Integrating Technology and Learning - Michelle Lynn's Master's Portfolio for CU Denver


I read a quote recently by an unknown author that said, “Learning how to learn is life's most important skill”. I couldn't agree more. For the past two years, I have been learning how people learn with technology.  CU Denver’s Information and Learning Technologies program has been the perfect fit for my skills by allowing me to combine my passion for technology and my love of teaching.

In my careers, I have always considered myself to be a teacher.  Whether I was trying to rid chicken fried steak from the diets of rural Texans or instructing administrative assistants how to create a pivot table in Microsoft Excel, it seems I have always found myself teaching.  My job titles have been everything from Dietitian, Trainer, and Consultant but each one of these seemingly different jobs required a common skill…the ability to make difficult and complex information understandable. CU Denver’s ILT program has given me the tools and knowledge I need to continue to help learners make sense of complex information when it is presented with technology.

Key to learningThis brings me to an area of this program that has had a significant impact on me as I move forward with my career in instructional technology; my improved understanding of learning processes. Understanding how individuals learn was a “missing link” for me. Much like the image in my portfolio banner, I feel I have been given the key to understanding how learners learn. My previous careers all involved teaching but none of them taught me why or how my students were learning. Understanding more about such theories as Kolb’s Model of Experiential Learning, generative learning, social learning, brain-based learning models and others has helped me understand how to create truly effective technology-based learning programs.

Another area that has influenced me in this program is technology. Upon entering the program, I had a good foundation of technology skills including web design. My experience as a software trainer taught me how to quickly learn and adapt to new software. CU Denver’s ILT program allowed me to reinforce these existing skills as well as understand technology use in the context of creating a learning environment. Through authentic projects, such as the Educational Website, I have learned how to create quality computer-based learning solutions by following effective instructional design guidelines that supports learning strategies. This program has also encouraged me to learn new software that allows me to create highly engaging learning solutions. You will find examples of these on my portfolio page.

Along with technology and software skills, another aspect I feel is essential in any field related to technology is the ability to recognize, evaluate and adapt to change. This program has taught me to prepare for this constantly changing environment. I have researched technology change in an organization and understand techniques for successful implementation of such a change. I have worked with Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and discussion groups to name just a few. I have also participated in a project that researched some of the most current trends in rapid eLearning development. Although these trends will probably be “old news” by the time I graduate, the project forced me to look at technologies and instructional design in a new way.

Technology change is occurring at such a rapid rate that, for the most part, any one piece of software is out-of-date by the time you truly learn it. I feel to stay current it is more important than ever to put the learner first. By focusing on sound instructional design and learning processes, your instructional piece will be effective much longer. I will always stay current with new technologies and software because it is a passion of mine. However, I understand that bells and whistles can’t impart knowledge to my learners.

Back to top