Finding e-learning options for every type of learner

Keir McDonald

Keir McDonald MBE started EduCare thirty years ago with just a handful of talented people. At the time, he had little idea that his company’s learning programmes would end up teaching more than three million people about duty of care issues. In acknowledgement of his work and achievement in safeguarding children, Keir was honoured with an MBE for Services to Children in 2012. EduCare's newest training programme is on child exploitation and online safety.

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Different kinds of learners require different methods of teaching. Here, Educare founder and director Keir McDonald discusses how teachers can use different e-learning programs to accommodate all pupils.

For years now, the topic of learning styles has dominated educational community forums. And while understanding the manner in which students best receive and retain information can be complex, the bottom line is that understanding how individual children learn can help educators reduce frustration and improve overall achievement.

"A well-designed e-learning course can, and should, meet the needs of different learning styles."

In classrooms around the world, some children process information best by hearing the teacher explain it, some learn by seeing what’s on the whiteboard, and others learn through hands-on exercises.

One of the many advantages of e-learning is that it allows educators to meet the needs of students with different learning styles, while also increasing the likelihood that the information will be retained.

As schools increasingly incorporate e-learning tools into the classroom, it’s important to consider how learning style differentiation translates to e-learning programs. A well-designed e-learning course can, and should, meet the needs of different learning styles while achieving the same or better results as in-classroom education.

Here is how e-learning can benefit each of the three main learner styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.

Auditory Learners Thrive By Communicating Aloud

Auditory learners learn best through their sense of hearing. These learners will enjoy reading aloud, rephrasing to others what they have just learned, and presenting in front of a class. Information presented in the format of a podcast can also be extremely effective for this style of learner.

Look for an e-learning program that encourages children to speak or repeat during the session or allow students to record themselves for a submission to the teacher. This can be particularly effective while learning foreign languages.

Also, use e-learning features that allow for auditory feedback for right and wrong answers. Many programs allow for the recording of short audio segments, which can be extremely effective for auditory learners.

Visual Learners Need Information to be Presented Clearly

Visual learners best consume new information by reading, looking at graphics, or watching a demonstration video. While visual learners may lose interest and focus during long explanations, videos and infographics resonate with them. For this reason, visual learners are very well suited to e-learning.

Look for an e-learning program that incorporates video and other advanced graphics into course work. Video presentation accompanied by visual aids to reiterate what is being spoken is extremely effective for visual learners.

Kinesthetic Learners Learn by ‘Hands-On’ Engagement

Kinesthetic learners learn by doing and touching. Interactive or engaging tasks will have the highest level of success for the kinesthetic learner. Because of its interactive nature, e-learning can be extremely effective for kinesthetic learners.

In addition to prompting engagement during an e-learning course, kinesthetic learners also thrive by heading out into the real world to complete assignments and then report their findings and reactions to peers. Students can use mobile devices to collect photographs, video and even audio media to illustrate a concept as part of coursework.

Look for an e-learning program that allows for enhanced collaboration, and even role-play or mixed-media presentation opportunities to best appeal to kinesthetic learners.

So if you’re looking to incorporate e-learning into your classroom, be sure to consider if it can support a variety of learning types for the maximum benefit to students and educators. The good news is that e-learning technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and different programs today absolutely allow for all styles of learner to be engaged and find success in e-learning.

How do you customise e-learning? Let us know in the comments below.

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