How Online Learning Benefits All Learning Styles
All students are individuals in their personal and academic growth and development, and that is never more prevalent than in an educational setting. Whether students are in a physical classroom or are enrolled in an online school, they cannot be placed in a box or put into a mold that makes them identical to other students, particularly when it comes to their learning styles. Most parents and educators are aware of the different learning styles, but most don’t know how to help kids really embrace their learning style and make it work well for them.
It may come as a surprise that online learning can benefit all students, including those with a variety of learning styles, primarily because most online schools expect students to see and hear the information and have it mastered with just that level of interaction. However, online learning isn’t the same as it once was, particularly for middle school and high school students, and TCI’s online curriculum can bring huge advantages to online students, no matter what learning style is prevalent in them. Online learning is a great way to explore, grow, and learn for all students, and we are proud to have created a curriculum that benefits students with all learning styles, both online and in the physical classroom.
Some learning types are naturally good at being independent, such as solitary, verbal, and logical learners. There is a pretty even mix of independent learners among visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners, but social learners tend to struggle a little more with being independent. Online learning absolutely encourages students to think for themselves, manage themselves and their time well, and keep themselves motivated and disciplined throughout the course of their studies. All online learners will become better at being independent, but certain learning types will benefit even more in this area because it may be a natural challenge for them. To further encourage your social, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners in their independence, start by holding them accountable for completing assignments and school-related tasks and checking in often. As they get used to learning online, start handing over more of the responsibility to them and check on them less often, reminding them that they are responsible for their own success and they are more than capable of being successful independently.
Supports Out-of-the-Box Thinking
Auditory and visual learners are the most likely to thrive without much effort in an online environment. But other learning styles may struggle because the bulk of the information they’re receiving is auditory and visual in nature. They will need to think creatively and step outside their comfort zone to ensure they understand and retain the information being presented. This may mean that they create their own way of displaying the concepts from class, such as by acting it out, speaking it aloud, learning about the why behind the concepts, or discussing the material with others. It may also mean that they tap into their visual and auditory side and really work hard to stay focused on what’s being presented to them in these ways to expand their understanding and learning style.
Engages Different Senses
The best online learning programs will give students ample opportunity to experiment and learn the material in different ways besides just seeing and hearing it. Students may need to get creative to engage their different senses during their lessons, or the curriculum program they’re utilizing may offer suggestions on how to engage a variety of senses to explore and learn the various concepts. Utilizing all five senses will not only help students learn the material better, but it will help them expand their learning styles and explore other ways of experiencing concepts, leading to more retention and understanding. Kinesthetic learners may struggle more than others in an online learning environment, but using their other senses as they learn in different styles can help a lot. For example, a student could walk on a treadmill while reading text from a book or jump rope while listening to a lesson.
Promotes Strengthening of Other Learning Styles
While everyone has a primary learning style, it’s always good to hone the other styles to strengthen them and become a more well-rounded learner. Of course, the primary style will likely remain the same, but it’s also good to know what your secondary learning style is and how you can improve your retention of information when it’s presented in a unique way that doesn’t fall into your personal learning style. For example, if you are primarily a logical learner and you always want to know the how and why of what you’re learning, you may find ways to take the information being taught audibly and group it into classifications and categories to explore it further. Or if you’re primarily a kinesthetic learner but have to read the bulk of the material you’re responsible for knowing, you can think of ways to connect kinesthetic learning with visual and verbal learning to strengthen your own learning abilities and still understand and retain the information.
Uses Real-World Connections in Lessons
Online learning environments are typically great about making real-world connections for their students. It’s not just about learning book knowledge, but it’s about understanding how that book knowledge applies to real life and how to utilize that information outside of an academic environment. All learning types can benefit from this type of education as students will interact with different types of people and different situations outside of school and they need to be prepared to respond appropriately and engage others successfully. When students are responsible for their own differentiation and utilization of different learning styles, they tend to be more understanding of others’ differences and more creative in their problem-solving capabilities.
Allows for Personalized Scheduling of Breaks
While this may seem minor to some, being able to schedule your own breaks throughout your school day is huge for a lot of students, particularly those who are kinesthetic learners. This learning style is more physical than others and requires students to get up and move in order to learn, focus, and grow. It’s all about physical interaction with the material, whether that involves using math manipulatives, acting out the makeup of a cell, or performing a skit about the Civil War. When kinesthetic learners are forced to remain seated for hours at a time, or even sometimes just one hour, their attention span and focus suffer a great deal, and their understanding and retention is then affected as well. Online learning environments allow students to schedule their own breaks and work at their own pace, which is hugely beneficial to all students.
As previously mentioned, students who participate in online learning are constantly encouraged to explore new ideas and think outside of the box. All learning styles will benefit from these critical thinking opportunities as they explore the world around them and their lessons in new, unique, and exciting ways. Many online school curriculums will give students suggestions about how to interact with the material in a different way, such as by completing an experiment, going on a virtual field trip, and so on. But the more students are encouraged to explore new ways of learning on their own, the more they will benefit from their online learning experience. This means they will grow more substantially, both academically and personally, and they will be far more prepared for life beyond school, both now and in the future.