Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Module 6 - My Philosophy of Learning

The answer to the question "How people learn?" is very invaluable. If we can really figure out the patterns people learn, we would spend all our energy and resources on improving those ways. However, scientists, especially in the last century have been offering answers to the question above.
Some say that people learn by experience while some claim that a well understanding of the thought processes will assist in answering these questions.
There is an emerging learning theory (connectivism) that points out the importance of networks and the vitality of informal learning environments in our lives.
If I were to introduce a learning theory that would define the way we learn in addition to offering innovations to improve the methods we learn, it would be an even combination of the existing learning theories. Every theory has something in it that I argue in favor of while having some issues.
For instance, I cannot accept that when we were born, we were all equal in terms of out learning potential, but we learn as we go through different incidents in our lives.

In addition, I think that human brain works similar to computers in the sense that it processes and stores information, however we have feelings as well.

Constructivism brings together certain features of both theories and I find it more useful.

Connectivism supports the idea that knowing how to access certain information is more important than actually knowing it.

My learning theory would consist of all the parts of the existing learning theories that I agree with and exclude the rest. Connectivism would be part of it because I think that connectivism, emphasizing the importance of technology in learning is necessary to fully define learning.


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Module 5 - New Technologies

In my third year of teaching in Russia, one of my mentors loved the software I used in Geometry classes and asked me to give seminars to all the Math and Geometry teachers in the district in groups. Each group would come to the lab four times so that we could go over all the software.
I was impressed by the passion and the enthusiasm that older teachers, especially those who are older than 70 years-old had. They were trying to not miss even a word that came out of my mouth and this commitment was increasing my motivation as well.

On one hand, they were so ambitious in learning the new software, on the other hand they were missing some basics in computers. I remember I was so upset that I could not get those dedicated people to benefit more from those sessions.
They were trying to get me teach everything from the beginning and I just could not tell them that it would take so much time to cover everything that they needed.
According to Keller's (as cited in Driscoll, 2005) motivational design, a set of motivational tactics that are aligned with the needs of the learned has to be created. In order to do this, I have to learn the characteristics of learner motivation well so that I can determine which tactic goes well with which characteristic.

From Keller's ARCS categories,  I believe that I could utilize "Familiarity" and provide little "Success Opportunities" to keep them motivated.For all of these to happen, it is central that I should not be losing my motivation as well.


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.).Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Module 4 - Connectivism

According to Siemens (2004), the main principle of Connectivism is that learning is a process of connecting different information sources. The objective is to make learning sustainable . The idea that one can learn more is more important than what is already known. Being able to pin down the connections between concepts and disciplines is seen as the most important skill.
Being in my mid-thirties, I have had times where we did not have computer at home, times when no one had cell phones and an era without internet. All these networks contributed profoundly in my knowledge database.
Internet was not only a field by itself providing easy access to information but also it was a connector between other nods such as my friends network and academic network, or personal friends and colleagues.
My iPad is the only technological took that I think I can never quit using. It is my primary internet access tool and I have almost all of my books in it either in iBooks or kindle app. Being very handy and its battery lasting too long makes it an inseparable part of my life.
When I have questions, the first thing I do is to "google" it on my cell phone. The information it returns is most of the time reliable and it is so fast. If I am seeking an answer to an academic issue, again I either use google scholar or walden library to find academic publications regarding the matter. Day by day the apps on mobile devices are containing more profound and more useful information and they already became networks for many individuals.


Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved on July 23, 2014 from

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Module 3 - Collaboration

Collaboration is working together to achieve shared objectives. So it would make sense for people to gather to work towards getting each others' objectives realized. However, it is not always the case. It is not so easy to collect people around a table and have them work collaboratively although it's functionality has been proven many times.
Rheingold (2005) talks about two dilemmas: The prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of commons dilemma. The only solution to the former dilemma seems to be the trust of both parties. As for the latter, it is about the mentality. It is about people's understanding of fairness. Ebay example stands as a good example to the solution of the prisoner's dilemma. People would purchase from sellers only if they prove to be trustworthy ones.
I see "the collaborative action" phenomenon as a solution to the issues of today's world. In Brazil, for instance, there is a huge income inequality.There are slums where people do not even have the oven to cook meal while there are shopping malls on the other side of the town where cost of a pair of shoes could be as much as three or four times the minimum monthly wage in the country.
A simple action such as "sharing" would resolve the everlasting inequality problem here in Brazil. When I say "sharing", I do not mean "sharing" literally. I am talking about the regulations that would boost the welfare of everyone in the country. Many crimes such as robbery murder would lessen and Brazil would be a more liveable place for all. Wealthy people in Brazil have so much influence on the politicians that they do not allow for laws that would favor underprivileged families to be carried out. I do not agree that people have a basic instinct to work as a group.
As for promoting collaboration to facilitate learning, PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) are very effective tools.
Green, Donovan and Bass (2010) found out the uses of students' taking laptop to schools. However, there are several factors that needs attention when implementing such programs. First, a scope and sequence has to be in place for students using their own laptops at school to contribute to learning. In addition, the school has to have a climate that encourages innovations and there has to be collaboration for the PLC to be successful.


Green, T., Donovan, L., Bass, K. (2010). Taking laptops schoolwide: A professional learning community approach. Learning and Leading with Technology 38(1), p. 12-15. 4 pp.

Rheingold, H. (2005). The New Power of Collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Module 2 - Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

Learning is a very complex process and what learning theories do is to help us understand how this process happens. Behaviorists have seen human brain as a black box.
On the other hand, cognitivists think that human brain acquires information and stores it.
Behaviorists argue that we can understand people by observing their behavior while cognitive approach chooses to look more at the thought processes rather than observable behavior.
Were we really born with our brains as blank slates? Were we all equal when we were born, and where we are now is actually determined by external factors? Do our actions rely heavily on rewards?
It is really hard to say "No" to all of these questions. However, it is not easy to accept that they are enough to explain the process of learning alone.
The idea that we were all equal when we were born and the environment that we were raised determined what kind of a person we are going to be is something that I would never accept. The closest examples are me and my brother. We were both raised under the same circumstances in the same house but he became a cardiologist and I became a teacher who likes to travel around the world. Interests might have kicked in at some point in time to shape our choices but I believe in the affect of nature; when we were born we already had certain capabilities and capacities to learn.

On the other hand, it is at least not fair to think of human brain as a computer as there are feelings which may be influencing the way we are thinking.
As a result, I think that the role of learning theories is not only to understand how we learn but also to enable us to find ways for improving learning. In that sense, no one learning theory is superior to other, and as we discover new ways to investigate human brain, we will have more clues as to how learning really happens.


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Module 1 - Learning Theory and Educational Technology

Mustafa Sarli

How people learn best is a formidable question that I think it has an answer that is priceless. Finding out the methods or formats that people learn best would provide countless advantages to countries in terms of educating their people and preparing and equipping a faster and better workforce. That is why research and theories on learning are crucial. As educators, it is our responsibility to follow and be informed of such research in order to apply them to our teaching approach in a timely manner.
Driscoll (2005) describes learning as a permanent change in behavior. The goal of major learning theories is to find out the factors that cause a change in one's behavior permanently. Behaviorists explain learning as a behavioral act, and cognitive psychologists claim that it is a process that happens inside the brain, in the mind.  
I think that learning cannot be explained by behaviorist theory or cognitive theory alone. Although cognitive theory is a reaction to behaviorism and it goes beyond the behaviorism in certain aspects such as explaining how people make decisions or make errors it is not enough to explain why people behave the way they behave. On the other hand, cognitive approach is unrealistic because it underestimates the biological influences. Another drawback of cognitive theory is that the human mind is way more complex than a computer.
Our brain processes the information that our body receives through senses. Two different people may process the same information in different amounts of time, and the outcomes may be different. I think that this is about their nature, i.e. the way they are born. In addition, animal behavior is instinctive but human beings do think. Hence the response of a person to a stimulus may be different than the response of an animal to the same stimulus. This point is where the behaviorist approach fails.
I believe that the motivation plays an important role in learning. However, not every person that has the same motivation learn the same. So, we need cognitive approach in understanding learning as well.


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.