Diverse Ways of Learning

By Sandy Chapman

It's common knowledge that the typical lecture format, which might be fine for auditory learners, often fails to engage many students.  As demonstrated in a recent workshop by Colorado State University faculty member, David Greene, incorporating media such as video, audio, graphics, interactive visuals, and models can breathe new life to classroom lectures and help students grasp important concepts.

Professor Greene of the Dept. of Occupational Therapy is a past recipient of the Best Teacher Award and the 2007 Colorado State University N. Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation, presented to a CSU faculty member in recognition of the use of technology to further or significantly encourage instructional innovation.

In a presentation at the 2007 Teaching with Technology Workshop series, sponsored by The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT), Professor Greene demonstrated teaching strategies using simple multimedia and the value of showing the actual "thing" that is the topic of instruction rather than just lecturing about it.  Instructing the audience in the aspects of wrist extension and finger flexion (bending), Dr. Greene's methods ranged from a typical lecture with PowerPoint to three-dimensional, multimedia models and hands-on experience, thus illustrating the superior benefits of using more multidimensional methods for teaching an audience of students with diverse learning styles. Greene's examples included:

One-dimensional

  • PowerPoint
  • Typed pages of notes (no visuals)

Two-dimensional Image

  • Drawing on blackboard with colored highlights
  • Animated illustration

Three-dimensional Image or Live Illustration

  • Students participate by demonstrating movement with their own wrists
  • Document Camera (Doc Cam) illustrating real movement and freeze image
  • Passing around demonstration models
  • Animation of a physical movement with a real-life model
  • Group discovery activities
  • Have students create models