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Adult E-Learning Styles

Howard Gardner was the first education expert to formally suggest that human beings have different types of intelligence. His theory of multiple intelligences, put forward in 1983, went on to become the foundation of many modern education techniques. Gardner identified no fewer than seven different intelligence types and added an eighth to the list in 1997. He argued that it's incorrect to value one type of intelligence over another.

Teachers of children and of adults now incorporate Gardner's theories, either deliberately or as a habit acquired during teacher training, into their lesson plans and classroom strategies. The real-world classroom, however, is subject to limitations not experienced in the virtual learning environment.

This is why in many cases, E-learning courses successfully cater to the varied needs of adult learners and enable them to achieve their educational goals.

E-Learning Tools

As Gardner pointed out, some of us learn by actively trying things out, some prefer to read and absorb theories and ideas, while others need to see diagrams and concrete examples of the concept under discussion - the list goes on and on. In a traditional classroom with perhaps 30 students, a teacher struggles to balance these different needs. Often, some of these students prefer quiet thinking time while trying to understand a difficult idea, while other students want the teacher to explain verbally, and perhaps more than once. The result is that everyone ends up compromising to some degree for the greater good of the learning group.

While an element of compromise is involved in any type of learning environment with more than one student, online adult learners can select a course that best fits their needs. Even within courses, there are varied learning tools which enable people to find a learning pattern that suits them.

An example of one such learning tool is the online chat forum, where students can share ideas, diagrams, etc. with other learners. Online schools and colleges also use platforms to which course tutors can upload lecture notes, photographs, charts, PowerPoint presentations, audio files, etc. This means the student can return to the learning material at a time that suits him, and as many times as he wants.

Knowing Your Style

Many educationalists have further investigated and tested out Gardner's theories. As a result, there are free tools available online to help you determine your intelligence type and learning style.

Such tests can show you where you are on the spectrum of active/reflective/visual/verbal/sequential and global learning. The test results are usually delivered with some tips as to how you can help yourself to learn, even in educational environments which do not cater directly to your own personal learning style.

This might be worth doing before selecting an E-course. A quick internet search for "learning style test" will take you where to need to go. Armed with the results, you'll be better able to select an appropriate course and deal with the elements of that course which you find challenging.

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