All eLearning professionals are well aware of the three main learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Some of the effective strategies to engage auditory learners include recording lectures and making them available for future use. To accommodate these learners, instructional designers may also consider podcasts and mnemonic devices.
As opposed to auditory learners, visual learners must be able to draw a mental picture before they can process the information. To accommodate visual learners, instructional designers can use diagrams, drawings, videos, PowerPoint presentations and other visual aids such as infographics.
Kinesthetic learners are those that struggle the most in a distance-learning format. Although it is much harder to accommodate kinesthetic than auditory or visual learners, it is not impossible to do so. Some of the ways to make eLearning materials more hands on include giving learners the opportunity to participate in discussions via chats or discussion boards and offering to complete exercises and experiments. Games and simulations are also excellent ways to engage kinesthetic learners.
When instructional designers create eLearning courses, they should definitely try to design activities that meet the needs of each learning style. However, while it is true that we all have our own preferences, critics believe that people should be able to learn new information using any format. The truth is that in addition to learning styles, other factors should be taken into consideration. For example, all people learn at different pace. While some can grasp concepts fairly quickly, others need more time to process the information. It is also worth noting that individuals interested in a subject being taught would grasp it my much faster than those who do not demonstrate any interest.
In my book, Instructional Design for ELearning, I discuss different types of learners and cover the ways to accommodate each type. I also offer suggestions on the types of activities that instructional designers may want to include in their lessons.