Introduction and learning theory

My name is Rob Morgan and I am an IT Trainer at James Madison University. I have been involved in training for the past 8 years. I previously worked at Rosetta Stone where I was both an internal trainer for the customer care team as well as an external trainer for K-12 schools that purchased the program. I have been at JMU since November of 2012 and recently completed a new etraining that will be rolling out to the Faculty/Staff/Students in September called IsItReal. The new training will focus on providing guidance to users in an attempt to limit the amount of successful phishing attempts we experience on campus.

I am currently in the elearning certificate program and I am planning on transferring to the Graduate school within the next year where I will pursue my Master’s In Educational Technology. I am hoping that this class solidifies my understanding of elearning practices and procedures and provides me with some tips and tricks that I can use in my job.

There are two learning theories that I feel I closely subscribe to. Although, one derives many of its points from the other. The first would be Carl Rogers’s theory of Experiential Learning. The theory centers on the learner and their desire. If a learner is interested in a particular subject and they see a positive outcome from gaining knowledge of said topic they are more likely to engage in and retain the knowledge. Many trainers today may refer to this as the “What’s in it for me?” question. An adult learner needs to know that there is benefit to them if they learn the material and if you can get them to desire the material themselves they are much more likely to retain it. He also held strongly to the belief that the learner needed to have control over their learning (Smith, 2004).

The other theory, which is based in part on Rogers theory, is that of Malcolm Knowles referred to as Andragogy. Andragogy is similar to Experiential Learning in that it relies heavily on the learner to be actively involved in what/how they learn. Knowles’s theory also relies heavily on the learner experiencing rather than memorizing or watching. Learning should be an experimental process where mistakes are allowed and used as a learning tool. The instructor is there to guide more than direct the process (Smith, 2002). In an elearning course this might be seen in a branched course with multiple paths as opposed to a linear path that is pre-selected for the learner.

Some of the criticism surrounding Knowles theory is whether or not this is a theory or simply assumptions made about learning (Hartree, 1984). Hartree argues that the theory is more of descriptions of learners rather than a theory.

Sources Cited:

Smith, M. K. (1997, 2004) ‘Carl Rogers and informal education’, the encyclopaedia of informal education. [ Last update: May 29, 2012]

Smith, M. K. (2002) ‘Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy’, the encyclopedia of informal education,

(n.d.). Retrieved from