Trina Harding

Experiential Learning, Instructional Design, Educational Research

Learning Through Meaningful Connections

A Personal Teaching Philosophy

            When I moved to a new house many years ago, my new neighbor spent one Sunday afternoon driving me around the streets of our neighborhood. She went house by house, telling me the names and small pieces of information about the people who lived in each home. Over the coming weeks, as I was able to gradually meet all of these new neighbors, they were often surprised that I already knew their names. I was surprised as well. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I knew these names because I had made connections with the names of individuals, and the specifics of their homes or jobs.

I believe that learning happens when we are able to form meaningful connections. Meaningful implies purposeful, important, and valuable. I believe it is the learner (not the teacher) who must be able to see (or intuit) the purpose or value in a connection for it to be meaningful. Cognitivists talk about neural connections, and that our brains store information based on its relationship to other

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Harding , T. H.,  Kimmons, R.  &  Leary, H.   (2023).   Understanding English graduates’ experiences entering the workforce.   English in Education,   DOI: 10.1080/04250494.2023.2255225

Kimmons, R., Harding, T., Harker, Z. M., & Staples, M. E. (2018). Overcoming challenges to K-12 teacher adoption of open educational resources in the U.S. In R. McGreal (Ed.), OER2: Multiplying open educational resources for K-12 environments. Athabasca University Press.

Grimaud, J., Harding, T., & West, R. E. (2018). Narrative in instructional design. Available at

Contributor, Internships and mentored learning, Internships and reflective writing, and Prioritize student agency. BYU Experiential Writing Project, 2021



Panelist, Women in Academia plenary session. English Symposium 2022, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

Bennion, J., Harding T.  Reflective writing workshop. Fall 2020 University internship coordinator training, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

Harding, T., Harker, Z., Kimmons, R., Staples, M. E., Clements, K., & Short, C. R. (2018). Speaking out on Twitter: Understanding teachers' expressed sociopolitical sentiments to improve policymaking. Presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Convention (AECT) 2018, Kansas City, MO.

Short, C. R., Clements, K., Staples, M. E., Kimmons, R., Harding, T., & Harker, Z. (2018). Where personal meets professional: Analyzing teacher expression and sharing on Twitter from a massive dataset. Presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Convention (AECT) 2018, Kansas City, MO.