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Personal Learning Experiences

From the Soviet school to online learning

by Vira Gryaznova, Jun 04, 2021

Image by Ivan Aleksic

Middle school: I recall the lessons of English as a foreign language at school, it was in the last decade of the USSR. The teacher, Mrs. S., was our class curator, and she used very creative methods to teach us. For example, at every English lesson we worked on listening, reading, speaking, and writing English, and as a result of each of these tasks, instead of a score point, we were receiving an animal of color paper, made by ourselves before the lessons – and the red, orange, green or blue color of the paper was a sign of our level in this activity. I remember that a lion was for speaking. Usage of these paper animals obviously was a gamification element (and gamification itself is largely based on behaviorism).  
Later I understood that we were very lucky, because such a creative approach as gamification was not usual for a Soviet secondary school, and I’m grateful to my teacher for this engaging learning experience.


G.ForesterCC BY-SA 4.0via Wikimedia Commons

University: It’s funny, but for the high school I would rather like not to talk about lectures or seminars, but to remember the experience of almost self-study of programming. We were receiving the tasks from our teacher and then we had an opportunity to make experiments at the computer class (the time of this activity was limited, because of shortage of computers for all the students). It was pure learning on practice, and students one-two years older than me appeared to be the best instructors (yes, then there was no Google at all). I still think that it was the best approach to learn programming, possible at that time. And it may be the reason that now I like Pluralsight for IT learning, as their motto is “programmers to programmers”.
These programming lessons give an example of experiential learning and also constructivism, because of consultations with more knowledgeable peers. 

Image by Andrew Neel

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Professional learning: In 2018, I had to learn a new framework (Xamarin) to use at my job as a software developer. I prefer to learn online by myself whenever possible – so I chose LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight online courses to learn the matter I needed to gain expertise in and was immediately applying new knowledge in my projects. Also, I always try to find persons recognized by the community on any new topic I learn and follow them on social networks, as real-time observing the appearance of the new relevant content on the important topic motivates me to learn more and more.

I realized that my preferable learning style described above is very close to connectivism. And of course, as an adult, I use my prior experiences while learning something new and tend to apply new knowledge in practice - so, I also adhere to the principles of andragogy

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