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Different Learning Styles of Online & Distance Learning

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 7/5/2011

With education becoming more and more interactive, some teachers may wonder how to teach those students who learn by different learning styles. In this article, learning styles in distance learning is explored and how it is still able to help students.

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    Learning Styles

    Teachers and students are often presented with how their style of learning impacts how a teacher teaches their students and how a student learns their material. There are three types of learning styles, that of visual, audio, and textile. While these are easy to accomplish, say within a classroom setting, for many people who have optioned to take their classes through the virtual world, how do online instructors address their students' learning styles?

    In this article, discover how learning styles in distance learning are addressed by teachers and students.

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    Learning Styles in Distance Learning

    There are three different learning styles that students fit into that help them understand certain concepts within their education. TheseLearning Styles in Distance Learning  learning styles are visual, audio, and tactile.

    • Visual Learners - visual learners do best when presented with a visual representation of what they are learning in a particular class. These students are those that enjoy looking at pictures or creating pictures within their heads as they try to understand the material presented. Visual learners take detailed notes and will often prefer to sit up front during class in order to see everything they can.
    • Audio Learners - audio learners do best when listening to lectures or presentations in which there is discussion or listening to others. These students enjoy reading aloud and using tape recorders in order to get the underlining meaning of the material that is being discussed.
    • Tactile Learners - tactile learners do best when they are able to work with their hands and any activity in which they are part of it, taking a 'hands on' approach to their learning. These students often enjoy exploring the world around them and may get distracted when they aren't able to do so.

    In a traditional classroom, an instructor may approach these three learning styles by combining their lessons with each of these styles in mind, in order to get the most from their students. But what about those students that have opted to take classes online, through the use of their computer or through a mail correspondence? If the teacher and student can't see each other, speak to each other, or even do things that require a hands on approach, how does an online university address this for their students' learning styles?

    The truth is the ability of the Internet actually allows for each of these learners to be helped in their chosen style. Both visual and audio learners are targeted by the use of interactive tutorials, chats, emails, and other abilities that help them learn. Interactive videos can walk students through that week's assignments, giving visual learners the ability to have a picture in which to work off of, while audio learners can sometimes listen to a weekly discussion if they so choose.

    You may think that tactile learners are left in the cold, but that's not true. Depending on the course and that of the major, tactile learners may actually be able to work on their hands on learning by working through examples that may come with a certain assignment. For instance, if a student is taking a class that goes over the different parts of Microsoft Office, they can try using the examples given from the instructor or assignment by testing out using footnotes on a paper or creating a mail merge.

    Learning styles in distance learning and e-learning can still be done despite the distance in which students and teachers may be separated, giving each style a method in which they can enhance their educational goals.

    Image content @ MorgueFile