Strategic Approach: Understanding How We Learn

Knowledge Acquisition defined is a complex matrix of learning theories, neuroscience, psychology, personal preferences, influenced by motivation, guidance, and technological advancement. Confused, so was I at the beginning of this learning experience. I defined learning, more explicitly designing for learning, a narrow definition where one size fits all. Learning requires the facilitators to use approaches to knowledge acquisition and correlate contextual relevance to maximize positive influence on instruction and motivation. No one method or design is the sole solution for adequate storage in long-term memory, LTE (Kerr, 2007) (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). 

 Through this course, I often reflected on the role of LTE and working memory, STE, in planning instruction. The influence an instructor has on presenting the stimulus to motivate information processing, in my opinion, is not about LTE. LTE is the product of stored files, saved as experiences and understandings; in my opinion, it cannot change. Once an experience or skill is recalled from LTE, the memory file is then transferred to STE; where it will be processed, organized, and stored as a new LTE file (Ormrod et al., 2009) (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). As an instructional designer, it is the expectation to provide stimulus to STE that expertly guides the re-coding of LTE.

 In a learning environment, the defined learning objectives, behaviors, or skills are small pieces of the learning puzzle. Human beings are only differentiated, in relevance to learning, to other species by cognitively processing and constructing individual interpretations of knowledge for future use (Ormrod et al., 2009). Metaphorically, learning is a human body; everything is connected. The external environment provides humans with direction and stimulus—the internal functions of the body process sensory stimulus to adapt to new environmental changes. Human only can adapt if the human is, in fact, living. Lacking motivation from the learner triggers can be considered the “death” of instruction. Understanding knowledge is only successful when motivation driven learners explore resources in their learning network and learning tools to socially construct understanding. 

 An instructional designer’s primary goal is to present stimuli to learners guiding new experiences to advance an expert level of understanding (Ormrod et al., 2009) Facilitation, especially in online andragogy, requires an understanding of learning psychology, the environmental stimulus and motivational influence, and cognitive processing, recalling LTE to analyze with current STE. Planning how to transfer knowledge to each individual’s learning preferences has shown no significance in expanding the learner’s zone of potential development (Ormrod et al., 2009). Therefore, learning theories, psychology, and styles provide a framework that matches the knowledge presented with the most efficient approaches to knowledge acquisition. For an instructional designer to successfully transfer knowledge, an understanding of how learners acquire knowledge and what motivates them to learn must be foundational for each learning project. 


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

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