Supporting the Needs of All Learners
Project Learning Outcome 3 states, "Design learning opportunities that apply technology-enhanced instructional strategies to support the needs of all learners."
“If it is pointless to consider tailoring instruction to each individual student, it is equally misguided to imagine that a single one-size fits-all approach to teaching can meet the needs of every student” (Felder & Brent, 2005, p. 57).
This quote serves as a reminder that no two students are created equal and that makes a teacher's job that much more intricate when dealing with different learning styles. Once I figured that out, I was more successful in the classroom because I know that I cannot specifically tailor my lesson for an individual student, but I know that I have more work to ensure that I am actively engaging all of the students as a whole. Felder (2005) states, "Students are characterized by different learning styles, preferentially focusing on different types of information and tending to operate on perceived information in different ways" (p. 58). This article also mentions the use of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator to figure out what type of preferences they have. During week one of the course that I used to teach, we used to give this test out as well as the Color Test to figure out what type of personalities they were. These assessments served to help me and my co-instructors be more effective with the students. We knew how to approach teaching, conversations, discipline, and/or other situations with them based on their personality and preference or how they functioned. As a face-to-face instructor, it is easy to tell who is going to be a Blue, Green Gold, or Orange personality based on physical interaction. In the online environment, that can be very difficult as we let our words speak on our behalf. Based on that information alone, it can be very difficult to gauge how well each student will receive the instruction or their attitude towards the course material. Ultimately, this means that the instructor needs to be creative in their delivery of the course lessons. According to Hall (2003), "The instructional concepts should be broad-based, not focused on minute details or unlimited facts. Teachers must focus on the concepts, principles and skills that students should learn. The content of instruction should address the same concepts with all students, but the degree of complexity should be adjusted to suit diverse learners" (p. 4). This is why technology such as the Internet, Microsoft Office tools, and other online tools are essential when building a course for both the student and instructor to utilize. The work that both parties create shows their aptitude and attitude about the learning process, as well as the ability to provide more insight into the personal goals for all involved.
Personally for me, I am trying to gain more of an advanced understanding of instructional design and how it will help me in the classroom eventually. As much as I would like to expand my repertoire, I feel that I am becoming somewhat repetitive in nature due to my experience with online tools such as wikis and blogs. I prefer to bring more collaboration and building community, which means that I like those tools that provide that route. Snyder (2009) states, "Educators who teach online may select a particular tool (e.g., threaded discussion forum, blog, wiki) because it is available to them or use an instructional method (e.g., lecture, discussion, cooperative groups) because it is the method with which they are most familiar; however, they may not have a clear understanding of how the tool or method supports a particular type of content or instruction" (p. 48). I would like to ensure that the tools I select correlate to not only the learning outcomes, but also that the students gain and find value in them. This requires me to become familiar with different avenues and also allowing the students to have a choice to utilize tools they are also familiar with--even if it means that I am not. Probably the most frustrating part of this is the fact that technology changes so fast. Sometimes I feel that once I learn something and become somewhat decent at it, it becomes old and/or obsolete.
So in order for me to support the needs of all learners while maintaining the use of technology for my students, it is imperative that I take into account that not all learners are the same. This is the bottom line, especially for adult learners. And with that, I have to stimulate them by providing visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning opportunities as much as possible.
Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction and implications for UDL implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved from http://aim.cast.org/sites/aim.cast.org/files/DI_UDL.1.14.11.pd
Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2005). Understanding student differences. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), 57-72. Retrieved from http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Understanding_Differences.pdf
Snyder, M. M. (2009). Instructional-design theory to guide the creation of online learning communities for adults.Rüschen Abendkleid A Rot Blume Bodenlänge Erosebridal Chiffon mit TechTrends,53(1), 48-56. Retrieved from the ProQuest Database.Kleid Beauty Leader of Mädchen Weiß the v8qCHq
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