How to Create Courses for Various Learning Styles

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Episode Transcript

Joshua: Hello everyone! We’re back with another episode of LMS Cast. I am Joshua Millage, and I’m joined here today with Christopher Badgett. Today is going to be a little bit different because we’re talking about Learning Styles and why they’re important to consider when you’re building an online course.

Everyone learns differently. Some people are visual. Some people are kinesthetic. Some people are auditory. Some people are some combination of a little bit of all of it, and so you need to keep this in mind if you want to have a truly impactful course. If it’s just all text, you might be missing out on someone who learns visually.

Chris, with that, let me throw the ball in your court. What do you think about this? How do you take these all things into consideration?

Chris: First, let’s talk about those styles. You’ve mentioned about visual versus auditory and tactical and tactile or whatever. Then we can end with, later in this episode, about people who take a big picture top-down approach and others who take a bottom-up step-by-step roots approach. If we get into visual versus auditory and kinesthetic, the way you can do that in an online format is visually, obviously, you could use video in your content.

You can have that same lesson, also, be an audio and it could be a recording of the same thing, which is great for the person. Let say they’re a kinesthetic learner and like to be moving, they could plug that audio into their ear buds and go for a run. Some people learn better while they’re moving.

Joshua: I totally do.

Chris: Yeah.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s a podcast. That’s why I have a podcast. When I’m running, I soak up that information. A little caveat story, but my mom was a teacher. She had a gift with kids that had learning disabilities and things, and people that had ADD, she would just recognize that excess energy, so she would have the workaround. I actually definitely fit into that category. In college, I would go to the gym and read my textbook when I was on the treadmill and I would retain so much more information than if I was sitting, kind of like, pent up. It doesn’t work for me.

Yeah, I agree. I think it’s good to have that ability. Give your course that ability for that segment of student that learns that way.

Chris: Absolutely! Some people are more cerebral. If your main course content is a video, you make an audio version and now you have an audio format of it without the distraction of the video. Then, some people just like to read. You can have a transcript or a right out of what the video is all about or have a download version where someone can download it and then not be online to consume that content.

Yeah, there are just so many different ways you can go. As a general rule, whenever possible, I would just encourage people building a WordPress Learning Management System to deliver your lessons in multimedia format like that.

Joshua: One of the things that I’ve learned and this is just a simple way of doing it, is if you can record a video, have that recording available in audio, and then also give them a transcript so that they can read it. That’s just a very simple way of putting all of those pieces of the puzzle together immediately. Now, one of the things too is you can find, this is like another little trick or hack. I have a group of writers that I can tap. I give them a transcript and then they actually make it into a real language because I don’t write how I speak to you. I’m using slang and things, but they’ll actually take it, flush it out, and make it into a lesson.

You can find these people on oDesk or Elance and type in “Editor,” or you find some amazing grad students who just need some extra cash. They’re really good at writing, a little pro-tip there. Look for people that are English majors.

Chris: Yeah.

Joshua: They’re perfect. It helps them out and they enjoy helping you because they’re actually doing something that helps the business grow or helps a course spread, but it’s not that difficult. It just takes a little bit of time finessing the systems. I record the video, then I have my editor give me the MP3, I put that on SoundCloud or someplace to host it, put the video into YouTube and host it there. I go to Rev and get a transcript, then I take the transcript and put it out to the oDesk person to make it into something that’s readable. Put it all together in the backend of your Lifter LMS plug-in, it’s what we would recommend, of course.

There you go. You take one form of content and you put it in all these different forms, and that works really, really well. Of course, the more time you spend considering those learning styles, the better too.

Chris: Yeah. Let’s also touch on a big picture versus a bottom-up approach. This is actually true for the teacher and the student. For the student, I would encourage you when you think about designing your online course, you can use prerequisites and lock down the progress through your material. You can even put in quizzes in the way of that progress and that sort of thing.

That’s like the traditional ways of doing things, but I think there’s a large segment of the population who doesn’t learn that way. They actually like to jump around or maybe even start with the last lesson and then they’ll go to the middle and then the back and then they’ll fill in the gaps. Their learning experience, that’s just how they like to learn. I think it’s important to think before you lock it down in a more waterfall step-by-step approach.

If somebody is more in that step-by-step preference, they can just go through it the way as well, so you give people the option.

Joshua: Yeah. I think it’s true. It comes back to course design too, and is it a linear style or is it more of bits and pieces and chunks and things. It’s all strategy. In future episodes, it would be cool for us to just dial in different strategies and explain. The course design, I think, is a really interesting topic area that … as we’re recording this right now, I’m like, “Yes, that would be interesting,” but, of course, we want to hear what people want to learn too.

You can always reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected]. We want to hear from you, but I think this is a really good episode to get people to consider these learning styles and not to just go into … there’s no reason to be one-dimensional.

Chris: Absolutely! It’s true for the teacher too when they’re creating a course. We actually designed our Lifter LMS software around this concept where, if you’re a teacher … some people might want to … let’s say, this is their first time creating a course and it’s all just in their head. You can start with Lesson 1 and not even know where you’re going, “I’m just going to do Lesson 1, then I’m ready to Listen 2, and by the time I get the end, I’ll figure it out.” Some people think that way.

Other people, it’s all done in their head. They create the course first, then they create the lessons and the sections, they write all the titles and there, and then they go back and they add the content. The software can adapt to different ways. That’s more of a course creation style, but it perfectly mirrors their learning styles. The same is true, maybe a lot of people are intimidated by video, so they prefer to do an audio.

So, you do your audio first and if you do want bulk out your multimedia format, you can then hire somebody to get on video and teach your material and put that in your course. It doesn’t always have to be you, and like we talked about in the before is you can do the same thing with transcripts and getting the written format. You can start with any one of those and where you’re strong and then figure out how to do the rest either yourself or outsource it.

Joshua: I completely agree. That’s a huge negative wisdom that people can take and imply right now in whatever system they’re using, so I hope that people enjoy that and use that and start considering the different ways people learn. It’s really out of respect for their students. Cool, so any final thoughts for the crew?

Chris: Yeah. I would just close it out and say we’re talking about learning styles and engagement with different styles is really important to us at our core. If you need a little motivation to do the extra work to factor all these learning styles, it’s very true that having a multimedia format increases the perceived value of your material. You can often charge more money at that point. If you need a little motivation to do that work considering raising the price of the course because of that value you’re adding is a great little side-effect of accommodating learning styles.

Joshua: Awesome idea man! You’re always giving these last-minute takeaways. That’s so true. You can raise the price there and the value because you’re giving more value, so awesome. All right, well, that is it for today and we will see everyone next week.

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