Are You Reaching Your Learners? It’s Not Them It’s You

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Successful learning incorporates the effective application of multimodal learning in design and delivery of instruction. In the presentation the authors will describe the benefits of multimodal learning in elearning, offer examples of various effective and non-effective environments, and list examples of purposeful multimedia tools. Considerations for the discussion with participants includes technology platforms, use of hardware, software, and/or online tools, copyright, accessibility, and universal design as well as support within the institution. 

Presenters

Lori Kupczynski, Ed.D. has served over 20 years in higher education in the areas of English, Communication, Adult Education, Higher Education and Educational Leadership. She currently serves as a Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Previously, she has served as Associate Professor and Program Director of the Educatonal Leadership doctoral program, doctoral level transcripted certificate program in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL) and the Adult Education Masters Program. She was the Recipient of the 2012 United States Distance Learning Association’s Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the field of Distance Learning Award and the 2012 Distinguished Researcher Award from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She also received the 2017 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award in the College of Education and Human Performance at TAMUK. Her research agenda focuses on developing a deeper understanding of interactions among adult learners in online learning environments through the development of grounded theory to explain the interactions within the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). A secondary track of research is on new and emerging technologies complementary to research with adult learners online. Lori has published over 75 peer reviewed articles in the field and has presented at numerous prestigious national and international conferences.

Extended Abstract

Technology for learning is critical for blended and fully online courses.  Further, purposeful use of technical tools can aid in the design and delivery of instruction and reach all types of learners. Thoughtful Incorporation and application of technology can better transfer the learning to the student no matter the preferred way of learning. Whether designer or instructor, there is no doubt that integration of tech tools can further connect students to content and increase engagement in the learning experience (Beetham, 2013).

However, online learners still disengage and become frustrated with coursework or training programs. Though there are factors connected to learning obstacles that stem from the learner themselves, pathways for learning and academic success can be blocked by the design and/or the delivery of the instruction itself. If in review of content, there is little to reach different types of learners, or no variation in content or learning assets, then a portion of those in a class or training program will have to work harder at the work or possibly disengage or even fail (van Merrienboer & Ayres, 2006).

Delivery of instruction needs to be based in multi-modal learning. Learning effectiveness leads to student satisfaction, and the connection between content and multimedia can enhance student engagement and learning (Smith, 2013). Delivering information through various formats – audio, visual, interactive, text based – appeals to multiple learning styles and intelligences (Anderson, Atkins, Ball, Homicz Millar, Selfe, & Selfe, 2006). Utilizing multi-modal learning, instructors and designers are able to better organize course content and differentiate learning. 

Differentiated instruction involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content, to processing, to constructing, and making sense of ideas.  Utilization of multi-modal assets creates a more adhesive nature of knowledge and can increase placement in long-term memory and aid in recall.  Creation and incorporation of these effective instructional tools increase interactivity with the learning.  Also, students may be able to make connections between concepts more readily if more in tune with the course (Kelly, 2010).

With differentiated instruction, the objective is to develop teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of learning preference or differences in ability. Evaluation of materials, learning activities, individual and collaborative assignments, and engagement and interaction between instructor and student (communication and feedback) is key.  Technology facilitation provides the platforms to offer multi-modal learner support, connection to content, and amassing of resources (Weir, 2008).  

One size does not fit all in learning whether as youth learners or adult learners. Providing more than one means of content delivery opens the door to those not skilled in adapting to environments where their preferred way of learning is not overt or not present. Youth learners today require engagement for successful learning. Meanwhile, adult learners need to feel connected to the learning to internalize and engage in the process.  If the adult learner does not do well in text based elearning situations, they will be uncomfortable, disconnected, and/or have to get over the obstacle of adjusting their learning style before they can even get to the knowledge or skills being taught. A more dynamic course, with a mix of purposefully applied multimedia of content and audio and visual assets, will not only appeal and connect to the adult learner but also engage the youth learner (Knowles, 1984).

Professionals may teach or design in the way they learn best.  There are variations in the preferred ways of learning and there may be multiple ways in which a learner best learns. Something to consider is that students may not consciously realize there can be challenges to understanding of content and ability to internalize, reflect, and apply the learning if their preferred way of learning is not used. Educators can determine their own areas of strength with learning and then find where they need to learn about application of other ways of learning to adapt and to then transfer the success to students (Claxton & Murrell, 1987).

Awareness of learning styles and the variation in preferred ways of learning aid in the determination of how to deliver the instruction. Additionally, understanding what multimedia tools can purposefully aid in the design and delivery of multimodal instruction aids the professional in transferring the learning. 

For graphics and multimedia, it is necessary to choose design elements carefully and avoid temptation to embellish. Effective use of multi-modal assets adds value while not distracting from the learning (Weir, 2008). 

Successful learning incorporates the effective application of multimodal learning in design and delivery of instruction. In the presentation the authors will describe the benefits of multimodal learning in elearning, offer examples of various effective and non-effective environments, and list examples of purposeful multimedia tools. Considerations for the discussion with participants includes technology platforms, use of hardware, software, and/or online tools, copyright, accessibility, and universal design as well as support within the institution. 

 

References

Anderson, D., Atkins, A., Ball, C., Homicz Millar, K., Selfe, C., & Selfe R. (2006). Integrating multimodality into composition curricula: Survey methodology and results from a CCCC research grant. Composition Studies, 34(2), 59-83. Retrieved from https://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/journals/composition-studies/docs/backissues/34-2/Anderson%2034.2.pdf

Beetham, H. (2013). Designing for Active Learning in Technology-Rich Contexts.  In H. Beetham and R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=F7On-O2VrYUC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=multimodal+learning+engaging+students&ots=k5MV8Jh-cG&sig=64sSi-d8mL_-TLpr7_SfxbVFUpE#v=onepage&q&f=false  

Claxton, C. S., & Murrell, P. H. (1987). Learning styles: Implications for improving educational practices. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED293478

Kelly, R. (2010). Three strategies for engaging students through multimodal course design. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/three-strategies-for-engaging-students-through-multimodal-course-design/

Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Smith, R. (2013). Improved learning outcomes through a multimodal text. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2013/9/improved-learning-outcomes-through-a-multimodal-text

van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Ayers, P. (2006). Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 5-13. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02504793

Weir, L. (2008). Research review: Multimodal learning through media.  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/multimodal-learning-teaching-methods-media