Saturday, July 18, 2009

Active Learning – Reaching out and engaging learners through understanding different learning styles, multiple intelligences and incorporating ICTs

I was quite interested in reading through the active learning section on Moodle. Throughout many courses in the BLM degree, it has been drummed into us the importance of profiling students through observations and recordings while also utilising the 8LMQs (Lynch, 2003). Through using this specific profiling tool, we are able to answer a key question about our students (How do my learners best learn?) that helps us to create learning experiences that students will best engage with, enjoy and most importantly, actively learn and investigate. To me, reading through the information about different learning styles, multiple intelligences and the engagement theory all seemed to fit perfectly with the concept of using technology to reach out to all different learners.

Learning styles, put simply are different ways people learn. The most common are Visual (looking/viewing), Auditory (listening/hearing) and Kinaesthetic (doing/hands on). Key multiple intelligences that can be noted also are visual/spatial (thinking in pictures, being able to comprehend information better through visual stimulus), verbal/linguistic (thinking in words and process information better through text or verbal instruction), logical/mathematical (learn best through reason, logic and maths, are curious and inquisitive about the world), bodily/kinaesthetic (express themselves through movement and hands on activities), musical/rhythmic (thinking in sounds, music and patterns, sensitive to their environment), interpersonal (outgoing and relate and understand to others) and intrapersonal (self reflective and prefer working individually). (, 2009).

After completing a few of the quizzes available on the site, these confirmed my predictions about my own learning styles and multiple intelligences. My results told me that I was Logical/Mathematical (definitely fits me because I HAVE to write notes and to do lists to be able to cope and things just have to be broken into chunks and worked out slowly), Kinaesthetic (explains why I cannot stay on task for a large length of time and easily get distracted, I need to break things up), Visual/Spatial (hence why I cannot read large chunks of text and understand it) along with Intrapersonal.

From reflecting on my time at different schools on my different practicums, I was able to recognise that I have encountered students with all of the learning styles and multiple intelligences. I often find myself, when I plan lessons somewhat concerned about lessons that I plan. I worry my lessons may not cater or reach out to all of these different learners’ abilities, styles and preferences in my class. I find that sometimes what I can plan and do in my lessons are to some extent limited because of time constraints, content to be taught and resources available to me. I have found some ways to overcome this however. If I can plan a few lessons on the same or focusing on a similar topic and utilise different learning styles/multiple intelligences in different lessons (through different activities), I can somewhat achieve ‘properly teaching’ to all students in my classes. I personally believe if we fail at teaching all students in our class, then we have not fully met our expectations of a teacher.

I have remembered back to how I felt at primary school, high school and even now at university, where my needs were not being met, my learning styles were not being catered for and in turn how it affected my learning. There was no point in giving me a novel to read at any point of my schooling, because I was never going to sit down long enough to read it, let alone understand it, nor enjoy it. I find even now, having to sit and read large readings or just sitting and listening to a lecturer talk for 2 hours, I do not learn a thing!

Anyway, bringing my blog back to how technology can help ALL students engage with content and learn effectively. By utilising different technologies that are readily available in all schools now, can cater for all students learning styles and multiple intelligences, while also making learning fun for them! Through the use of simple powerpoint for example, students can work in groups or individually, they are learning through a hands on activity, they are able to incorporate pictures, text, music and all different elements that relate best to how they best learn into their learning tasks and assessments. It is out job to source out what technologies are available and make them fit into the lessons we plan.

The important point that I felt has struck me throughout this section (Active Learning), is the fact that even though the learning styles and multiple intelligences we (and students) demonstrate, have remained the same over time, the way in which we have and continue to recognise, embrace and cater for them in education has dramatically changed thanks to technology in schools. Through all different technologies available in schools, we, as teacher should be able to more effectively engage students and meet their learning needs.

REFERENCES (2009). Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligence. Retrieved on July 17, 2009, from

Lynch, D. (2007). Learning Management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Pearson Education Australia: Frenchs Forrest, NSW


  1. Jill,

    I aggree with your statement about a teachers responsiblty and their expectations. Too often I see teachers 'burnt out'. Although I haven't been a teacher for many years, I do aspire to being a Learning Manager (LM) that understands and considers each students individual needs. I would like to not reach this 'burnt out' phase that many academics discuss.

    In relation to your concerns about your lesson planning, I feel that maybe you are being harsh on your own profling. By simply being aware that your lessons may not include all your students means you are thinking about them. I have sometimes found that during the implementation of lesson plans that students did not interact the way I had catered. To overcome this I extended the learning at other times when time permitted.

    It appears that time and resources are two of the major issues that a LM can and will face throughout their career. Although I would like to believe that all schools have the avaiable resources, perhaps this needs more attention. Does the importance of technology really show in out schools? Is this technology readily available in schools? I have to disagree. But why is this? Simply what you were discussing. There is a need for Learning Managers that want to take the responsibility and meet expectations.

  2. Thanks for the comment Anita. :)
    I do agree with you in regards to not all schools having the available resources. From my prac in different schools in one area, i have found that there has never been consistent availability to technology resources. For one school, even though they have a large student population, in the class i was placed in, we only had access to 2 (old) working computers in the classroom and 5 in the library (when there was a time free to book them for class use). Yet another smaller state school had access to an interactive whiteboard in their classroom at all times, at least 6 good computers in the classroom and a computer lab that can be accessed and used on a regular basis. The point i was trying to make was that even though technology may be limited (for some schools/classrooms), we need to somehow made do with what we have and use it to help all our learners. We need to try and make our lesson fit with what we have, no matter how difficult it may be. So bringing it back to the point you raised, i believe that the importance of technology in schools is shown, however not at all. I believe funding and the different priorities/visions of schools sometimes hinders their ability to be more updated with technology. Maybe it is up to us, as teachers to be trying to push for better, readily available technology in all classrooms. Even though teacher's schedules are busy as it is, maybe we/teachers need to somehow push for fundraising,etc and make school committees/groups understand the importance of technology to be available for students to use in schools in this day and age to help our learners succeed. It is definitely a touchy and difficult issue to try and find solutions to, however it is important to always try to think of ways to improve the issues now.