A Variety of Learning Styles
For some time now, it has been widely accepted that children do not all learn in the same ways. Through studies, at least seven different learning “styles” have been identified. The good news is that many tried-and-true educational approaches address a variety of styles or modalities of learning.
Many teachers have always taught using a blend of manipulatives, showing pictures or diagrams on the board, explaining it verbally, asking the students to read the text, and having the students practice their new skills in written form. The bad news is that this use of a broad number of modalities seems to decrease as the children move past the first few grades of elementary school, and schools tend to approach children as if they all have the same mix of learning styles.
Rapidly Changing Learning Styles
Research in the last decade indicates that today’s short attention-span culture is creating children whose brains are actually wired differently from their parents’ brains. From a young age, they have been exposed to an unprecedented amount of visual information via books, magazines, television, videos, video games, and the Internet. This visual influx seems to actually be changing the visual pathway in children’s brains. On the upside, this new generation is able to process faster, multitask better, and actually score higher on most IQ tests. On the downside, this over-stimulation is creating problems for parents, schools, and even physicians who feel the need to somehow rewire the child’s brain “back to the way it is supposed to be.”
The fact is this: visual learners are rising in number, they are here to stay, and they have unique educational needs.
Common Links Among Visual Learners
Right brained, visual learners tend to have several things in common. They visualize images in their brain and can have long term memory of these images. They don’t usually perform well on sequential, or linear tasks (such as following multi-step instructions or long division problems). They learn information in chunks, in a holistic way. They learn much better by demonstration than by explanation. And they are naturally creative problem solvers.
Computer-Based Learning and the Visual Learner
Time4Learning has many features that benefit just such learners. Obviously, the most important aspect is the computer-based learning. Seeing your lessons in front of you, instead of depending on listening skills alone, is critical for the visual learner. Every subject is presented in a multimedia format and is highly interactive and engaging. Visual demonstrations within the lessons aid in making information understandable to right-brained students.
Because so many visual learners have struggles with the linear tasks of reading and writing, Time4Learning includes strategies for assisting this process. Even the highly auditory subject of phonics is presented visually and is supplemented by a holistic literature connection. For early readers, Time4Learning provides the “read along” option for reading assignments, where the words of the story are highlighted, allowing visual learners to make the word-sound connection. Older students, still not reading fluently at their grade level, have the choice of having their core lessons read aloud to them via a text-to-speech program with cartoon character delivery. One of the most powerful features of the writing instruction in the upper elementary through high school grades is the Odyssey Writer. This software includes such visual writing tools as note-card creators, graphic organizers, and the ability to easily insert images and links into their papers.
One of the biggest complaints about math in elementary schools is the “boredom factor.” Visual learners have a double struggle with math when information is presented in sequential steps on a chalkboard and makes no connection to real life. Time4Learning online math tackles this problem in several ways. First, we make math instruction visual and engaging. Second, we include learning games that reinforce the concepts taught. Third, we provide instructional content that illustrates how the ideas are applied in real-life situations. We also offer Time4MathFacts which utilizes fun games to engage your child in learning math fundamentals.
Read more about teaching math to visual learners here.
Traditional homeschool curricula are often designed much like classroom curricula, and simply do not address the needs of visual learners. But these right-brained learners take to the Time4Learning method almost immediately. They love the colorful design, the interesting lessons, the interactive platform, and the multimedia format. They find themselves craving more, and, as parents, isn’t that exactly what we hope for?
Time4Learning has helped thousands of children. Help yours today. Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed.