What was most surprising for me is that I am the classic adult learner, meaning a lot of the attributes described in the theories in our course literature on adult learners feels like someone is writing directly about me.  “These theories emphasize self-direction, flexibility, and the process of learning, rather than the content. They are learner-centered and recognize the importance of a customized approach to learning. They also focus on the fact that adults are different from children. Adults have experience and are self-directed and independent” (Cercone, 2008).

I am very self-directed.  I am getting this master’s degree for the sole purpose of bridging the gap at our organization (USC Shoah Foundation, between educators who need to build online courses and the technologists that implement those requirements.  My goal is to help the educators tune their lessons and technical requirements to our secondary education and adult audiences while helping my technical team implement correctly the meaning of the educator’s requirements.

I find the ARCS model very helpful in connecting learning theories, learning strategies, educational technology and motivation together when creating online courses for both secondary students and adults.  “The ARCS model of motivational design (Keller, 1987a, 1987b) provides a systematic, seven-step approach (Keller, 1997) to designing motivational tactics into instruction. It incorporates needs assessment based on an analysis of the target audience and existing instructional materials, supports the creation of motivational objectives and measures based on an analysis of the motivational characteristics of the learners, provides guidance for creating and selecting motivational tactics, and follows a process that integrates well with instructional design and development. The analysis of motivational needs and corresponding selection of tactics are based on four dimensions of motivation. These dimensions were derived from a synthesis of research on human motivation and are known as attention (A), relevance (R), confidence (C), and satisfaction (S), or ARCS. Numerous reports and studies have described and confirmed the validity of this model” (Keller, 1999).

I find for keeping attention, bringing in different techniques from various learning strategies (not styles) we have learned helpful.  Elaboration, taking information and embellishing it, comprehension monitoring, having the student stop periodically and self-evaluate if they are understanding the new lessons, and finally mnemonics, which make it easier to learn important lists. (Ormrod, video file, retrieved from

I find for giving relevance and confidence to the student, intrinsic motivation techniques, like constant feedback to make sure the learner feels they understand the new lessons, are important for both secondary education and adult learners.  Also, extrinsic techniques, like grades.  Extrinsic techniques however are more important to secondary education learners than adult learners.  (Ormrod, Schunk and Gredler, 2009).

I find for providing satisfaction to the student, connectivism through social networks and educational technology (Siemens, 2005) provide confidence as well as the student feeling they are gaining a “High applicability of acquired skills” (Keller, 1999).

At the USC Shoah Foundation we create hundreds of online lessons for tolerance education and anti-bullying in secondary education and highly self-directed research systems for higher education and researchers.  I plan on using the ARCS model quite a bit to help our education team supply the best online activities and research systems possible.


Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design. AACE Journal, 16(2), 137–159. Retrieved from

USC Shoah Foundation –

Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).

Keller, J. M. “Strategies for Stimulating the Motivation to Learn.” Performance and Instruction, 1987a, 26 (8), 1–7.

Keller, J. M. “The Systematic Process of Motivational Design.” Performance and Instruction, 1987b, 26 (9), 1–8.

Keller, J. M. “Motivational Design and Multimedia: Beyond the Novelty Effect.” Strategic Human Resource Development Review, 1997, 1 (1), 188–203.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Learning styles and strategies [Video file].

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson. pp. 254-261)

George Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, 2005 ( )


Fitting the Pieces Together

In my first week of class for Education 6115 I was asked to think about how I learned.  I attributed much of the way I learn to the fact that I am introvert.  Later, I learned this “learning style” may have an effect on how I learn, it does not accurately describe the type of learner I am.  “identifying a student’s learning style and teaching to that learning style may not be enough because the student’s learning style may fluctuate across concepts/lessons” (Gilbert and Swanier, 2008).

I am a classic adult learner, self-directed and interested in limited guidance while I gain the knowledge I need to improve my capabilities at work.  This means I prefer lessons based on constructivist theory.  “Personal relevance of the content, involvement of the learner in the process, and deeper understanding of underlying concepts are some of the intersections between emphases in constructivism and adult learning principles.”  (

I like learning through social interaction online and leverage heavily my network of resources or connectivism.  Most of my technical interaction with learning is through my connected network of Social Networking, Business, Professional Organizations and Electronic resources (  It is important that the technical tools I use give me access to real people as I need them.  The more I feel like there are real people behind my online coursework the more engaged I become (Kear, Chetwynd and Jefferis, 2014).

I now have a much greater understanding of how I might construct online lessons for youth versus adults.  Youth need to be directed in their learning environments, while adults need to be able to call upon resources as they are needed since they are largely self-directed.  This helps me also understand some of the struggles new scholars entering college might face in a world where they are no longer directed and have to now be self-directed and maybe some bridge tools that the USC Libraries can begin to build for new scholars.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.

Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. McGraw-Hill Education.

KEAR, Karen; CHETWYND, Frances; JEFFERIS, Helen. Social presence in online learning communities: the role of personal profiles. Research in Learning Technology, [S.l.], v. 22, aug. 2014. ISSN 2156-7077.  Available at: <>.

Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from

Constructivism –

Mapping my Learning Connections for Education 6115 – Week 5

“Our knowledge literally is distributed across other networks of human beings, technological devices, and other ends. That’s where connectivism starts to come into play.” (George Siemens, Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Connectivism [Video File]).

Work, self-directed education and my personal life are the activities that I learn through (blue, purple and green bubbles in the mind map). The content I learn from comes from electronic resources, social networking, professional organizations and businesses (yellow bubbles). These content resources are filtered through the activities, or lenses of my personal life to create my network of learning.

I gain both passive and self-directed knowledge, or get questions answered from my activities. The types of learning match very closely with the four lenses of learning (Foley, 2004, pp. 55-68) overlaid over my activities, which are fed from my content sources.

1. Learning as acquisition, or acquiring new skills such as learning a language. I find this type of learning comes from content providers directly in the form of books, articles and presentations.
2. Learning as reflection, or the creation of new meaning and invention. I find that I learn in this way often in communicating new ideas during work or education.
3. Learning as a practice-based community process, or learning through community processes and interaction. I find that my interactions in projects at work or in my personal life generate a high volume of this type of learning.
4. Learning as an embodied co-emergent process, or learning based on relationships between people. Whether mentors I have, or experts I work with, as we communicate and build I am in a state of constant learning in my varied work efforts and personal commitments.

My personal learning network absolutely supports the tenets of connectivism.

“The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. This cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) allows learners to remain current in their field through the connections they have formed.” (Siemens, 2005)

From my mind map, you will see me as the individual in the middle. You can then see based on my activities which organizations provide content. The content is then fed to me through a number of vehicles, including social networking over the internet, email, personal communications and presentations. This is how I keep up to date with activities and board I serve on in my personal life and the ongoing education I do through Walden. In my work life this is especially important to my ability to keep current in the work I do as head of IT for the USC Libraries and USC Shoah Foundation, as well as my consulting practice and various internet startups. Business, professional organizations, electronic resources and social networks constantly keep me up to date.

(Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. McGraw-Hill Education., pp. 55-68))
George Siemens, Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Connectivism [Video File]
George Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, 2005 ( )

New resources for Week 2 of Education 6115

Mind Maps

In week 5 of Education 6115 we will be asked to make Mind Maps.  I looked in the Walden Library on what books we have on Mind Maps and found one of interest (McLeod, Scott, and Lehmann, Chris. What School Leaders Need to Know about Digital Technologies and Social Media. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. ).

The description of mind mapping from the book is as follows: “Mind mapping is a powerful format in which students can visualize and manipulate information. Online mind-mapping tools provide teachers and students with flexible platforms for sharing thoughts, developing ideas, and synthesizing information in a visual format. Research supports the concept of mind mapping as a powerful teaching and learning strategy. The flexibility of online mind mapping tools enhances that proved strategy.” (Mcleod and Lehmann, 2011, pg. 114).

I look forward to learning more about mind mapping as problem solving and learning tool.  The book also contains 17 chapters, mind mapping which is only one, explaining ties to education for a number of other digital technologies and social media.

EDUCAUSE and the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment

EDUCAUSE (http://www.educause.cedu) is a nonprofit association committed to advancing higher education.  They release a number of very interesting papers.

One recently released is called The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment.  This paper talks about research into the next generation of Learning Management Systems called Next Generation Digital Learning Environments.  Learning Management Systems are such a large part of education today, especially at Universities like Walden, that reading about their next technical incarnation is fascinating.  The cited resources are also very helpful in getting a picture of what the direction that the EDUCAUSE researchers think future LMS systems will be going.  The abstract is below:


“In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EDUCAUSE explored the gaps between current learning management tools and a digital learning environment that could meet the changing needs of higher education. Consultations with more than 70 community thought leaders brought into relief the contours of a next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE). Its principal functional domains are interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design. Since no single application can deliver in all those domains, we recommend a “Lego” approach to realizing the NGDLE, where NGDLE-conforming components are built that allow individuals and institutions the opportunity to construct learning environments tailored to their requirements and goals.”

Week 1 – Education 6115 – Walden University – WK1AssgnGustmanS

This week’s post is about identifying blogs and resource sites relevant to the field of instructional design or training in my workplace and for this class.

I run the technology departments for the USC Shoah Foundation ( and the USC Libraries (  My goal in getting this Masters is to be able to guide my technical teams better in the creation of online learning systems.  As such, I was looking for blogs relevant to this course and online learning systems for secondary, higher and public education as well as libraries.

Dr. Artino – When googling our Professor, Dr. Artino, two resources struck me as helpful for this class and work.  The first is his WordPress blog,  As a model for a blog in general it is a good site to emulate and the resources themselves are interesting both in the context of this class and my work.  The one resource of particular interest since my technology team is responsible for making online education systems for secondary, higher education and the public is The Internet and Higher Education, which I now plan to read regularly.  Also, Dr. Artino has a Master’s Portfolio site up from when he received his own Masters in Instructional Systems: Open & Distance Learning.  This is an extremely interesting model in self evaluation which could be helpful in evaluating my own learning style and capabilities.

Constructivism – Brenda Sherry, Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education, has created a blog called the Learning Zone.  The Learning Zone is “interested in engaging and empowering students using constructivist learning environments that bring the arts, science, math and technology together in powerful ways.”  I find the way that Ms. Sherry talks about constructivism and its application in education very helpful in understanding the theory as well as its real world application.  Ms. Sherry has also been involved with leadership techniques to promote education in her area I also find helpful.

Libaries and Instructional Design – I found two blogs that are helpful in the specific area of Libraries and Instructional Design.  The ACRLog is “blogging by and for academic research librarians”.  The Blog talks about new techniques in helping University faculty and researchers find and use information online for their research and classes.  I also found the personal blog of a Amanda Hovious, a Librarian and Instructional Designer, whose blog Designer Librarian talks about the challenges of teaching in a Library from an Instructional Designer’s point of view.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) –  I find the ISTE Connect Blog as well as the Professional Learning Networks a very helpful resource for building online learning systms.   “ISTE is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.”  ISTE manages standards and certifies electronic resources through their “Seal of Alignment” program.  In 2012 my technical team at the USC Shoah Foundation built our first ISTE aligned education resource called iWitness.  This experience and working with our education team to build this application is what motivated me to get my Masters in Instructional Design and Technology so I could better understand how to help our education teams deploy online learning systems.