Without considering different methods of communication, an eLearning program cannot be successful. To reach a sometimes vast audience, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic communication should all be considered. It's tricky, but a computer-based training program is the perfect way to incorporate these very different elements.
Learning With Sound
It’s important to be purposeful, deliberate, and careful when planning your audio communication. For your online training presentations, you can incorporate voice and dialogue in addition to music and sound effects.
Fleming’s VARK model indicates that a large portion of learning comes from auditory processing. Many people use sound as their main method of taking in and processing information around them. These auditory learners benefit most from educational programs that include listening and speaking activities, such as:
- Playing back recorded audio notes.
- Participating in vocal discussions.
- Telling stories or projecting possible outcomes of certain situations.
Auditory learners benefit when big ideas or important details are repeated to them multiple times in a course. How can you do this in a virtual format?
- Encourage discussion after learning each major point.
- Ask learners to teach someone (even an avatar or virtual someone) the main points of the training exercise.
- Create a verbal quiz in which learners speak answers instead of writing them.
Visual learners benefit from seeing information and interacting with images or graphic organizers. To help them, incorporate diagrams, charts, and infographics. It can be useful to organize your training into a flow chart, with each main point represented visually. This way, visual learners can see where each concept fits into the big picture.
In an eLearning program, appealing to a visual learning is straightforward. Visual learners:
- Are more likely to understand what they read.
- Are more willing to look for details and themes from the feeling they get from the layout and design of your program.
- Benefit from trying to visualize information while they are remembering it, using other visual memory clues, and taking notes.
Traditionally, to reach a kinesthetic learner, you might consider doing lab studies, asking students to build something or working with their hands, or trying movement-based activities. When kinesthetic learners can feel or experience the causes and effects of the ideas they are learning about, the information sticks.
Moving and doing can be complicated to apply to eLearning. For online training situations, try:
- Simulating a process and asking learners to put together the pieces (e.g. making a sandwich)
- Create an interactive model that illustrates a concept. When learners change one part of it, other parts automatically change, showing cause and effect.
- Ask learners to measure, analyze, and predict change or outcomes in a situation.
Creating a Powerful eLearning Program
To create an effective training program, try using a combination of all three approaches. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning together can be the greatest way for almost any student to understand and retain information. In one training session, for example, learners might:
- Complete a training module in which visual text examples are given of agents speaking to customers appropriately and inappropriately
- Discuss what customer care strategies work and which do not.
- Participate in a mock-website chat in which they use what they’ve learned to help a “customer”
By keeping your audience in mind, you’ll be able to effectively plan your eLearning program. By using all three of these input styles, learners will be better able to apply the information presented in many different contexts. In an eLearning program, you can use information in different real-life simulations, which helps your audience learn more effectively.