Students’ Learning Style Plays a Crucial Role in Online Education


According to a study conducted in the month of January, about 52 percent of more than 1000 adults, who took part in the survey, said that they believe hands-on training is the best learning way.

On personal note, when I took the online master’s program in English, most of my time was spent on reading, reading, a test and more reading.

But when I look back, I wish I had chosen a program that put more emphasis on video tutorials, interaction with fellow students and recorded lectures.

Being a strong reader, I was able to achieve the degree but for someone who believes in interactive experience, the learning process might be painful, as such courses do not offer any hands-on experience.

The 2014 Learning in America survey reveals that majority of the adult population today believe in a more interactive approach to learning.

The study was commissioned by Everest College and released in the month of January. It was found that about 52 percent of above 1000 adults surveyed believed that hands-on-training is the best learning method. The next most popular learning option was watching visual presentations while textbook reading, collaborative study, watching videos, learning through teaching others, using the internet and listening to a lecture followed as other popular options.


According to John Swartz, regional director of career services for Everest College, a for-profit institution managed by Corinthian Colleges Inc, “What this survey is showing is people crave interactivity and engagement,” 

However, it is not clear if the online programs are receiving the message.
Ideally, most online learning programs are designed to serve a wide range of learning styles and preferences, such as integrating different media tools like video chats, white board demonstration, podcasts and films alongside reading.

Vernon C. Smith, special consultant to the provost for online education programs at Mount St. Mary’s College, says that the ideal world is a far-fetched dream, as only a few colleges are using all the learning tools at their disposal.

He further adds, “Most institutions are not at that level of reflection. For a while it was just ‘Get your course online’ because the demand was so high. Now we are getting into a new era of sophistication for students. It’s not just about accessibility – it’s about the quality of the experience.”

I advise prospective students to do their research well before time to ensure the needful experience, as not all online programs serve to the learning preferences of everyone.

While visual learners should make sure that their courses incorporate video, learners who believe in interpersonal interaction should ensure of lots of engagement with fellow students.

Before choosing the particular program, learners should understand its strengths. A large number of institutions today offer orientation programs to let students understand the courses beforehand. Good institutions allow students to understand the technology involved in the education process so they can know all about the lessons.

Some students already enrolled in online courses regret not doing more research into the program to make sure that the material was given to them in different ways. Though the courses are very engaging and cater to various learning preferences but the heavy reading and light interaction leave them unimpressed.

However, even if the class is not well-suited to the learning style, students should not lose their all hope. Dedicated students make their own road to success even in the most taxing circumstances.

Hence, prospective online learners should research well and sign up for the course only when they are satisfied that it suits their learning style.

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