Understanding and Using Learning Modalities
In this course we will explore the reasons for and uses of multiple modalities in lesson design. By the end we will be able to identify the different types of modalities, how to best incorporate them into your lesson design, and identify which types of learners respond positively or negatively to which modes of instruction. Through the acquisition of these three goals you should be better equipped to foster motivation and understanding of your content among your students.
In today’s educational landscape, student engagement is a vital requirement in our classrooms and schools, but one that often seems harder and harder to facilitate. Our students are changing, and so must our practices if we want to foster knowledge creation and building across subject areas. The goals of this mini-course are designed to help you achieve this by better understanding how your students learn best, and to suggest ways to use this knowledge to your advantage (and theirs).
In this course we will explore the reasons for and uses of multiple modalities in lesson design. By the end we will be able to:
(1) identify the three different types of learning modalities (2) apply the above knowledge to evaluate which modality(ies) best suite the learning needs of their students (3) incorporate multiple modalities into lesson design to create authentic learning activities and environments tailored to their student's individual strengths, as well as to those of the class as a whole.
Through the acquisition of these three goals you should be better equipped to foster motivation and understanding of your content among your students.
Before We Get Started
Before we start getting into the specifics, let’s do a short exercise which will help us better understand the importance of recognizing learning modalities, and what effects they have on your students.
Step 1- Pick six of your current or past students whose academics fall into the mid to lower-mid ranking (you may want to write them down).
Step 2- Copy the chart below and sort your seven students into them based on where they fit best.
(chart to come later)
Now do the same process, with the same six students, on the chart below.
(chart to come later)
The first chart demonstrates possible learning modality weaknesses, while the second shows possible strengths. The first column on both charts represents the visual modality, the second represents the auditory modality, and the third represents the kinesthetic modality. We will discuss each of these modalities in further detail as the mini-course progresses but, in the most basic terms, you just identified learning strengths and weaknesses of six of your many students.
By understanding these modalities, and being able to identify which ones your individual students (and classroom populations as a whole) learn best from, you can design lessons and curriculum that help build confidence, and content that students will be more willing to connect to and learn from.
The navigation and flow of this mini-course is now in your hands. I have strived to keep each section of this course as streamlined and goal-oriented as possible.You can click on any of the three below modality links, in any order, check out the secondary examples of modality application, and read the summary. It is my hope that participants will click on each of the three below modality links, read the information provided, watch the supportive videos, and participate in the short check-ins at the end of each page. Whatever you decide, I hope that you will find this course to be informative and informative and useful.
Unit 1: Learning Modalities
Learning styles, or modalities, are the various ways in which people learn and information is taught. For our purposes, they “involve educating methods, unique to each individual that are assumed to allow him/her to learn best” (K & Helena, pg. 17). The three learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic*; “generally, everyone has one predominant modality...however, many people have a “balance” between two or even all three senses” (iccb.org, pg.16). Many factors can be considered when considering why a particular student learns best a certain way, such as disposition, upbringing, intelligence, experience,etc.
The theory of learning modalities is not a new concept, in fact the research behind it has been growing since the very early 1900s. The most widely-accepted version of this concept come from the work of Dr.Neil D. Fleming and his VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) learning model which “provides the learners with a profile of their learning styles, based on the sensory modalities which are involved in taking in information” (K & Helena, pg.18).
If you are interested in learning your modality profile, or those of your students, you can create one by clicking on the following link (use pages 22-26): https://www.iccb.org/iccb/wp-content/pdfs/adulted/tdl_bridge_curriculum/tdl_post-sec_ed/C2_TDL_Post-Sec_Ed_Resources.pdf
If the above information is not formatted to your primary learning modality please click on the following link to watch a short three minute video (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuiWQtXznDs