It is a known fact that there are numerous learning methods and that the rate of learning differs from one individual to another. For example, while some can remember anything they read, others need an oral explanation, and others may only understand and be able to replicate what’s being learned after watching a physical demonstration. For some, the best way to get to them is to offer them videos or pictures.
According to The Gordon Kelly Academic Success Centre, students learn quicker, effectively, and retain most of what is being taught when exposed to multiple learning styles. Therefore, for an effective and efficient holistic educational experience, teachers or course instructor need to be well-versed in implementing multimodal learning. But what exactly is multimodal learning, and how can you take advantage of this learning method to be a better educator?
What is Multimodal Learning?
As the name implies, multimodal learning is a teaching concept that effectively uses more than one mode to pass information. It relies on the use of different types of media and teaching tools to educate learners.
It corroborates and functions on the principle that we understand and retain more when a number of our senses are effectively engaged during learning. By engaging different faculties of the mind simultaneously through multimodal learning, learners collectively experience learning methods that suit them.
An excellent example of a multimodal learning style is a lecturer combining the elements of pictures, videos, hands-on exercises, and audio files to deliver a lecture instead of the conventional voice of the lecturer or words on a page. This offers the students the best opportunity to learn.
Methods Of Multimodal Learning
There are numerous methods and models to explain learning styles. Still, the most popular and accepted is the VARK model postulated by Neil Fleming, a New Zealand teacher. The VARK model suggests four main methods of multimodal learning; visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic.
Although some experts believe that learners prefer a method over another, they feel some learners prefer visual learning to auditory learning. However, there is no sufficient evidence to back this up. The VARK model offers learners the opportunity to learn most efficiently, using any of the four categories.
1. Visual Learning
Visual learners learn best by seeing. Therefore, anything that will stimulate their eyes or optic nerves helps them to understand and recall quickly. They have a strong preference for videos and images.
Thus, they learn effectively when illustrations, infographics, graphs, artwork, diagrams, flowcharts, and cartoons are used to educate them. Stickers, using different fonts, and color-coding are also essential parts of visual learning.
2. Auditory Learning
Auditory learners learn best by listening. They prefer the use of their ears over their eyes. Hence, actively listening to lectures and presentations are very important to these folks. This method uses podcasts, audiobooks, webinars, debates, and group discussions to educate effectively.
3. Reading and Writing
This is where most learners belong. They comprehend more when they record new information in ways they understand it. This category of learners is often called the notetakers, as writing down information aids them in retaining it. Here, text-based courses, eBooks, and PDF documents are often used.
4. Kinesthetic Learning
The learners in this category learn best by doing. The learners in this category are active and immediately perform a related task to what is being shown, read, or listened to. A kinesthetic learner is often referred to as a hands-on learner because their physical senses play a vital role in learning.
For effective learning, these different models of multimodal learning do not operate alone. Instead, they intersect and aid each other.
Benefits of Multimodal Learning
While it is much easier to conform and teach using only one mode, multiple research has proven that educators’ application of multimodal concepts helps create an exciting learning environment with increased engagement from the students. In addition, this aids the students to learn effectively and efficiently because they are not required to conform to a specific learning style that doesn’t suit them.
Multimodal learning methods offer many benefits to its students, but the essential benefit is; it ensures students who must learn differently to benefit from a lesson as others effectively learn.
How To Effectively Build a Multimodal Concept To Learning
Due to the advancement of technology and the proliferation of eLearning platforms, students now prefer digital learning to the traditional school setting. Hence, when creating a course for eLearning, you should incorporate multimodal concepts such as high-quality audio and exciting visuals to ignite and sustain a learner’s creativity. Here are some guides to creating a multimodal learning course.
● Apply different media to your courses
You should use a Learning Management System that supports a wide range of content formats to create your course. We suggest you think outside the box and incorporate different formats like audio, slides, video, and word to create interactive learning courses.
● Create Multimodal Assignments
Cognitive Learning Theory suggests that learners will retain more of their training when actively involved in the learning process. Hence, it would be best to take advantage of multimodal means of assessment in your eLearning courses.
Furthermore, creating a multimodal assignment for your learners ignites their creativity. It allows them to engage different parts of their brain in the learning process, which are likely to create better results.
● Provide feedback through different Media
With eLearning, it is challenging to give feedback in person, and sticking to a particular multimodal approach such as emails to generate feedback could be misinterpreted by the students as the tone is impersonal.
Hence, we suggest recording a short video which combines all multimodal approaches and posting it on your LMS could be a great solution. With a video, your students can see from your relaxed body language and hear your encouraging tone. This will help them understand that your feedback is well-meant.
Applying the concept of Multimodal learning is a great tool to improve the quality of your teaching.
Suppose you want your courses to be more engaging and desire your learners to understand and retain information more; you should start applying the multimodal concept to your training sessions. Let us know what works for you in the comment session.