As I look back on my expanding understanding of Learning Theories and Learning Styles, as well as the integration of Technology into instruction today, I would maintain the assessment that I enjoy learning through visual and kinesthetic means, and am an autonomous learner who also prefers social-collaboration on projects. What I did not realize the beginning of this course, is how much my own preferences for learning were reflected in the methods I also choose to teach. I enjoy instructing electives course which support autonomous choice, and often cater to students who have hidden visual and kinesthetic talents which emerge through art, games, and other activity participation. My currently expanding interest in technology is also permeating my chosen curriculum topics, as I have chosen to make it the focus of my organization’s work for this year, and have been advocating for greater access to technology tools for the special populations of adult learns that I serve, and support of technology training for the specialists I consult who also work with such adult and elderly students.
The concept from this program, that resonated with me the most, was the utilization of the term Elaboration to describe one effective instructional strategy. The term “Elaboration” was used in the context of asking students to either write or discuss about their understanding of a certain concept – both of which are verbal tasks. However, Elaboration can take the form of expression beyond verbal methods, as it applies to creating visual works of art, dramatic productions, multi-media, film, dance, design, construction, game development, planning an experience, Imagineering a theme attraction, or a myriad of ways in which one can parlay an idea and the background details about that idea, to another person while also expanding on the concept.
Elaboration is the combination of comprehending, understanding, translating, creating, and progressing on a subject. It also uniquely encompasses each of the learning Theories in its development. One must first accept the basic facts of a lesson to be true, accepting the current shared definition, as a Behaviorist would dictate. One must then ponder and assimilate the information internally as a Cognitivist would require. In order to elaborate successfully, one must share the information in a way that it is received by others – whether they be readers, observers, players, or critics the learner must apply the elements of Constructivism to build their expressive platform of media and method, and Connectivism to bring together recipients and collaborators who can help expand on the idea being learned, or refute the concepts that the new learner may be trying to attach to their lesson and previous understanding.
It is no wonder that “The History of Communication” taught on Disney’s EPCOT theme ride known as “Spaceship Earth,” is one of my favorite attractions (a.k.a. The Giant Silver Ball). From the days of the first discovery of fire, around which fellow humans sat sharing the invention of the wheel, we have longed to incorporate tools into our daily experience. Technology has come a long way since the dawn of communication, and likely has far yet to go. To incorporate the most modern tools into the teaching and learning process, for students of any age, is part of our human nature, and a valuable demonstration of how far we have come, as well as an elaboration on where we might go next. As we continue to progress in our collective learning as a species, inhabiting this planet together, elaboration is not merely a strategy; it is the command to both learn and apply one’s learning to something greater, in which we can all share.