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More academic institutions are offering online classes than ever before. Many students find online courses easier to fit into their already busy lives. For some people, the ease of access found in eLearning might be the only way they can go back to school or learn a new skill. And it’s becoming more common; according to a survey, about 33 percent of all students take at least one class online during their educational journey.
Learning isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor, so online instructors must make sure that they take different learning styles into consideration when choosing new technologies. Advancements like virtual reality, adaptive learning, and cloud technologies are more accessible to implement in online classrooms that you might think.
Understanding Different Learning Styles
Teachers must present materials in a way that meets the need of each unique learner. This can sometimes be much harder than it sounds. Online instructors often never lay eyes on their students — you might not even have an email or chat conversation with each one of them. This means that you must look for opportunities to understand how they learn best and help them along the way.
It’s essential that you know the different learning styles students may have and how to connect with them during the learning journey. There are four different learning styles you should know:
- Auditory learning describes those students who learn best by hearing information. They prefer to listen and speak to understand new materials fully. Recorded lectures and videos with dialogue or voiceovers will be their preferred way to get further information.
- Reading and writing learning is best for those who have a love of words. They might enjoy taking notes or completing work that requires them to connect unfamiliar ideas.
- Kinesthetic learning refers to students who enjoy hands-on work. While this isn’t an easy method to deliver in online coursework, you might be able to incorporate projects where the student uses this learning style while they’re offline. Alternatively, you could instruct students to record a video of themselves demonstrating new skills for assignments.
- Visual learning is when the student learns best by seeing the concept or idea. There are many visual designs tips and options you can incorporate into your course to help visual learners succeed. You might use compelling images, include metaphors to relay an unfamiliar idea, or use a visual hierarchy to show order or demonstrate how objects are connected.
The Need for Tech in the Classroom
Regardless of the learning format, technology is critical to the learning process. It can help you connect with students of various learning styles and help the learner to stay fully engaged throughout the course. It can also allow students to get the latest information and research when they need it most. Basic eLearning content development tools combined with technology might let you step back from primary instruction during some lessons and give you the opportunity to assume the role of coach and encourager.
Emerging technologies in higher education can help students learn in new ways. Here are a few new technologies that can be used in online classrooms:
This advancement can help you create a personalized approach for each of your students. Adaptive learning allows you to give every student their own customized course based on their goals, weaknesses, and strengths. It works in real-time and can be adjusted as needed to adapt to their performance or interests. Through the use of artificial intelligence, adaptive learning tailors the content to each student and draws upon knowledge domains such as cognitive science and predictive analytics.
You might think that courses like art can’t be taught in an online setting. However, with the use of Adobe Creative Cloud, your students are able to create sophisticated projects and send them to you. Some cloud programs incorporate tools to build, design, preview, and print models from within the software. If you haven’t used any of the software recently, you should know that Adobe has undergone a series of transformational changes that push the boundaries and open new avenues for creative freedom.
What if you could transform your student’s home into a virtual learning lab or take students on a trip to faraway lands to learn new skills? With the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), this is possible. VR is an immersive technology that can place students in different simulated environments to learn or practice new skills. AR allows blending of the real world with digital technology. These tools could be invaluable for classes where students must practice or demonstrate skills.
Every student learns and masters information at different paces. In traditional settings, this makes it difficult for the instructor to meet the needs of each student. However, in an online classroom, competency-based education allows students to move through lesson and master skills at their own pace. It can be tailored to meet different learning styles and help students feel efficient while meeting goals at their own speed.
Tech Helps You Meet Student Needs
Universities and organizations must understand what eLearning means to their success. As more students explore the use of online courses to learn new skills and obtain future degrees, adopting these technologies will likely be pivotal to educational institutions. By using these technologies and others in your online courses, you can meet the needs of your students and make learning fun, exciting, and innovative.