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Teaching Multiple Learning Styles

Page history last edited by Anne McKinney 15 years ago



The trouble with text-based learning

One of the biggest challenges for online pedagogy is to make course material more digestible for students who do not learn by reading. Taken out of the f2f classroom, online courses often communicate lectures, discussion, and announcements in writing. For students who can learn by simply reading a textbook, there may be no problem. But for those who learn better by hearing, seeing, doing, or reflecting critically, elements that address those learning styles are welcome additions to any online course.


R2D2: Read, Reflect, Display, and DoR2D2 Learning Model (Bonk and Zhang 2008)

Bonk and Zhang (2008) have developed a model to help instructors target different learning styles in their course activities. The R2D2 model — Read, Reflect, Display, and Do — appeals to a wider variety of students than text-only or lecture-only instruction. It calls on instructors to include elements in the framework of their courses that focus on the following:


  • Read — targets auditory and visual learners
  • Reflect — targets reflective and observational learners
  • Display — targets visual learners
  • Do — targets tactile and kinesthetic learners


It may not be such a revolutionary idea for a course to include these elements – after all, most courses ask students to think critically about the material and complete some assignment in order to assess what they have learned. F2f courses will automatically have audio and visual elements by default, and more online instructors are finding ways to incorporate images and podcasts into their instruction.


What makes the R2D2 model worth studying, however, is that it helps us deconstruct what we're teaching into course elements that we can make more effective for more learners. Maybe you've been teaching with some of these elements in your courses. Can you create ways to balance the knowledge you want them to learn between reading, reflecting, displaying, and doing?


More information about this model can be found on Dr. Curtis J. Bonk's website. On the next page, we will discuss a few options for incorporating multimedia elements into your course.



Exercising Your Knowledge

How would you teach to different learning styles in your course? Think about the subject you teach or are planning to teach. How would your students' learning be enhanced by introducing audio, visual, reflective, or hands-on activities? Have you had experience with any similar activity, either as an instructor or as a student? If so, would you recommend it to other instructors?


Post a message in the Teaching Multiple Learning Styles forum, outlining your ideas in response to the R2D2 model or other information in this Module or elsewhere. You may want to come back to this page after reading the pages on multimedia, synchronous learning, and accessibility issues later in Module 5.

Posting this initial message and responding to at least two others' messages in this forum will count toward the Certificate of Completion. You can also use this forum to discuss any issues related to effective practices in multimedia usage, synchronous learning, or other relevant online learning methods.


Figure: R2D2 Components. Bonk, Curtis. (2008). TravelinEdMan: The Blog of Dr. Curt Bonk, Professor of Indiana State University and President of SurveyShare, Inc. Blogger: http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/



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