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Dan Beckius
Posted by Dan Beckius

Beckius has been on the frontlines of virtual training for as long as he can remember. It all started 20 years ago, when he was often seen carting around desktop PCs and monitors for face-to-face training sessions. A vocal advocate for the power of online training, Beckius helps companies get as much as possible out of their virtual classrooms.

Did you know that having the right tools to work remotely can improve creativity? Or that building modern, mobile work spaces can greatly boost productivity? Sometimes, all it takes is a little flexibility to have a big impact on outcomes.The same basic principle can be applied to online learning environments:Just as different people have different work styles, they also have different learning needs.

That’s why, if you want to improve online training outcomes, you’re going to need to embrace instructional design so you can accommodate different learning styles in a virtual environment. The process you use to design, develop and deliver learning materials can (and should) vary depending on the groups you’re working with.

To help, here are several tips you can use to accommodate different learning styles when preparing, staging and delivering training materials in the online environment.

1. Stage Content for Visual Learners

Visual learners are those who absorb information best when they can see it — in charts, diagrams, photos and the like. By staging course content ahead of time, you can ensure you’ll have plenty of videos, images and graphics to help these trainees visualize important points. If you'd like to take this a step further, you can infuse your staged content with elements of gamification.

training content

2. Tell Stories for Auditory Learners

In direct contrast to those who crave visual learning aids, auditory learners prefer to hear information. Audio clips and podcasts work well for these training participants. Or, when in doubt, give them an opportunity to sit back and listen to a great story. This group also learns by reciting information, which makes online breakout groups a good tool for this audience. It gives attendees a chance to repeat information back to other participants while further exploring key points. Human hand holding magic book with magic lights

 3. Incorporate Breaks for Kinesthetic Learners

While this group can be more challenging to engage in the online environment, there are steps you can take to accommodate kinesthetic learners. This type of learner likes to move, so breaking up a longer training into a series of shorter online classes will provide more opportunities to move in between sessions. Live polls, interactive whiteboards and breakout rooms are another way to ensure kinesthetic learners aren’t continually staring at the same screen, but rather “moving around” your virtual environment.

Whiteboard

4. Make Course Content Readily Available for Readers and Writers

Using a central repository, such as the AirClass Activity Stream and Replay, for all of your training materials and conversations can be remarkably helpful to participants who learn best through reading and writing. Because text is a powerful learning tool for this group, offering a chance to interact directly with your course content will help them stay engaged. The ideal setup will make it easy for them to download handouts for further reading, catch up on chat, leave comments on threads and access materials they may have missed the first time around.

 How to Know What Learning Style Appeals to Which Participants

During in-person training, you have nonverbal cues to help clue you into the dominant learning styles of your group: The attendees who crane their necks to see your whiteboard; the participants who make frequent trips to the refreshment table. But in the virtual classroom, instructional design can often feel like a shot in the dark.

That’s where the live Engagement Score comes in. In AirClass, individual Engagement Scores for each participant are visible to the facilitator and updated in real time. This individualized score combines several key indicators of engagement so you can see who’s actively absorbing information as it’s being presented:  engagement score

If the Engagement Score increases for participants when you’re sharing charts and graphs, there’s a good chance you have visual learners on your hands. If a low Engagement Score pops up when you start to collaborate on a whiteboard, it could be because that person learns best through listening. You can use this real-time feedback to identify the learning needs of training participants and make adjustments as needed.

Ready to put these ideas into practice? To learn more about the Engagement Score and other virtual classroom features mentioned above, visit AirClass.comTry It Out!


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