Rene Buhay, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at leading education technology manufacturer AVer Europe, outlines the different types of learning styles and the role education technology can play in personalising lessons to these differing groups…
In a world of fast-moving technology, education providers need to ensure the equipment used in their institutions meets the increasing expectations of its students to maintain engagement in the classroom. However, with this challenge also comes an opportunity for educators to better meet the learning needs of students using smart technology. No single student learns the same and while meeting the needs of different learners is an ongoing task for educators, the right technology can alleviate pressure and deliver effective results within the teaching and learning environment.
By exploring the preferences and learning styles of different students – whether they are visual, verbal, aural, logical, physical, social, or solitary learners – we can identify how technology can meet the needs of learners within the classroom.
A visual learner is at their best when working with images and reading text. These learners need to see first what they are expected to know. Cameras, tablets, and a legion of other devices deliver a feast for the eyes of students. Visualisers project paper handouts, pages from books, 3D objects and any other object that will fit within the camera’s perspective to large screens so that students can get a close look at the details of the world around them. Classroom software also offers a multitude of methods for captivating and guiding visual learners. Teachers can push images, videos, and text-based content from their laptops to students.
Verbal learners love language, whether it is written or spoken. Therefore, a traditional classroom with a lecturer working off textbooks or PowerPoint notes gives students with this learning style the resources they need to succeed. But education technology innovations greatly enhance verbal learners’ classroom experience, such as access to a tablet, or watching videos of educational lectures and podcasts.
Aural learners learn best through hearing directions and speaking answers. Typically, aural learners prefer to listen to lectures rather than take notes. Classroom technology provides many methods of audio engagement, with standard examples including sound from TVs and computers. Some visualisers also have a recording function that teachers can use to create audio content for aural learners.
Much of the latest education technology is focused on imaging or kinetic interaction through VR/AR and AI applications. Educational robots and chatbot apps for learning and practicing language create vocal interactions. However, no matter how advanced the technology gets, the audio element is almost always present.
Logical learners like using their brain for logical and mathematical reasoning. They recognise patterns easily, and connections between seemingly meaningless content. Education technology is perfect for this type of learner. The students can download apps that feature logic-based puzzles to tablets or smartphones to engage directly with the subject matter at hand. Visualisers are great for displaying the lists and diagrams that tickle the brains of this type of student, capturing video and images, which make them ideal for recording step-by-step processes. In addition, an Interactive Control Box can offer wireless connectivity and screen mirroring, and four-way screen splitting lets logical learners collaborate on tasks.
Physical/kinetic learners pick up information by handling things and moving around. Technology is a great support for learners who need to move and physically manipulate the things they study to retain the maximum amount of information. One example is software that lets students take apart and build mechanisms, or a game that, for example, includes the option of blowing up the objects once they are reassembled! Students could also use an interactive whiteboard as part of the class or even make a video of how they perform a task by using a visualiser’s recording function.
Interaction with others is the key to unlocking the social learner’s potential, as they typically prefer learning in groups, bouncing their ideas off others and listening to how they respond. Education technology can help to create engaging social situations. For example, an Interactive Control Box helps students to demonstrate what they’ve learnt by connecting student devices with classroom displays and projectors. Video chats are great for enabling students to share with others wherever they are in the world, and visualisers encourage group work by giving learners a chance to examine and discuss specimens or models together.
Solitary learners need teachers to guide them through self-study. Students with this learning style are likely to be found studying alone in the corner of the library or in the peace and quiet of their bedrooms. Many solitary learners are introverts who struggle with social situations, including group projects and field trips. Ever-improving education technology enables advanced distance learning, which can be ideal for the introverted knowledge seeker. Pro AV cameras are perfect for delivering endless content for home students and educational apps mean that solitary learners can access resources at their convenience.
It’s clear that technology additions to the classroom can make a big difference when it comes to teaching different learning styles. Whether it’s a visualiser, a collaboration box or an interactive whiteboard, it’s crucial that education technology works to advance the teaching and learning experience, driving engagement and meeting the needs of different learners, while working seamlessly with existing practices within the classroom.