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A student must be engaged to learn.Students learn through actively participating - by observing, speaking,writing, listening, thinking, creating and doing. Understanding yourstudents learning styles helps you, as an instructor, develop activitiesthat ensure that students understand and retain what you teach.
What is a learning style?A “learning style” is a preference for information acquisition. • Visual/Verbal: Prefers to read information • Visual/Nonverbal: Uses graphics or diagrams to represent information • Auditory/Verbal: Prefers to listen to information • Tactile/Kinesthetic: Prefers physical hands-on experiencesTo identify your learning style, visit: • http://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-learning-styles-quiz • http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire
Visual/Verbal Learners Learn best when information is presented visually and in a written form. Prefer instructors who use visual aids to list the essential points of a lecture in order to provide them with an outline to follow during the lecture. Benefit from information obtained from textbooks and class notes. Like to study by themselves in quiet environments. Visualize information in their "minds eyes" in order to remember something. In the online environment, visual/verbal learners are successful because the information for an online course is often presented in written form.
Visual/Nonverbal Learners Learn best when information is presented visually and in a picture or design format. Prefer instructors who supplement their lectures with materials such as film, video, maps and diagrams. Relate well to information obtained from the images and charts in their curriculum. Tend prefer to work alone in quiet environments. Visualize an image of something in their mind when trying to remember it. In the online environment, visual/ nonverbal learners are successful when information presented online is in the form of charts, tables, graphs, video, diagrams and images.
Auditory/Verbal Learners Learn best when information is presented aurally or when interacting with others in a listening/speaking activity. Benefit from listening to lectures and participating in group discussions, spoken lectures and recorded information. When trying to remember something, they often repeat it out loud and can mentally "hear" the way the information was explained to them. Online learning environments can complement these learners style through audio lectures, collaborative activities, and computer conferencing.
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners Learn best when doing a physical "hands-on" activity or lab setting where they can touch and manipulate materials. Learn best in physically active learning situations from instructors who use demonstrations, hands-on learning experiences, and fieldwork. The online environments can provide learning opportunities for tactile/ kinesthetic learners through project-based learning, online simulations of physical demonstrations and fieldwork, and online discussion.
Learning StylesMost students have different learning styles, or acombination of styles. Therefore learningactivities should be designed to address thevarious ways that students learn in order toprovide a significant experience for each classparticipant.
Using Technology to Address Learning StylesHow does you modify your courses to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles?How do face to face strategies translate in the online environment?
Lectures: Lectures are one of the most frequently used instructional methods in adult education. Lectures can be presented in a variety of ways: written form for students to read, audio form for students to listen to, containing interactivity by linking to related resources and other web sites for additional research. Online lectures are likely to be shorter and more to the point than lectures in live classrooms (which may extend beyond the attention span of the audience) and serve as a basis for further reading, research, or other learning activities. Online lectures are also readily available for students to revisit again and again as needed.
Class Discussions: Discussions are an instructional strategy, favored by adult learners, because it they are interactive and encourage active, participatory learning. The discussion format encourages learners to analyze their thoughts and explore their own experiences to become better critical thinkers. Discussion is a critical element in any course. New online discussion tools go beyond the traditional “discussion board” and incorporate asynchronous and synchronous learning through blended lecture, discussion, chat and screen sharing options.
Project-Based Learning Project-based learning provides students with practical experience and a sense of accomplishment. Projects can be self-directed as an individualized, self-paced learning activity initiated and directed by the student, or a group project in which students work collaboratively with peers. Projects can include role playing, case studies, problem solving exercises, group collaborative work, debates, group discussion, and brainstorming. Students, working at a convenient time and pace, are able to visit libraries, museums, newspapers and scholarly journals online to locate project data. Projects encourage students to research and report their findings and sources, incorporating critical thinking and research skills into the course. Once complete, they can by published online to be shared with others in the class for additional dialogue and feedback.
Collaboration Tools to Address Multiple Learning StylesAs faculty begin to teach online and incorporate more technology-basedactivities into their classrooms, learning is becoming more collaborative,contextual and active.
Collaboration: Blackboard Learning Management Publisher Provided Content Blackboard is an online course Many publishers now supply interactive management tool that provides faculty a content to supplement their printed matter platform to share course materials in and can be imported directly into the multiple content formats (text, images, Blackboard LMS. This is available in the sound, audio, animations, graphs, etc.), form of e-books, interactive lecture thus allows students to study material materials, student handouts, and instructor based on their preferred learning style. resources such as course syllabi, rubrics, Also included are course management and test banks. tools for collaboration, scheduling, Mikogo is an immersive, interactive cross- discussion and assessment. platform desktop sharing tool, ideal for Elluminate is a virtual environment meeting online, troubleshooting, tutoring optimized for learning that can be and collaborative online projects. combined with Blackboard. It enables Instant Messaging communication, collaboration, and Faster than email, an excellent resource education through the ability to combine for answering quick questions, also live audio and lectures, discussions, accessible from smart phones. Allows messaging, file sharing and archiving. users to use video or text based messaging, chat, and file transfer.
Much of the power of teaching via the internetlies in its capacity to support multiple modes ofcommunication and learning styles. Taking thisinto account, educators can facilitate powerful,effective courses geared to achieve specificlearning goals and outcomes using the vastresources and capacities of online learning.