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Online Education Courses - Do They Fit Your Learning Style?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Online education is different from traditional education. When online education courses first evolved, they were close copies of traditional courses, delivered in much the same way, i.e.; via the reading of text. Now, however, online course designers have realized that online education is primarily a visual learning medium and are delivering course content through highly visual media, including pictures and video, which fits a visual learning style.

What Are The Types of Learning Styles?

Visual learners learn through sight. They need to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand a lesson. They prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads). They think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flip charts and hand-outs. During a lecture or discussion, visual learners take detailed notes on the information.

New scientific studies have shown that if you learn through a visual learning style, online education courses may fit you better than a traditional program in a campus-based school. A typical online student will do well if he or she has certain skills and personality traits, such as:

* Learns visually,

* Is independent,

* Self-motivates,

* Has computer skills.

1. If you learn best by reading, studying diagrams, watching animations, pictures, and videos, or observing charts, you are a visual learner. Much of the information presented on the internet is presented visually, which is why it may be the ideal medium for you. In addition, your assignments and tests will be, for the most part, written, so that your visual learning style is the best for completing projects you will be assigned.

In recent years, the visual learning style classification has been modified somewhat and renamed the visual/verbal learning style. At http://www.metamath.com, it is explained. "The Visual/ Verbal Learning Style" You learn best when information is presented visually and in written format. In a classroom setting, you benefit from instructors who use a chalkboard (or overhead projector) to list the points of a lecture, or who give you an outline of a lecture. You benefit from information in textbooks and class notes. You like to study by yourself in a quiet room. You see information "in your mind's eye" when you are trying to memorize. Learning Strategies for the Visual/ Verbal Learner (Source: http://www.metamath.com)

To aid recall, use "color coding" when studying new information in your textbook or notes. Use highlighter pens to highlight information in contrasting colors. Write down sentences and phrases that summarize key information obtained from textbooks and lectures. Make flashcards of vocabulary words and concepts that need to be memorized. Use highlighter pens to emphasize key points on the cards. Limit the amount of information per card so that you can remember it more easily and obtain a "mental picture" of it. When learning information presented in diagrams or illustrations, write out explanations of it. When learning mathematical or technical information, write out summaries in sentences and key phrases that are simplified. When a problem requires a sequence of steps, write out in detail how to do each step.

Make use of computer word processing to speed up taking notes. Copy key information from your notes and textbook into a word-processed document. Use the print-outs for review. Before an exam, create visual reminders of information that must be memorized. Make sticky notes containing key words and concepts and place them in highly visible places --on your mirror, notebook, car dashboard, etc.

2. The independent learner is happy to work alone on projects and assignments. Most of your assignments will be done without input from other students, so it is imperative that you act independent and confident when it comes to completing projects on your own, without support from others. In fact, independent learners prefer working on their own rather than having to give support to other students and share grades with them.

3. The learner who is taking online education courses will have less contact with other students. In this situation, you must be self-motivated and have less need to rely on others for assistance. The ability to motivate yourself to solve problems and complete assignments is vital for online success.

4. An independent learner is most likely to learn the computer skills needed to succeed in online education courses. The independent student has enough confidence to deal with occasional computer technical problems, as well. "With online education, we just turn the technology over to them {the students} and let them use it express themselves in their own unique ways." Quote may be found at: http://www.netc.org/digitalbridges/online/symposium/quotes.php. If you are the type of student who needs constant reassurance and assistance from other students, hesitates to work or solve problems on your own, prefers to learn by listening or participating in hands-on projects or the use of manipulatives, it would be a good idea to consider attending campus-based classes or courses instead of online courses. At a traditional campus, you will find others who have auditory and/or tactile learning styles similar to yours, with whom you can interact.

The key to success in online education courses is to make sure that your learning style fits the visual/verbal learning style needed for online education. You must be able to work at your own pace, independently, using visual media as your input. You must also be self- motivated and have enough confidence to solve problems as they occur. If you fit those criteria, online education courses are for you!

Statistics and facts for this article were found in "The Web's Aspect on Student Learning" by Katrina Meyer, written for Technological Horizons in Education.



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