A Guide To Using The Multimodal Approach In Learning

Benefits Of The Multimodal Approach In Learning

Multimodal learning incorporates various modes and methodologies to instill knowledge, teach concepts, and create materials. Its main principle is to awaken multiple senses, including vision, hearing, and touch, to increase learners’ engagement and help them retain more information. Additionally, participants learn how to utilize theoretical knowledge to solve real-life practical problems. Typically, the multimodal approach to learning is added to online courses, where individuals can proceed at their own pace and feel free to be creative without fear of running out of time. Both educators and learners have more fun participating in courses or real-time classrooms following this approach and enjoy collaborating to solve issues and share ideas. Accessibility is another advantage of this learning method since everyone can enter an educational environment and participate in the training regardless of their needs.

The 4 Multimodal Learning Types (VARK)

1. V – Visual

Visual learners tend to picture scenarios in their heads to solve problems and are usually keen observers. This means that they greatly benefit from information presented to them in various visual ways. For example, flowcharts, diagrams, infographics, images, and flashcards can help them retain information more easily and apply their knowledge in real-life situations. Color-coding different sections, using a variety of fonts, and labeling crucial points are all beneficial tricks for visual learners.

2. A – Auditory

Auditory learners prefer not only listening to their training material but also speaking. In educational or corporate training, this method can be integrated through podcasts, webinars, audiobooks, and instructor-led classes. Also, course designers and educators may organize group discussions, debates, and Q&A sessions to help participants express their opinions and engage in healthy conversations. Debates, in particular, are crucial for anyone to listen to different voices and have their own ideas challenged.

3. R – Reading And Writing

This is the most traditional of the multimodal approaches for learning. In this category, individuals prefer reading information, writing down notes, and completing assignments such as essays. Educators and eLearning designers may create PDF files, blogs, whitepapers, manuals, and written handouts. Also, learners should feel encouraged to take as many notes as they need, highlight their material, and use mind mapping. Their assessment may be based on written essays and true-or-false or multiple-choice questions.

4. K – Kinesthetic

This is the most active and possibly the most popular multimodal learning solution. Learners are taught using various modes, including live demonstrations, site visits, multimedia presentations, interactive role-playing, and field trips. They may even be asked to conduct surveys and draw results by themselves. As a result, their engagement and retention increase because they feel like active contributors to their learning. To test them, course developers may ask them to create their own videos, play a game, or solve life-like problems.

Examples And Strategies

Educational Games

Regardless of the learner’s age, games engage everyone in the learning process and reduce their stress. Also, participants can view their progress along the way and get a sense of accomplishment as they move forward. Not only are they having fun, but they also receive constant feedback and retain most of the information provided. This method involves video, audio, words, colors, movement, and accessibility. For example, learners may be shown a video and, based on the information available, asked to write their solution to the problem at hand. Additionally, the repetitive nature of games helps learners get familiar with the learning environment and feel confident about moving on to harder stages.

Think-Pair-Share

This method is often used in school, but it could also be incorporated into professional functions in face-to-face training. Participants are presented with a concept or question and asked to think individually about their answers. Then, they are paired up with someone else to collaborate and discuss their ideas. The next stage involves each pair sharing their thoughts with the rest of the learners and answering questions. Educators can either pair learners with the same learning preferences for easier navigation of the material or pair those with different preferences as a challenge. Whatever the case, individuals learn how to collaborate effectively, and the exchange of ideas strengthens their ability to defend their opinions and make convincing arguments.

Case-Based Learning

Often, learners may not understand how the learning points connect to real life. Therefore, instructors or course developers must build real-life scenarios and stories that encourage individuals to think outside the box and find a solution. In traditional classrooms, learners can discuss their choices, debate them, and understand why not everyone agrees with them or has a different opinion. They all collaborate to analyze and solve the issue at hand. Conflicts may appear, but participants are pushed to further develop their points, listen to others empathetically, and make a decision quickly. Those who use this multimodal approach in learning notice higher engagement, interest, and involvement from participants.

Multimedia Research Projects

This is a wonderful way for learners of all ages to get familiar with digital content and create it themselves. First, instructors ask individuals to research a certain topic using information gathered exclusively from multimedia. They can refer to podcasts, videos, audio clips, eBooks, newspapers, magazines, and any other source they deem trustworthy. Then, people must organize their information and create a visual presentation. Similarly to the media they used to acquire their knowledge, they should make their presentation engaging and use interactive elements, like slideshows, video compilations, or audio clips.

Lectures With Written Notes

When eLearning courses are not available and educators need to deliver lectures, they should ensure their presentations fit everyone’s learning preferences. Instructors may use slideshows with written text and visual material. Also, they can add annotations and callouts to attract people’s attention at certain points. Bullet points are useful, too, to organize bulky material and make it more comprehensible. Graphics, images, quizzes, and tests should also be used to drive everyone’s engagement. Written notes, transcripts, or recordings of the lecture can accompany these presentations. This way, learners can study what was mentioned in the way that best accommodates them.

Storyboards

This method is ideal for courses and lessons that are long and involve a multitude of concepts and learning points. A storyboard is a tool that breaks down courses into smaller sections and organizes the material in an easily digestible manner. It typically includes panels or frames that show the key elements of a section. The way it works is by creating various real-life scenarios and adding main characters who represent employees, customers, and colleagues. People are challenged to make decisions and see what the outcome is and how each participant is affected. Therefore, learners gain a better understanding of the training material and how each decision creates a domino effect. The same method can be used in companies when they need to make important decisions and aren’t sure of the results.

Conclusion

The multimodal approach to learning can be immensely useful and successful in both traditional and digital environments. When it’s time for feedback and face-to-face meetings are not possible, instructors or managers can record their comments on video and upload them to a company’s LMS platform. However, those who choose to follow multimodal learning must ensure the right balance of interactive and written elements. Overdoing it in images, games, and audio can make participants feel overwhelmed.

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