It used to be that instruction only came one way – by sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher provide a lecture. While this method is still the most popular means of instruction today, students now have many options when looking to gain new knowledge.
Technology offers students or employees a number of ways to learn new information or practices. Lecturing is still the most common method, but the delivery methods can vary. For instance, a lecture can now be recorded as audio only, audio with a visual recording of the instructor, and audio with supplemented visual graphics that may appear as a PowerPoint display, an electronic chalkboard, or even a video clip.
Learners can benefit when more than one instructional approach is used. Researchers have identified seven different ways of learning. Each person’s learning experience is often enhanced when more than one approach is used by the instructor, and it can be retained in the memory longer, too. They are as follows:
Visual Learning – prefers using pictures and images.
Aural Learning – prefers learning through hearing – such as sounds and music.
Verbal Learning – enjoys learning through words – spoken and written.
Physical Learning – learns better when they can use their hands and body, and sense of touch.
Logical Learning – prefers learning through logic and reasoning.
Social Learning – learns better in a group and interacting with others.
Solitary Learning – learns well when working alone.
Some educators reduce these to three basic learning styles. These are identified as auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (learning by doing). Others may include things like observation, theory, and practical experience. Emotions also have a part in learning, too, especially when they are positive or pleasant. One more essential element also needs to be added in order for learning to be better, and that is that the student needs to have a willingness to learn. When this is in place, this person can be learning all the time – from daily life, as well as from some means of formal instruction.
Learning no longer has to be through one or two means only. Students, in some cases, can actually choose the methods of learning that works best for them. This not only encourages learning, but it also provides a way for better retention – and better grades or application in the workplace.
Understanding the different methods of learning can enable teachers to use specialized approaches to training or education for people that have specific learning problems – such as dyslexia or ADD. By adapting the methods used to meet the needs of the students, the students can gain an appreciation for education, and may actually find learning more enjoyable – leading to a better quality of life later on.
Many universities are now using social media as their platform to provide instruction, such as SecondLife. This enables teachers to have a variety of instructional tools that engages students in several ways – enabling them to learn faster and retain the information longer.
Once a student understands how he or she learns best, this can enable them to learn new things faster. By taking a few minutes to decide how they might best assimilate new information, it could not only make learning more enjoyable, but it will also help them to learn faster – possibly even faster than other students who might learn using more traditional methods.
This article was written by David Nance for the firm of Michael S. Berg.