This article from TechCrunch argues that online classrooms have a tendency to be structured poorly for learners of multiple learning styles.
How Do We Get Around The Problem Of Having Multiple Learning Styles In An Online Classroom
You are probably familiar with the fact that people have multiple learning styles. Different people have different styles when it comes to how and where they learn new information. A skill set that is perfect for one person is definitely not right for another. For example, someone who thrives on working in groups might not do so well in a group writing class.
You probably also know that there are a number of learning styles and that they are both good and bad. The good ones include the letter R (Restorationist), the k (Historian), the O (Organization), the P (Psychologist), and the T (Tinker).
Even though different learning styles can enrich your classes, some may feel uncomfortable with learning with and around others who have one or more of these types of learning styles. Have you ever felt as though the class was going too fast or too slow or that some people just weren’t interesting? The best way to figure out if someone in your class is a learning style that you enjoy is to pick your brain and ask questions about their skills.
If you feel that the amount of time you spend in class is hurting your ability to learn, then this is an important question for you to consider. Once you learn the type of learning style that you have, it may make more sense to move to a lesson that has a more open format for learning with and around others.
For example, if you are a P learner, then a more open format might be a better fit for you. Instead of the instructor having to share a lot of information with you during a lesson, students in your class could work together to read some material together and then fill in some of the information they did not understand. In this way, you will have less time to talk in class and spend more time reading.
If you are a T learner, then you are a person who enjoys reading on the computer. You might enjoy the idea of your peers giving feedback on your reading. You might be able to read what other students say without commenting or arguing. Even if you do not feel that you want to contribute during class, you can make your observations during the class in a more open, constructive way.
If you are a Restorationist, then a more open format for learning may be best for you. During a lesson, you would observe a lecture and then share some of your thoughts with the instructor. You might also give a link to your lecture on Facebook or a blog if you really want to share some of the information you learned during class.
The problem is that some people do not want to do this in class and they do not want other people to be sharing their opinions or concepts with them. For example, if you are a Restorationist, you may have been taught that other people can be destructive to academic progress if they share their opinions with you while you are in class. It seems counter-intuitive to go against the school’s rules and bring up your thoughts during class. The concern is that you are encouraging people to talk to you about issues that need to be discussed in class.
Some people do see this all in a good light, however. They believe that some people may be out to hurt their learning skills so they learn to hate listening to other people. They want to spend class time being stimulated with good new ideas and being able to make good decisions. Since learning styles need to be a part of the conversation in your class, your best choice is to explore your own personal learning style and learn how your classroom setting might best allow that to happen.