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Targeting the Four Main Learning Styles with Online Lab Science

Targeting the Four Main Learning Styles with Online Lab Science

Updated: July 20,2022

We all learn differently. Some students work best with diagrams. Others learn the most from audiobooks, and some feel most engaged while working with their hands.  

Over the years, researchers have been working to understand how we learn differently and what distinguishes the main learning styles. One of the most well-known theories is the VARK model, which identifies four categories of learning:  

  • Visual  
  • Auditory  
  • Reading and writing 
  • Kinesthetic 

Each of these learning styles is marked by key characteristics. As educators, it’s crucial to ensure classroom materials and courses meet the needs of every kind of learner. In fact, most students learn best from a combination of the four, making it even more important to target every category.

This is especially true in partially or fully remote classrooms. Most universities are transferring at least some of their curriculums online, but are they accounting for each learning style as part of these adaptations?     

It’s entirely possible to reach the four main types of learning styles with online lab science courses. It just takes planning, understanding, and the correct materials.

That’s a big part of what we do at Science Interactive. Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the four styles of learning, then discuss tips for online teaching in science courses.

Benefits of our Lab Solutions

1) Kinesthetic Learning  

Hands-on experiences are key for students to succeed in lab science courses. That is why the kinesthetic learning style is first on our list. It’s often the most challenging learning style to target in remote teaching setups.

Kinesthetic (or tactile) learners are most engaged when working with physical objects and resources. Using pen and paper is helpful, but they also enjoy using their hands to map out their thoughts and problem-solve.

According to VARK, 22% of learners prefer a kinesthetic learning experience over all other styles of learning. When allowed a combination of learning styles, 87.1% of people included kinesthetic learning as one of their preferences. The majority of learners want to have some type of kinesthetic element in their learning experience.

At Science Interactive, our lab solutions include physical kits that allow all students to get a hands-on learning experience — even when they’re online.

Our lab kits are carefully designed to ensure that neither kinesthetic nor any other style of learners ever feel restricted during scientific learning. We strive to help every student visualize complex concepts and processes while working with their hands and physical materials. These can include anything from state-of-the-art lab equipment to small-scale quantities of chemicals — whatever a lab experiment may require.

We also provide interactive lessons to accompany kinesthetic learning activities. For example, we offer a digital periodic table that students can use to color-code different element groupings, as well as interactive illustrations and videos that demonstrate various concepts and principles.

Online Lab Solutions

2) Visual Learning 

Next, there is the visual learning style. Students who learn best visually require resources such as pictures, film clips, colors, images, and diagrams to fully grasp a concept. They do not benefit from overwhelming blocks of text or explanations that are difficult to visualize.

In lab science courses, supporting visual learners means using the proper aids. As instructors adapt their classes for online modalities, they’ll need to include more than just standard blocks of text or audio recordings of lectures– both of which visual learners can struggle with.

Considering that up to 97% of college students switched to at least some online instruction after COVID-19, and a large chunk of students are at least partially visual learners, visual resources are a crucial element of any successful remote course.

The Science Interactive team deploys visual leaning strategies through the SI Cloud, a flexible, proprietary lab management platform that incorporates a wide range of visual resources. The platform also allows instructors to customize the own visual resources by uploading videos, images and more, making it even easier to meet the needs of visual learners.

Learn More About Our Lab Management Platform SI Cloud

3) Auditory Learning 

If a student is a strong auditory learner, they may rely heavily upon mnemonic devices or audiobooks. Many also flourish in group discussions and partnerships where they can think and reason out loud.

In lab science courses, it’s essential that educators include solid auditory resources for their students. This includes lessons that students can listen to, but it should also expand to include opportunities for students to vocally problem-solve and discuss complex topics.

At Science Interactive, many of our lessons may include video with auditory elements to help engage students with their hands-on experiments. We also help instructors to target this learning style by allowing them add their own videos to any lesson in our library.

Want to see a demo of our course builder?

4) Reading and Writing Learning 

Last is reading and writing, which is arguably the easiest to achieve remotely. These learners are most engaged when provided with resources they can read through, as well as assignments that encourage them to write their own thoughts.

However, don’t assume that a PDF-based lesson will suffice for these kinds of learners – especially in a complex lab science course. A strong reading and writing learner often needs a combination of resources to effectively understand a concept. They want to discuss or witness a concept, then use written language to flush out the concept more thoroughly.

Science Interactive lab kits provide hands-on experiences, but they also ask students to conduct tasks such as reading data, entering analysis into tables, and writing up their findings.

Trends and tips for teaching online classes are evolving as the world moves to a more flexible, remote-based educational environment. Every educator and university will need to think about how they’re accounting for different learning techniques – especially in online courses.

Request a demo and discuss lab kit options

That’s where Science Interactive helps universities. 

We have spent the last three decades building strong science content and resources for every style of remote learning. Our hands-on lab kits, rigorous curriculum, and award-winning lab management platform have all been created to provide a comprehensive approach to remote lab science instruction and learning. Interested in learning more?