7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

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The seventh and final principle concerns Diverse talents and ways of learning. Learning styles, modality, cultural influence all play significant roles in the differences in students within a class.

One of the most exciting aspects of technology enhanced instruction is the ability to provide learning experiences that acknowledge and encourage this diversity, in ways that are not practical, or even possible, in traditional classroom teaching.


Accommodating many different talents and ways of learning can benefit from the application of technology. Multimedia, self-paced work, repetition of practice quizzes are supported. Providing opportunities to see, hear and read course material is facilitated within a course management system.

We looked at learning styles and modality in earlier modules. Cultural influence is another factor in how students learn.

Students say...

  • I tried out the low vision simulation, which lets you experience a web page through various vision related disabilities, such as Macular degeneration, cataracts, and Glaucoma. The simulation definitely gave me a better understanding of the problems faced by computer users with vision disabilities. Web designers must consider who their audience are and accomodate to them because if they are trying to sell something, the audience must be able to read it or else they will give up and go to another website. The strategies for access friendly websites gives a different perspective of how you design the website. You need to consider where you put the information, how you put the information, and the colors you choose. It needs to be usable and readable.
  • After posting each other's AIM screen names on the board, we mobilized and got to chat with each other pretty quickly in the chatroom, seeing that all of us are on AIM every time we are on the computer, and that makes talking to each other very convenient and easy. ... Although it would have been more efficient and fun to speak to each other face-to-face, the fact that we had a chance to collaborate outside our individual spheres was effective.
  • Even though getting all the members to meet on AIM at the same time is hard, I personally think it is the best way to communicate, since the response time is instant, and ideas may flow more easily within the group.

Enhancing Instruction

One big advantage of using technology is instructional reproducibility - the delivery will be the same every time. Over time, the lessons, the activities, the media can be built and improved on. It is possible to offer the same material in multiple formats to capitalize on many ways of learning.

Adaptive Technology

DeAnza provides support to individuals with disabilities through a broad range to resources to help them through education and training. People with disabilities are able to participate more fully in work and careers through the use of Adaptive Technology. Here are some websites with good information on Adaptive Technology.


Students are likely more comfortable with Chat than instructors are. Encouraging students to use chat for collaboration gives them the opportunity to communicate quickly and resolve issues in real-time, without the delays that are introduced in the asynchronous discussions. If students use the Chat function within Catalyst, a record is kept. However, students use AIM for their personal communication and often conduct these discussions outside the Catalyst system.

Some students may not be available for the Chat time, so allowances must be made for this situation as well.

100 key FREE tools

Bring people together. For socialising, these tools are key

  • Yugma - instant real-time desktop sharing, virtual meetings and web conferencing, whiteboard, annotate and ability to share files.   You can invite up to 10 people for free and provide widget for your website.
  • Skype - a free communications and collaboration tool to be downloaded and installed on your computer. You can use it to have text and voice message conversations with others who have Skype for free.
  • Elgg - open source software that combines a number of social media tools - blogging, wikis, micro-blogging, file upload and sharing, RSS feeds, social bookmarking and social networking - for personal and group use- all on one platform.

Develop and manage courses. If you want to create and manage formal learning content (courses, programs etc), then these tools are important.

  • Slideshare - a site where you can host your presentations and share them with others. Presentations can be linked to at the site itself or else embedded in a web page. You can also synchronise an MP3 audio file (podcast) with the slideset to create a slidecast - a more powerful way of distributing presentations/tutorials. Slideshare is also a tremendous resource site of presentations.

Teaching and Learning

Students teaching themselves and other students reinforces student learning. Our students are amazingly talented, and encouraging them to contribute to the overall course benefits everyone.

Learning Styles

Getting students to think about their learning styles and how they relate to others is important. Even if the learning styles assessment quizzes are somewhat accurate, they help students understand that there are several key variations and being sensitive to these makes for better communication.

Students' English Language Skills

As more of technology enhancement of the course teaching and learning takes place online, there may be few or no on-campus meetings. There is a lot of writing required for a distance learning course. Students' work is expected to demonstrate college-level research, analysis, writing and paper formatting and should be graded accordingly. Students' English language skills must be at a level where they can understand the instructions for the activities and assignments.

Prerequisites or Advisories should be for English Writing 100B and Reading 100 (or Language Arts 100), or English as a Second Language 24 and 72 (or English as a Second Language 4). If students do not meet the prerequisites, they will not be successful in a distance learning course. Please consider this carefully.

Students' contribution to course development

Students are very generous with their time and their knowledge. Asking students to participate in enhancing or updating course materials can yield some great results. Ask them for feedback about assignments. Include assignments that require research to find new resources to update the course. Include optional or extra credit assignments that encourage students to "teach" something they have learned.

You could be the next DeAnza star

The DeAnza Media Center is available to help instructors create video or audio to enhance course material. This may be as simple as recording a weekly reading of student work with comments. Some faculty have developed extensive videos to demonstrate medical procedures and practices to prepare students for actual clinical work.

Learn more...

..return to Technology Supported Learning#7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning and complete the activities - Explore, Learn and Apply