Different Learning Styles
Everyone learns in different ways. Some people like to jump in and get their hands dirty, learning by doing. Others like to sit back and listen to someone more experienced explain how a thing is done. Finally, there are others who prefer to read up on a topic.
There are three main learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Most people learn best through a combination of these three different styles, but typically favour one over the other.
- Visual Learners like to LOOK. They learn best by looking at pictures, videos, graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading up on a topic. Visual learners are able to memorize and recall written information better than other types of learners. For visual learners, it may be difficult to absorb new information from an instructor who is simply talking to them.
- Auditory learners like to LISTEN. They learn best by listening to things being explained, by reciting information out loud, and may concentrate better with soft music playing in the background. For auditory learners, it may be more difficult to process new information if all they’re doing is reading about it.
- Kinesthetic learners like to TOUCH. They learn best by actually doing an activity and having a “hands-on” experience. For kinesthetic learners, sitting still and reading may make it difficult to absorb new information.
Different Learning Activities for Different Learning Styles
The future of online training has arrived. The most effective online training programs are those that use different types of learning activities to better engage with the three main learning styles. Effective training programs use visuals, layered with audio voiceovers, and supplemented by interactive activities, or blended with hands-on learning.
The types of learning activities included in a course should depend upon the course audience, the material being taught, and the course length. Best practice teaches us it’s important to include a learning interaction every 5-10 minutes to reinforce the most relevant information covered.
Many online training developers are using a concept called ‘gamification’ which takes elements from game design and incorporates it into the online learning environment. The four most common gamification techniques are:
- Drag and Drop – These type of activities require a learner to pick up an object and move it with the mouse to a new location to elicit a response. They are the most common type of game-based activity used to engage learners and reinforce training material.
- Matching Activities – Matching activities ask the learner to make connections between objects. They are great for reinforcing definitions and testing understanding of relationships. Though terms and phrases are common in matching activities, symbols and pictures can be used to add visual interest.
- Hot Spots – Hot spots are locations on pictures that a learner can hover over with the mouse, click on, or drop an object onto in order to reveal information or elicit a correct response. Hot spots can ask learners to identify objects or merely be used to offer a more engaging way to provide additional information.
- Sequencing – Sequencing activities test a learner’s ability to place terms, procedures, objects, or images into logical order. Sequencing activities are great for testing learners’ recall of step-by step procedures and for providing students with an opportunity to practice the procedures as well.