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Friday, March 18, 2005

learning styles and e-learning

Here is a nice review article on learning styles and the implications for e-learning. A case is made for the value of identifying the learning types of your audience before deploying your e-learning package. This is the kind of thing we have been discussing within CoAS but we are nowhere near being able to fully implement that. The best we can do now is use the technology that fits best with the type of content that needs to be delivered.

The authors make a distinction between the "black box" approach, where the computer is used to automatically deliver content and assess the progress of the student, and the "networks approach", where technology is used to facilitate communication between student-teacher and student-student. We have seen both types this term in our fully online courses. Our English Composition class used the network to enable peer review and class discussion, while Organic Chemistry leveraged recorded lectures and automated feedback.

There is such a vast difference between the experience of a "black box" and a "networks approach" online class that I believe that is the source of so much confusion in the assessment of the success of e-learning.

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