What’s Your Type? How to personalize online learning according to learner types

Concurrent Session 8
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session will focus on the four research-identified types of learners. Participants will be presented with the characteristics of each learner and what learning environments and activities are most successful to them, and how instructors can use this knowledge to create a more personalized learning process for their online students.

Presenters

My background is made up of a variety of experiences, each one adding to my knowledge, skills, and abilities in the kinesiology field. I have been teaching in higher education since 2006, classes ranging from structural kinesiology to nutrition to fitness testing and interpretation. I love teaching because: 1) I get to share my passion for an awesome field; 2) I get to continuously learn myself because it is a field that is ever-changing. I believe that to be a good instructor, I must keep up with the trends; And, probably most importantly, 3) helping students discover how this field can fit into their lives- professional or personal- is so fulfilling. To see that what you teach is directly affecting others is a great experience. I have also worked as a Program Coordinator for an exercise program for special populations, a Health Coach, a Personal Trainer, a Health Screening Technician, and a Cardiac Rehab Technician. All these have helped me 'practice what I preach', which I believe is vital to teaching in this field. Kinesiology is a hands-on field and to effectively share your knowledge with others, you have to experience it. I moved into the online teaching realm in 2011 and have been there with IUPUI ever since. It has been, and continues to be, an interesting journey, as new technologies and ways to connect with my students have arisen. The number one piece of advice I would have for someone teaching online for the first time: Start over. Rethink your classes. Moving from the physical classroom to the virtual classroom takes time, patience, an understanding from the student's viewpoint, and, most of all, passion for teaching. Personally, I have two beautiful children who mean the world to me and who are very much learning what a healthy lifestyle is! I love to run and do races, which my children are beginning to get into as well. Showing them the fun of exercise and nutrition is so key to them becoming healthy adults!

Extended Abstract

Now more than ever, online learning plays a central role in higher education. Since the hurried adaptation of face-to-face classes to online during the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone can now say they have experience with online teaching. While there are many positives of online learning- the ability to do it anywhere and at any time, plus the capacity to learn at your own pace, for example- one major downside to it can be the greater responsibility the student must take for his or her own learning. In a face-to-face classroom, the student often learns to rely on the instructor “for their motivation, direction, goal setting, progress monitoring, self-assessment, and achievement” (Martinez, 2000, p. 2). The online student then is made to do all this on their own, though many find that they are not able to do so.

To achieve this, we need to turn online learning more into a ‘choose your own adventure’ where our students are able to learn based on their learner type. According to the Learning Orientation Model, there are four types of learners based on emotional and intentional intrinsic motivational aspects, self-directed strategic planning and committed learning effort, and learning autonomy (Martinez, 2001, p. 28). These factors then heavily influence our cognitive learning preferences, strategies, and skills. The four types are 1) Transforming learners; 2) Performing learners; 3) Conforming learners; 4) Resistant learners. (Source: Martinez, M. (2001). Key Design Considerations for Personalized Learning on the Web. Educational Technology & Society, 4(1), 26-40. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.90.7508&rep=rep1&type=pdf)

Realizing that you come across all four types of learners in your online class, how can you effectively support each type? Central to this is to structure your class so that each learner type’s needs are addressed. To do so, you must construct your online class so that each student can find ways to identify their approaches for success, match their attributes to increase motivation and intentions to learn, and then provide learning activities that will lead to this. Thus, personalizing each students’ learning experience.

In this proposed session, participants will be presented with the research on each type of learner, characteristics of each learner and what learning environments and activities are most successful to them, and how instructors can use this knowledge to create a more personalized learning process for their online students. An example class assignment will be shown and how it was adapted for each type of learner.

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the four types of learners.
  2. Identify ways to conform their learning activities to lead to successfully personalize each learner types’ experience.
  3. Learn from an example where this approach was successfully implemented.

References

Martinez, M. (2000). What is Personalized Learning? The eLearning Developers’ Journal. Retrieved April 10, 2020, from https://www.elearningguild.com/pdf/2/050702dss-h.pdf.

Martinez, M. (2001). Key Design Considerations for Personalized Learning on the Web. Educational Technology & Society, 4(1), 26-40. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.90.7508&rep=rep1&type=pdf