Adapting to a Technology-Centered Landscape
As a corporate trainer or teacher, you’re probably looking for ways to make your material more engaging and memorable for as many students as possible. The classic teacher-to-student, in-person lecture model is going by the wayside with the rise of interactive online training and learning platforms.
Howard Gardner, one of the leading psychologists in the realm of education, argues that our schools teach only to logical/mathematical and verbal/linguistic learners. They forget, he claims, about visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and interpersonal learners, and they would serve students better if teachers presented content in a variety of formats.
Educators in any organization – whether in an academic, corporate, not-for-profit, or other setting – can unlock the potential of students or trainees of all learning types by utilizing e-learning systems. WR Hambrecht + Co. reports that e-learning can increase information retention rates by 25-60%.
In a study conducted at Tempere University of Technology on e-learning, researchers split subjects into three groups: one in which students were matched with learning tools and layouts that suited their learning styles, one in which students were mismatched, and one in which all students saw the same layout. The study concluded that although each group achieved around the same average grade, students who were correctly matched mastered the material in far less time. Those in the mismatched group has to spend more time learning the information and were more likely to seek out alternate materials to enhance their understanding. Matching students with tools that fit their learning styles reduces the time and energy needed to learn material.
Learning Style Models Applied to E-Learning
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, two renowned occupational psychologists, created a system to categorize people by how they perceive information and then process it.
- Concrete Experience — Activists: People who prefer doing and experiencing
- Reflective Observation — Reflectors: People who like to sit back and watch
- Abstract Conceptualization — Theorists: People who want to understand the bigger picture
- Active Experimentation — Pragmatists: People who like to try things immediately
Using Honey and Mumford’s classifications, teachers and leaders can easily create e-learning activities specifically suited to the strengths and needs of students with a variety of learning styles. For example, teachers can discuss an overarching concept map at the start of a presentation to provide guidance for Theorists. They can insert demonstration videos for Reflectors, or interactive diagrams for Pragmatists. E-learning platforms are far more flexible and navigable than live classrooms, where a teacher cannot possibly provide personalized activities for each student, and reviewing a previously-covered topic for one student means taking time away from others’ questions.
Online learning systems allow teachers and trainers to make their materials accessible for students with a huge variety of learning styles. Cutting-edge multimedia presentation tools enable teachers to incorporate video, audio, and interactive elements to connect with all students.
Displayed on the right is an infographic to help you identify the most effective e-learning tools and formats for various learning styles. Take a look to see which types of material you should be using in your e-learning modules to break through to a broader group of trainees or students.