Designing Distance Education Learning Materials to Cater for Different Learning Styles Dr. Mohamed Ally Athabasca University Canada firstname.lastname@example.org 13º Congresso Internacional da ABED September 2, 2007
Objective By the end of this session you will be able to identify your own learning style and describe how to design distance education materials for different learning styles.
Distance Education Separation of professor or teacher and student by distance
Learning Style Learning style is defined as a combination of cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment.
Style One Learners Strength:Innovation & ideas Function By:Value clarification Goals:To be involved in important issues and bring harmony. Favorite Question: Why?
Style Two Learners What? Strength:Creating concepts & models Function by:Thinking things through Goals:Intellectual recognition Favorite Question:
Style Three Learners Strength:Practical application of ideas Function By:Factual data fromhands on experience Goals:Align their view of present with future security Favorite Question: How?
Style Four Learners Strength:Action, getting things done Function By:Acting and testing experience Goals:To bring action to ideas Favorite Question: What if?
LEARNING STYLE ONE SUPPORTER LEAD BY –the heart –build community - seek harmony –sense of noble purpose TEACH BY –facilitation –discussion –group work
LEARNING STYLE TWO THEORIST LEAD BY –fitting information into current reality –sequential thinking –use facts to persuade TEACH BY –transmit knowledge –accurate information –knowledge leads to comprehension
LEARNING STYLE THREE ACHIEVER LEAD BY –plans & timelines –favor productivity –shares knowledge of results TEACHES BY –matching curriculum to economic usefulness –demonstrates detailed hands-on processes –uses tricks of the trade - shows short-cuts
LEARNING STYLE FOUR INFLUENCER LEADS BY –offering crisis and challenge –looks for patterns and possibilities –energizing TEACHES BY –enabling –sketches and illustrates concepts –encouraging the use of alternatives, choices
Concrete Experience (CE) Students who score high in the CE dimension prefer experience-based approach to learning that relies on feelings-based judgment. Tend to be empathetic Find theoretical approaches to be unhelpful Prefer to treat each situation as a unique case Learn best from specific examples in which they can be involved Related more to other students rather than the instructor Learn from specific experience
Implications for Distance Education Provide a variety of learning activities to meet the needs of CE. Provide real life examples that students can relate to. Provide opportunities to interact with other students e.g. small group work using computer conference or videoconferencing. Prefer instructor/tutor to be a coach.
Abstract Conceptualization (AC) Prefer an analytical, conceptual approach to learning that relies heavily on logical thinking and rational evaluation More oriented towards things and symbols, and less towards other people Learn best in instructor-directed, impersonal learning situations that emphasize theory and systematic analysis Do not learn from unstructured "discovery learning" approaches such as exercises and simulations Good at logical analysis of ideas Like to do systematic planning
Implications for Distance Education (AC) Layout a plan for the students to follow Use a linear sequence for the learning Like theoretical readings
Reflective Observation (RO) Prefer a tentative, impartial and reflective approach to learning. Rely heavily on careful observation in making judgment Prefer learning situations such as presentations Look for the meaning of things Tend to be introverts
Implications for Distance Education (RO) Allow enough time to apply the information Provide all the information to students Provide opportunities to work alone Prefer passive delivery Prefer norm-reference evaluation See the instructor/tutor as the expert
Active Experimentation (AE) Prefer an active "doing" orientation to learning that relies heavily on experimentation. Prefer to do activities such as projects, homework, or group discussions Do not like passive learning situations such as presentations and readings Get things done Like to take risks Tend to be extroverts
Implications for Distance Education (AE) Use active learning strategies Like to do things Prefer to work in small groups to solve problems Tend to be self-directed
Diverger Combination of concrete experience and reflective observation Strengths lie in an imaginative ability Interested in people and emotional elements Have broad cultural interests
Assimilator Combination of abstract conceptualization and reflective observation Like to create theoretical models More concerned with abstract concepts rather than with people. They are good at planning
Converger Combination of abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Like to apply ideas Tend to be unemotional Prefer to work with things rather than with people They have narrow technical interest
Converger (How) Skills Experimenting Manipulating materials and ideas Making things work Testing reality Tinkering Trying and failing
Accommodator Combination of concrete experience and active experimentation Like to do things and involve themselves in new experiences Very adaptable to new situations Tend to solve problems intuitively Rely on others for information Like to work with people
Learning Style Data (Montgomery) 67% of the students learn best actively, yet instruction is passive 69% of the students are visual, yet instruction is mostly verbal and textual 28% of the students are global, yet we seldom focus on the ``big picture''
Presence in Distance Education Using mediated technology (virtual reality, simulation, video conferencing, etc) to provide an illusion that the mediated experience is not mediated. The distance education experience should create a strong sense of presence.
Sample Strategies for Distance Education Learners must construct a memory link between the new information and some related information already stored in long-term memory. On the web, learners with diverse background and knowledge can choose the most appropriate link to review previous learning before new information is presented. Active strategies can be built into distance education materials to allow learners to process the information.
On-line testing can be done to check learners achievement level and to provide appropriate feedback. Use the browsing capabilities of the web to encourage higher level learning. Network learning theory suggests that information is stored as networks in LTM. Hence, the hypermedia structure of the web should facilitate storage and retrieval. Visuals can be integrated into the learning materials.
Promote interactivity by providing feedback, adapting the instruction to the learner, and suggesting activities for the learner to process at a deep level. Allow collaboration using synchronous and asynchronous communication. Use guest experts. Access on-line libraries. Use computer conferences for student-student and instructor-student interaction. Ask students to keep an electronic journal. Link to appropriate learning materials on the web
Designing Distance Education Materials Give the Big Picture (Content map) Connect to the learner and gain interest (Rationale) Set expectations for learning (Objectives) Include strategies to organize the learning (Advance Organizer) Check for readiness (Prerequisites) Check for prior knowledge (Self- assessment)
Designing Distance Education Materials Provide opportunities for learning Activities to Motivate the Learners Activities to Explore to Find the Information Activities to Use the Materials to Improve Performance Activities to Transfer the Knowledge and Skills to New Situations
Designing Distance Education Materials Give learners the opportunity to practice and provide feedback Bring Closure to the Learning Experience Check for Achievement of Objectives Provide Opportunities for Real Life applications
Group Exercise Form small groups Identify a lesson topic and prepare four learning activities (for each type of learner in the Kolb model) for distance education. Select a group leader to present back to the large group (5 minutes).
Further Research Interaction pattern by learning style. Tutor and students learning style. Which learning style adapt better to distance education? Level of support required by the different learning styles. Learning style and success in distance education. Adapting instruction for different learning styles.
References Ally, M. & Fahy, P. (2005). Learning Style in Online Interaction in Distance Education. Indian Journal of Open Learning, 14(1), p. 15-33. Ally, M. (2005). Designing Instruction for Successful Online Learning. In C. Howard (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Online Learning. Idea Group Inc. Hershey, PA. Ally, M. (2005). Multimedia information design for mobile devices. In M. Pagani (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking. Idea Group Inc. Hershey, PA. Ally, M. (2004). Staff Training and Development in Open and Distance Learning. In Weiyuan Zhang (Ed.) Global Perspectives: Philosophy and Practice in Distance Education. China: China Central Radio and Television University Press, p. 277-297. Ally, M. (2004). Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Distributed Learning. In Fahua Oscar Lin (Ed.) Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents, Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing, p. 162-183. Ally, M. (2004). Foundations of education theory for online learning. In T. Anderson and F. Elloumi (eds.), Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press, pp. 3-32, 2004. Available at: http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/.http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ Montgomery, S.M. Addressing Diverse Learning Styles Through the Use of Multimedia. University of Michigan.