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How Multimodal Learning Transforms Education?

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Education is undergoing a remarkable transformation and at the heart of this change is a powerful concept, multimodal learning. This innovative approach is reshaping the way we teach and learn, making education more engaging and effective than ever before. In this journey through multimodal learning, we'll uncover what it is, why it matters, and how it's changing education for the better.

A young student exploring the power of multimodal learning on a whiteboard puzzle.

What is Multi Modal Learning?

Multimodal learning is a fancy term for a simple but revolutionary idea, Using different ways to teach and learn. Instead of just reading textbooks or listening to lectures, multimodal learning brings in a whole range of ways to absorb information. That includes things like pictures, videos, sounds, and interactive stuff that lets you get your hands dirty with learning.

Imagine reading a history lesson that's not just words on a page but comes to life with videos, where you can actually see historical events unfold. Or think about learning science with cool interactive simulations that let you experiment and learn by doing. That's multimodal learning in action.

Information channels or anything that conveys meaning in some way are called modes. Examples include:

  • Music

  • Movement

  • Gestures

  • Facial expressions

  • Colors

  • Pictures

  • Illustrations

  • Audio

  • Speech

  • Writing and print

Why does multimodal learning matter?

Every student has their own unique way of learning when they come to school. Therefore, the best learning experience should cater to all these different methods.

By using various modes of teaching, multimodal learning ensures that everyone's learning needs are met. For example:

1.Providing both written and spoken content helps those who prefer reading and listening.

2.Using pictures and animations can grab attention.

3.Giving examples can clarify concepts.

Multimodal learning not only supports all students but also enhances their skills. A study by Cisco showed that students who had both text and visuals learned more effectively than those with just text.Unlike the traditional one-way teaching we often imagine in classrooms, multimodal learning proves to be a more successful approach.

Similar results were discovered in a study of students who were learning English as a second language, who employed multimodal learning techniques to improve their writing skills. According to a different survey, most pupils prefer classes that include visual components rather than just text.

Multimodal interactions are the norm. Only employing one way of communication is quite uncommon, therefore educating kids should follow suit. Reading from a textbook as an example, which is one form of instruction, doesn't engage students' minds or get them ready for circumstances they might encounter in the real world.

Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection

The idea of learning styles is so widespread that it's often taken for granted. Not many people question this belief, as it's deeply rooted in our education system. Teachers are consistently advised that to be effective educators, they should tailor their teaching to match each student's learning style. Surprisingly, approximately 90% of students believe they have a specific learning style.

However, research challenges the existence of learning styles altogether. This presentation is dedicated to dispelling this myth by presenting research findings. It also delves into why this belief can be problematic and explores the reasons it persists despite the lack of concrete evidence.

Dr. Tesia Marshik , an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, specializes in educational psychology, focusing on student motivation, self-regulation, and teacher-student relationships.

In simple words, using different ways to teach helps everyone learn better. Some students like reading, some like watching videos, and others like doing activities. By using all these methods together, we make sure every student understands and enjoys learning. It's like giving everyone their favourite tools to learn. This way, learning becomes fun and easy for everyone!

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