Students who fall into this category tend to learn better from words- written and spoken.
To accommodate this learning style, instructors may incorporate more auditory activities that are usually come in the form of a PowerPoint presentation with audio, and video with audio. Learning simulations also can incorporate audio along with text.
It should be noted that everyone learns better when presented with both video and audio.
Students who fall into this category lean towards “what is possible” and the relationship that it has to other concepts and ideas.
They dislike repetitive tasks and memorization and do not like to be tested on material that was not covered in the class.
They are more apt to grasp new concepts with mathematical formulations and abstracts.
They work faster and are more innovative.
To accommodate this learning style, instructors may incorporate more theories and explanations that link to the facts. URL links to other websites for further study could also create a relationships with the information being presented.
Students who fall into this category prefer to think about the information before doing anything with it.
They prefer to work alone, rather than in groups.
Sitting through lectures is also difficult for reflective learners but is tolerable.
To accommodate this learning style, instructors may incorporate several individual assignments that require the learner to think out a problem, then write a short summary of their thoughts- helping them to retain the information better.
Students who fall into this category retain the information by actually “doing” something active with it.
They prefer to work in groups rather than alone.
They tend to try things before thinking it through first.
Sitting through lectures is harder for active learners than for students of other learning styles.
To accommodate this learning style, instructors may incorporate a group project requiring students to discuss the problem and then act on the plan. “Doing” something that relates to the information would be desirable
Learning styles are the way that your students learn. Some students prefer facts, over charts, audio over video, sequential steps rather than a web of ideas, etc. Learning styles can be easier understood when categorized. A study at North Carolina State University, has explained these categories to help learners and instructors alike. It should be noted that most learners possess combinations of these learning styles. It should also be noted that this is just one study, and there are other authors who refer to these styles by different names but the idea is the same.
Finding out the learning styles of your students can help you adapt and morph your class into an even more conducive learning environment.
“Dales Cone of Experience” (see chart below) shows the different ways that students learn information and the assessment outcomes related to that style of learning.
Students in a traditional course may perform much better than in an online format because the class may require no computer prerequisites. In an online format, computer skills are assumed or they are to be learned in addition to the content of the class (which can cause overload and frustration). Some students need the structure of a traditional class. They may feel the need to see and interact with the instructor. They may be familiar with the format of a traditional class from their previous schooling. They may have had a bad online experience. Or, quite simply, they may learn better in a traditional setting.
On the other hand, students in online courses may perform better because they are not restricted to class lectures and their learning can be self guided. They like the anywhere anytime approach. The online class fits their busy schedule. They may already possess the prerequisite computer skills and beyond. They may feel empowered in the online format. They may enjoy exploring the online format; making use of instructor supplied links for further reading and research. The online student is a new breed; a different kind of learner; one who is self motivated and self guided rather than constructed.
It should be noted that online classes are not an easy way out. Students should realize that just because they are taking an online class, it does not mean it will be easier. In most cases it is more difficult. Their time management skills are tested and their own personal motivation and perseverance to finish the class are also.
Students taking online courses should undergo some kind of orientation to ensure that they know how to perform in your class. There are some things to consider:
All students are not computer wizzes no matter how old or young they are, so you will want to keep your instructions as clear as possible.
Students have different computers, Macintosh, Mac OSX, PC, Windows 7, etc. You will want to consider this if you have detailed instructions about how to do something.
Find ways to deliver the content without too many technological hurdles. For example, you may not want to require a student to download a program, install it, and run it, then turn in the results (unless you teach a computer class online). You may want to just make this an extra credit type of activity.
Student Internet connectivity. Your students hate to wait for information. Slow connections will leave your students frustrated. If you have too many pictures or too much “fluff” that is irrelevant to instruction, you may need to re-consider your instructional plan.
Slow computers. Many students have older computers that are very slow in processing speed. In your syllabus, you should list the minimum computer requirements that is needed to take your internet class.
Baseline Technology Skills
Ability to operate a computer to launch applications, knowledge of basic directory structure (folders, files), perform tasks, save, close, copy, paste and rename files.
Ability to use a word processor to save in RTF and MS Word formats.
Ability to send and receive email and email with attachments.
Ability to use a web browser to view and search the Internet.
Instructors may need to give a little extra push to online students initially to ease anxiety. Remember that this is a different learning format than most students are accustomed to, so it is easy to fall off track. The first couple of weeks of an internet class are usually the toughest, as students are logging in for the first time. They may experience problems with their computer, which can result in falling behind. A kind word of encouragement can do wonders for a student in an online class to get them back on track. Below are some links that can be included in the course to help students.