The Online Community of Learners
In Module 2, The Online Community of Learners, we looked to understand our audience. For any presentation, speech, class, or written communication you must understand your audience – after all it’s all about them, not you, the facilitator. Without students, we do not exist. The below graphic tells the importance of getting the student engaged immediately and set them up for successs!
Taking the North Carolina State survey to understand my learning preferences (styles) is important to see where I might have strengths and weaknesses. Just because I am “Visual” does not mean that everyone is and, therefore, I be certain not to rely on this and to offer learning design options for all preferences. I need to keep building my strengths in this regard, but also need to grow my verbal learning and teaching skills. It’s too easy to become complacent and rely on what we know (or believe we know) and forget to meet the needs of others.
Knowing the student will help the learning designer and facilitator (of the same person in many organizations) will all us to tap into what they already know. The brain uses less power relying on what it can easily retrieve and relating old knowledge to new knowledge helps the student grasp new concepts sooner. Mixing new and previously learned information helps the learner. We’ve all probably tried to pull an “all-nighter” to cram for that Calculus or Physics exam. Not very effective (or fun), right? Imagine pedaling a bicycle uphill for miles with no stopping. A constant influx of new information without some sort of mental break is exactly like this.
In this same module we explored the concept of Constructivism, the theory that people (students) “construct” their own understanding and gain knowledge by experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. Knowing generational differences and various learning preferences is important to designing learning to help students understand new information as they desire. In training the radio description of WII-FM (What’s In It For Me?) helps us remember to write clear learning objectives that work towards what the student needs and desires.