Interactive learning systems involve the creative use of technology in classrooms.
Interactive learning systems involve utilizing a variety of technological equipment for education purposes. These systems can include interactive whiteboards, computers, interactive websites, student interactive response systems and Internet blackboards. When using interactive learning systems, teachers should incorporate various learning styles into learning activities.
Traditional Learning Styles
The basic learning styles of students are visual, auditory and kinesthetic, which is also known as tactile. Visual learners depend mainly on pictures, graphic organizers, video and visual representations to assimilate information. Auditory learners are geared toward listening to lectures, books on tape and class discussions. Kinesthetic learners need to touch objects, do activities and make items.
Felder-Solomon Learning Styles
Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman developed a more elaborate theory of learning styles. These styles included visual or verbal learners, sequential or global learners, active or reflective learners and sensing or intuitive learners. According to Felder and Solomon, each of these categories represents a continuum on which each person falls. Visual learners need pictorial representations while verbal learners need words. Sequential learners need algorithms and step-by-step procedures, whereas global learners prefer to be shown the big picture. Active learners need to engage in hands-on activities; reflective learners want to think everything through before taking action. Sensing learners prefer to learn facts and use practical application in learning; intuitive learners prefer to come up with their own problem-solving methods and crave novelty. All learners use both types of learning on each continuum sometimes, but they normally show a preference for one over the other.
Interactive Learning Systems and Learning Styles
Interactive learning systems are most effective when they incorporate multiple learning styles. For example, an interactive whiteboard activity consists of visual representations, auditory lecture and student hands-on activities. This activity incorporates all the traditional learning styles, as well as the visual, verbal and active learning styles from the Felder and Solomon model. During the activity, teachers can encourage students to solve problems and share solutions with partners to incorporate even more learning styles.
Balance and Blend Model
The incorporation of various learning styles within individual activities is known as the Balance and Blend Model. This model requires teachers to construct precisely balanced activities, which include students’ preferred learning styles, while encouraging students to step outside of their comfort zones to try activities they may not ordinarily enjoy. Teachers use learning styles inventories to assess their students’ strengths and weaknesses. This data helps the teachers develop lessons and activities involving interactive learning systems.