Online learning and virtual classrooms are making headlines these days as parents determine the safest and most effective way for their children to learn. Online learning is viewed by some as a more difficult learning environment. In reality, good online instruction that varies the content to appeal to all learning styles can result in a much richer learning environment for the child.
Visual learners will perform at their best when information is presented with visual aids, pictures, graphs, and charts. These learners tend to recall information in mental pictures, so helping them create these images will assist them in making those connections. These individuals also tend to create drawings and mind maps of new concepts, so their notes may look more artistic and less linear than those of a verbal learner.
Auditory learners can excel in an online learning environment that includes synchronous teaching. In an asynchronous environment or during non-lecture portions of the day, auditory learners can adjust by reading text out loud or talking through new concepts with a parent or classmate.
Verbal learners are lovers of words. Whether written or spoken, verbal learners find meaning in reading, writing and listening to others speak. These learners tend to excel in any type of educational setting. They take copious notes and breeze through the assigned readings. Verbal learners also tend to do well on text-based exams such as standardized tests.
Logical learners perform best when they understand not only that something is true, but also why it is true. These learners need to make connections between concepts and perform well when able to work a problem from beginning to end. These students also work best with hands-on opportunities to experiment and draw their own conclusions, so the more individualized format of online learning can be very rewarding to logical learners.
Physical learners can excel in an online learning environment as it provides them a freedom to move around not often found in the traditional classroom. These learners perform best when they have opportunities to create and use physical learning objects, move around while reading, and act out new concepts. Physical learners remember through activity, so they should be encouraged to interact with the material in any way that makes sense to them.
Social learners do well in online learning that allows for some class interaction throughout the day. This type of learner enjoys working through new concepts with other students. In order to provide more opportunities for the social learner, the online classroom should utilize group or class discussion and provide opportunities for students to work in small groups or pairs. The visual learner can also discuss concepts with parents or siblings in the household if they need more opportunities to talk through concepts.
Solitary learners do well with the self-paced structure of asynchronous online learning. Unlike the social learner, solitary learners perform better learning on their own. These learners can concentrate for long periods of uninterrupted study time and need opportunities for quiet reading and thinking. An online environment that spells out the learning objectives and assignments for the day/week and allows the student to guide their own path through the assignments would perfectly suit this learner.
Online learning environments are varied and adaptable. At various times throughout the day or week, the needs of each of the learning styles listed above can be accommodated by an experienced teacher in a well-planned online course.