Me as a Learner, Participation in NGL was Useful for me.

Starting the network global learning course, which feels like a complete different lifetime ago, I did not really know how to learn from the net and utilise it to its full potential. The course entailed actually choosing something that we were interested in and learn it with only using the Internet. I chose spanish, Ive always wanted to learn a language but never found the time or had any motivation to try to.

Through Connectivism, a personality trait theory openness to experience, and self-determination theory, plus with my own thoughts about the whole process also included, the focus here will be clear that NGL has been completely useful learning experience. NGL has been useful to me as I have actually learnt basic Spanish and enjoy conversing in it; I’m still a little slow and sound like a toddler when mixing sounds up but I never knew the net could make learning something so easy and free to anyone.

Connectivism is a theory that has arisen for the digital information age. Connectivism is a new learning theory explaining how young and old individuals learn, and how all learning begins with a connection (Mackness & Tschofen). Buchem et al. (2013) stated that learners benefited from being apart of communities. Abbott & Lear (2010) stated the style of connections were vital for an individual to learn how to transverse in spanish. Communities were a positive social connection especially when native Spanish speaking people interacted and helped learners, which is now possible for more people than ever before since the Internet and the tools that are provided, microphones and cameras. I found that joining a community was an enriching experience and a perfect way to learn how to speak a new language.

Copyright From Mrs. Singh

Another interactive style that was used in this situation that was free and readily available, even when I had insomnia, were online games and quizzes. An individual needs to log into the website but every time you return the quizzes you’ve done and games you have mastered are there letting you know the next progression, which was user friendly and easier than redoing quizzes and games that may become boring if you redo them. Walsh (2011) stated that students are able to access an exhaustive amount of electronic recourses to help them learn Spanish over the Internet. Although learning the language with native speaker in social media communities proved statistically superior. As the social interactions provided a more social aspect, where the learners could ask questions and be given feedback in real time also help each other learn (Walsh 2011).

The personality theory complements Connectivism as it provides details as to why some individuals would take to NGL like a duck takes to water and why some individuals are reserved about the experience.

The personality trait openness to experience had implications on how NGL was useful for my learning as the trait indicates levels of curiosity, exploration, creativity and unusual ideas (Mackness & Tschofen 2012). High on openness spectrum means a readiness to perceive ongoing experience accurately without distorting or attempting to avoid the experience which also would have been in my favour to want to try to at least see what NGL had to offer without stopping and saying its crap straight up. I investigated and involved myself in the technology to be able to learn something fresh and new to me with a little craziness and a lot of laughing at the way I pronounced the words, which did not come out right a lot. But the experience was a complete success to me and I only will recommend NGL to others now even if they are standoffish.

Therefore the personality trait openness to experience had implications on how NGL was useful in helping me learn Spanish because of the curiosity, and exploration that the trait helped me utilise the Internet.

Connectivism stated self-determination theory is a personality construct reflecting an individual’s preference to be in charge of their learning process, ability to conceptualise, plan, implement and evaluate their own learning experience. Self-determination theory believes for a person to be motivated, 3 basic needs are to be met. The basics needs are Autonomy, competence and relatedness (Kreijns et al. 2014). Kuan-Chung & Syn-Jong (2010) stated autonomy encompasses a persons sense of control and having some belief they are in control of themselves and their actions. Competence means that the individual has the feeling of understanding and knowing what is expected within the tasks and activities set for them. Relatedness is about a social need and includes the feeling of being included or affiliated with others (Kuan-Chung & Syn-Jong 2010). Dedi & Gagne (2005) stated only when the satisfaction of the needs gives nutriments for motivation. Therefore I had to feel like I had control over how I learnt Spanish which I do believe I did, as I was given ideas how to find my way but I had to actually plan and implement the exchange and became apart of a community, so I felt more and more competent as the weeks progressed, so I didn’t not give up, and finally the feeling of being included within the learning community was a deal breaker as it was fun learning with others that were like me. Therefore this learning experience was useful to actually learn Spanish and I can be self-motivated since I have never bothered in the past.

All in all the influences of autonomy, connectedness, relatedness, and openness, have affected the usefulness of NGL in a way that the experience of learning how to understand Spanish was free and affective for me. I could not believe that that’s the real reason why the Internet was first thought of way back, to learn from each other, and connect to people that individuals would not normally even be able to associate with.

References

Mackness, J. and Tschofen, C. (2012). Connectivism & dimension of individual experience. The International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 13 (1).

Walsh, A. (2011). Learning spanish today: A research guide. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 3-9.

Abbott, A., and Lear, D. (2010). The connections goal area in spanish community service-learning: possibilities and limitations. Foreign Language Annuals, 43, 231-245.

Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Cochrane, T., Conin, C., Keegan, H. (2013). Building global learning communities. Research in Learning Technology, 21, 1-14.

Kreijns, K., Van Acker, F., Van Buren, H., Vermeulen, M. (2014). Predicting teacher use of digital learning materials combining self-determination theory and the integrative model of behaviour. European Journal of Teacher Education, 1-16.

Kuan-Chung, C., and Syn-Jong, J. (2010). Motivation in online learning: testing model of self-determination theory. Computers in Human Behaviour, 26, 741-752.

Dedi, E. and Gagne, M. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 26, 331-362.

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