including e-mail, voicemail, and face-to-face. The message sent via e-mail has a straight-to-the-point tone. The e-mail begins with a greeting to the recipient and notes in the first line of the message that the recipient has been busy and possibly preoccupied in an all-day meeting. However, the message goes on to sound less empathetic or understanding about the recipient’s busy schedule and becomes more self-centered. In comparison to the e-mail, the speaker in the voicemail seems more concerned with completing the task at hand and is merely requesting the assistance of the recipient in order to complete the task. In the face-to-face conversation, the speaker’s body language can be interpreted. The speaker appears relaxed in speaking to the recipient, so the conversation seems more casual and less tense. However, the speaker fails to maintain eye contact with the recipient, which may be interpreted as uneasiness or apprehension. The modality that seems to deliver the message without assertiveness or apprehension is the voicemail.  The factors that influence how the message in this example is received, or how any message is received for that matter, are tone, verbal language, and non-verbal language.  The form of communication that best conveys the true meaning and intent of the message based on the influential factors listed above is the voicemail. This is due to the fact that speaker’s tone seems less brash than the e-mail and less apprehensive than the face-to-face conversation. In the voicemail, the speaker’s tone seems more concerned with completing a task. The message is also clearer because the recipient can hear the person’s tone and receive the verbal language that she is conveying without non-verbal language, which can sometimes miscommunicate a person’s message.  When communicating with others effectively, it is important to remember that those who are receiving our message hear less of what we are actually saying and more of what is implied or is not verbally communicated, such as tone or body language. All of these factors influence or impact the delivery of our communication, so we have to be mindful of these factors when communicating with members of a project team. Conveying a message with one’s arms folded, for instance, can send the message that the speaker is annoyed or guarded, even if this is not at all the case. Even when conveying messages verbally via voicemail, one must consider the tone in which they are speaking and the words that he or she is using to convey their message. A message being sent to a client, for instance, should remain professional and straight-to-the-point.

The Future of Distance Learning

Distance learning, sometimes referred to as e-Learning or online learning, is the method of teaching and studying remotely through electronic communication.  This method of instruction and learning allows instructors and learners to deliver and receive information in a time efficient manner, allowing learners to dictate the pace of the learning process.  Distance learning is becoming increasingly acceptable due to its implications on communication and collaboration across global settings (Laureate Education, n.d.).  Advancements in technology allow people to use social tools, such as video, to communicate at greater distances.  As a result, geographical distance is lesser of a factor than researchers and stakeholders may have thought that it was (Laureate Education, n.d.).  Additionally, technology advancements, such as cloud storage and file sharing, allow people to collaborate at greater distances.  People in various cities, states, and countries can collaborate simultaneously on a single project for a client or company from a remote location.

When we consider how rapidly technology is advancing, the future of distance learning appears to have greater implications on the field of education than we may imagine.  According to George Siemens, as people become more comfortable with how to utilize certain tools, then the idea of distance learning continues to improve and becomes more effective.  In order for teachers and learners to be successful in an online learning environment, there has to be a certain level of comfort with technologies and the fact that the learning environment is non-traditional in various ways.  Instructors have to be knowledgeable of the software being used in order to troubleshoot for learners in the distance learning environment, and learners have to be self-directed or self-motivated in learning the software so that they are able to actively participate in the distance learning environment.  With increased comfort with the direction of distance learning and how to effectively participate in a distance learning environment, instructors and learners will be more accepting of distance learning, as they already are.

From an instructional design perspective, improving societal perceptions of distance learning can be accomplished by providing relevant and meaningful professional development training for instructors or facilitators and educating stakeholders on technology integration in classrooms to support 21st century education.  One of the challenges with distance learning or technology integration is the attitudes and beliefs that are brought into the learning environment before the actual learning process ever begins.  Todman and Dick (1993) indicate that a child’s experience with computers is largely influenced by their teachers’ attitudes towards computers.  On the other hand, teachers’ confidence with operating technology largely impacts how effective technology integration in any learning environment will be (Christensen, 2002).  With the experiences, knowledge and tools that instructional designers have, training courses can be designed to be delivered by personnel, teacher leaders, or facilitators within school districts.  Several school districts across the United States have instructional technology departments within the district, and if departments collaborated with one another to facilitate professional development training for educators, this could aid in supporting them, boosting their confidence, and removing the generational stigma placed on technology.

In an effort to continue the dialogue surrounding 21st century education and to remove the generational implications on technology integration so that educators can feel empowered to use technological tools to support, not replace, instruction and learning in classrooms, I believe that collaborating across departments to develop and deliver quality, relevant professional development training is a reasonable starting point.  Educating stakeholders (e.g. principals, teachers, parents, etc.) on the direction of technological advancements and its growing affects on education is a critical part of this.  There has to be a buy-in from stakeholders because even with the information that we see, know or believe about technology and its impact on our future, many are still unrealistic or intimidated by the reality of technology and its steady growth.  Therefore, educating stakeholders so that there can be a buy-in, and then delivering timely training, can help to further distance learning on a global scale.

References:

Christensen, R. (2002). Effects of technology integration education on the attitudes of teachers and students. Journal of Research on technology in Education34(4), 411-433.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Todman, J., & Dick, G. (1993). Primary children and teachers’ attitudes to
computers. Computers in Education, 20(2), 199–203.

What is Distance Learning?

What is distance learning?

I have believed distance learning to be the process by which learners of all ages access curriculum or coursework by digital or technological means.  Distance learning often occurs in the form of discussion boards, instant messaging, e-mails, instructional videos, digital resources or materials, screencasts, blogs, video conferencing or chatting, file sharing, and slideshow presentations.  These elements, and sometimes others, work cohesively together to create an online classroom that meets the varying needs of learners.  Distance learning isn’t reserved to adult learners or college students; students in grades K-12 can also access the same curriculum as their peers through technology.  While distance learning mostly occurs technologically, it is not merely limited to recording a video of oneself giving instructions or information pertaining to a particular topic.  Distance learning, in fact, is “the most dramatic of the recent technology-based innovations influencing education (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015).”

How is distance learning impacting currently impacting the field of education?

This form of learning has become a major topic in education, and it is slowly but certainly becoming a part of mainstream education.  Distance education is growing quickly and is becoming an important instructional approach; it’s a lasting approach to educating learners of various ages and with varying learning needs (Simonson, 2015).  To be exact, a report released by the Sloan Consortium displayed interesting statistics related to distance learning.  Studies surrounding distance education in the Midwest show that about 15% of students in 11 states are enrolled in an online course, which equates to about 460,000 students (Allen & Seaman, 2007).  In addition to this, the percentage of people who believe that online learning outcomes are superior to face-to-face learning outcomes has increased (Allen, 2007).  States like Florida and Arkansas are adopting virtual learning programs, and some universities (i.e. Indiana University and University of Missouri) are sponsoring virtual high schools.

Where do we see distance learning in the future?

Education is evolving rapidly, and distance learning is playing an intricate part in this process.  Distance learning affords learners of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and abilities to receive a fair, quality education through digital means.  With the use of technology, learners receive curricula and coursework that will prepare them for a globally competitive workforce.  The future of distance learning appears to be opening the doors for twenty-first century learners to thrive in today’s society.

References:

Simonson, M. R., Smaldino, S. E., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

 

The Lifelong Process of Learning

Learning is a wonder that scientists, theorists, psychologists, analysts, and a host of others have attempted to reason and understand for centuries.  Theories about behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and social connectivism have all aided in our understanding of what learning is and how the process occurs.  The definition of learning is “knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study,” according to Merriam-Webster.  To acquire “knowledge or skill” by way of “instruction or study” requires that an intense look at several factors: 1) the type of learners are present (ex. K-12, adult learners), 2) the strengths and weaknesses of this group of learners, 3) the needs of these learners, 4) the instructional strategies or approaches that will best meet the needs of this group of learners, and 5) the instructional materials that are most suitable for this group of learners in this particular learning environment.  Once considering all of these factors, then instruction is implemented for learners to acquire knowledge or skill, build upon prior learning experiences, strengthen learning weaknesses, and take ownership of the learning experience.  The effectiveness of instruction is then assessed by how well learners do the things described above, and instruction is also evaluated by learners themselves.

A theory that I hold about learning is that it is a lifelong process that begins as soon as we enter this world and continues until our dying day.  Life has a way of teaching us lessons that we may or may not ask for, but being a lifelong learner means pursuing knowledge and skills beyond what is taught in a classroom or textbook.  Learning is the process of not only acquiring knowledge but deepening understanding.  Bearing this in mind, I found it surprising the various theories related to learning and the process by which people develop meaning from instruction and learning materials.  I discovered some years ago as an elementary educator that there are varying learning styles and varying instructional strategies to meet different learning styles, however, I had not considered that there were unique processes by which people cognitively or behaviorally acquired knowledge.

To know this now causes me to view the learning processes of my students much differently because I now design instructional materials not just around what students need to know according to state standards and district expectations but according to how the students are going to process any type of information that I introduce them to.  This change in thought is also due to having a deeper understanding of my own learning process.  Through learning about the various “-isms” surrounding learning, I discovered that it is possible to apply one learning theory when learning about one type of content and applying a separate learning theory when learning about another type of content (Kerr, 2007).  During the third week of this course, I was pretty sure that the constructivist theory best explained how I approached learning…that was until I discovered the social connectivist theory, which explained how I may approach a different set of learning circumstances (Siemens, 2004).  All in all, what I understand about the process of learning is that there is this interwoven network that works intricately and cohesively to retrieve, retain, and interpret information and store it in the brain for recall at any given time (Ormrod, p. 95).  If I consider my own learning process, then I have to consider when designing instructional materials, that there are similar processes occurring within the learners that I am educating.  This understanding is what will hopefully drive my instruction, as I bear in mind that I am instructing individuals – individuals that come from varying walks of life with various learning experiences and differing learning needs, and each of them has a desire to acknowledge knowledge or to develop a particular set of skills for whatever reason.

Kerr, B. (2007, January 01). Bill Kerr. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html

Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/learning

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Fitting the Pieces Together

There are all sorts of “-isms” that describe the way that we acquire and utilize information, from behaviorism to cognitivism to constructivism to connectivism.  Several learning theories have been generated to explain how we process information and apply this information in real-life situations.  With so many “-isms,” it can be difficult to understand how individuals learn, especially as an instructional designer.  However, understanding how people process information and preparing individuals to utilize this information in real-life situations – such as in one’s job or career field – is imperative when designing content and learning materials for all sorts of learners with varying learning needs.  Developing an understanding of the “-isms” expressed above has helped me to come to one conclusion: there is no one single way of explaining how people learn.

The theories that I have had an opportunity to research and discuss with other instructional designers range from behaviorism to adult learning theories with so several other theories in between.  Theorists such as Lev Vygotsky and Michael Knowles provide sound explanations on how individuals acquire and process knowledge and information.  In an effort to meet all of these various learners, however, there are various learning strategies that we have to be aware of and utilize in designing instructional materials.  For instance, some learners are more visual while others are more auditory.  Therefore, including different modes of instruction is imperative for varying learning needs.  On the other hand, however, there are multiple intelligences that also play a role in our instructional planning.  With multiple intelligences help us to understand how we can be stronger in one particular area and weaker in another, such as being stronger when it comes to musical intelligence and weaker when it comes to physical (bodily-kinesthetic) intelligence.  When designing instruction to meet multiple intelligences, we must bear in mind that multiple intelligences do not equate to learning styles.  We all are intelligent in multiple areas or ways, and we use different learning styles to aid us in strengthening or maintaining our intelligences.  With various technological advances, researching information, analyzing information, and applying information in instructional design becomes more streamlined and purposeful.  Technology not only aids our learning process but also aids in our approach to instruction in the twenty-first century.