Lesson 1: Learner's Perspectives


Learners will understand learners' perspectives on modalities


Before we begin to think about how your students learn, have you ever thought about how you learn best? We will begin this lesson by taking on the role of the student. In order to understand student perspectives, it is best to view yourself as a student. By the end of this unit, we will change to the mindset of the teacher.

Let’s begin by changing our mindset to that of the student in your classroom. Turn the clock back a few years and remember what it was like to sit in the desks and chairs of the classroom. Going from class to class throughout the day. Remember what it is like to enter the classroom, not knowing what the lesson plan is for the day, not knowing what will be required of you. You walk into the classroom and find your seat near your friends and talk about what your weekend plans are until the teacher brings everyone’s attention to the lesson for the day. You look up at the board and what do you hope to see? What do you hope will be today’s lesson? Do you want to take notes and doodle in your notebook? Would you prefer a class debate or a worksheet to fill out with your partner? How would you feel about presenting a project in front of the class?

Multiple Intelligences

Each of these examples of daily lessons in the classroom require students to use different learning styles, or modalities. In his work on multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner identifies eight modalities: musical-rhythmic and harmonic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic), this mini-course will focus on four (audio, tactile, visual, kinesthetic. Since his ground-breaking work, there have been many follow-up studies and theories about how teachers should integrate and vary these learning modalities during classroom instruction. For the purposes of this mini-course, we will focus on four of the modalities: audio, visual, tactile, kinesthetic.

Watch this video for a good overview of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory.

Multiple Intelligences

Learning Styles

Many teachers have a tendency to teach more often in the style that they learn best. Is this true for you? Take a modality assessment to find out. Prior to taking one of these modality tests, guess which modality will be your preferred learning style (audio, visual, tactile, kinesthetic). Choose one of the following tests. For more accuracy, complete all three.





What did you learn from these tests? What is your preferred method of learning? Was your prediction correct? Take time now to think about your preferred learning style and how often you choose to plan lessons that are focused on your preferences.


Think about four lessons that you have experienced as a student. What made these lessons effective or ineffective? We will determine effectiveness of a lesson by the degree to which you reached the lesson objectives. Use the course discussion tab to give one example and explain how it was effective or ineffective from the students’ perspective. Be sure to point out the learning modality that is highlighted in your selected lesson.

Continue to Lesson 2: Teachers' Perspectives

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