Friday 3rd April, 2009
10:40am to 10:40am
The Internet is for many an environment where learning material is delivered and easily accessed. This presentation addresses the need for a shift in the delivery of such online material; a shift that is informed by knowledge of the needs of users/learners, their learning styles, the activity being carried out and the affordances of the medium.
While there has been tremendous development regarding where and when information can be accessed and delivered (from the printed page to web browsers to applications) to meet the needs of different customers, the form, structure, design and behaviour of information has remained mostly unchanged across media, without sufficient acknowledgement nor full support for the different learning preferences of different learners. Nor are the particular affordances of the different media exploited as much as they could be.
Whether information is available is not as much of a worry these days; nor is it the concern of this presentation. Rather, I emphasise the need for information shapers to further investigate and borrow from learning theories, and to acknowledge that all learners perceive and process information differently, causing them to have different learning preferences (McCarthy) and different requirements when it comes to information delivery. For example, while some learners may respond favorably to diagrams and charts as a representation method, others cannot process this form of representation as easily.
In this presentation, I will visually investigate and demonstrate how learning theories can inform new ways to ‘chart and present’ (and maybe even customize, transform or manipulate) information in order to provide conditions for meaningful learning for all learner types. While this presentation acknowledges the systemic nature of information delivery ‘ visual language of information, behavior of information and carrier of information, users, motives and goals, activity etc.’ it will focus on the following questions:
In an online learning environment, where learners’ motives are to expand on knowledge and their learning preferences, (i) how can learning style theories inform the design (visual language or form of representation) of information to support all learning preferences? (ii) How can learning style theories inform the design (behavior) of information in an online environment that has different affordances than the offline environment? (ii.b) How can such affordances support the learning preferences of different learners?
These investigations will show ways in which complex information can be managed to support the different learning preferences of different learners.
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