Multimedia and interactive learning courses are playing an increasingly important role in the modern world of education. They enable a dynamic, engaging learning experience that complements and enriches traditional teaching methods. A key element in the success of such courses is the change of approach, which catalyses lively learning. A proven method is method switching (or method diversity).
The basics of changing methods
Changing methods refers to the deliberate alternation between different teaching and learning methods within a course. This approach considers participants’ different learning styles and preferences and encourages more active participation in the learning process. By changing methods, monotony is avoided, and interest is maintained.
Multimedia and interactive learning content
Multimedia content includes text, images, audio, and video, which are often designed to be interactive to encourage learners to participate actively. Interactive elements such as quizzes, virtual labs or discussion forums encourage engagement and enable a more in-depth understanding of the subject.
Lively learning through a variety of methods
Vibrant learning emerges when students are not just participants but active, enthusiastic contributors to their educational journey. Diversifying teaching methodologies plays a pivotal role in this engagement. Educators can use various methods to appeal to multiple sensory experiences and stimulate different cognitive approaches. This multifaceted strategy ensures that students don’t just skim the surface of the subject matter; instead, they delve deeper, fostering a thorough understanding and robust processing of the learning material. This approach enhances knowledge acquisition and nurtures a lasting interest and curiosity in the subject.
Increasing the learning yield by changing methods
Different methods allow complex content to be more easily understood and retained. Alternating between theoretical input, practical exercises, and reflection phases ensures that knowledge is absorbed and processed more effectively. This leads to a higher learning yield and increased motivation.
Method switching and method diversity in Flipped Learning context
Integrating the concept of method switching and diversity with flipped learning creates a dynamic and engaging educational experience. In flipped learning, traditional teaching models are inverted; students first engage with new material at home, often through interactive multimedia resources, and then apply this knowledge in the classroom through active learning strategies. By incorporating a variety of methods, such as collaborative projects, discussions, and hands-on activities, teachers can cater to different learning styles and encourage more profound understanding. This approach facilitates active learning in the classroom and empowers students to explore and understand content in a manner that suits their individual learning preferences.
Do adults are in favour of “method switching and method diversity” in learning
Studies (see Rhodes) have shown that adults are more likely to stay engaged and motivated in their learning when given various learning experiences. This is because different learning methods appeal to different learning styles, and adults have a variety of learning styles.
Here are some facts about the benefits of method switching and method diversity for adult learners:
- Increased engagement and motivation
Adults who are given a variety of learning experiences are more likely to stay engaged and motivated in their learning. This is because different learning methods appeal to different learning styles, so adults are more likely to find a method that they enjoy and that is effective for them.
- Improved learning outcomes
Studies have shown that adults who use a variety of learning methods tend to have better learning outcomes than those who use only one method. This is because different learning methods help to strengthen different cognitive skills, so using a variety of methods can help to develop a more well-rounded set of skills.
- Increased ability to transfer knowledge
Adults who use a variety of learning methods are better able to transfer knowledge to new situations. This is because different learning methods help to develop different ways of thinking and problem-solving, so using a variety of methods can help to develop a more flexible approach to learning.
- Increased enjoyment of learning
Adults who use a variety of learning methods tend to find learning more enjoyable. This is because different learning methods appeal to different interests and preferences, so adults are more likely to find a method that they enjoy and that is fun for them.
Critical comments on method switching
Although the method switching offers many advantages, challenges and limitations exist. An overload of too many different methods can lead to confusion and disrupt the learning process. In addition, designing varied courses requires a high level of planning and resources. It is also important to adapt the methods to the specific context and needs of the learners to ensure effective learning.
Changing methods in multimedia and interactive learning courses is a powerful tool to promote lively learning and maximise learning outcomes. While challenging, when used correctly, it provides a rich and engaging learning experience that enriches and transforms traditional learning.
The idea of Method switching – a well-known approach – but still applicable!
The idea of method switching and method diversity in the pedagogical field stems from the realization that no one teaching method is equally suitable for all students. Instead, combining different methods to meet students’ different learning prerequisites and learning styles is essential.
The first systematic examination of the suitability of teaching methods took place in the 19th century by the German pedagogue Friedrich Fröbel. Fröbel believed that children can develop best through active doing and exploring. Therefore, he developed several teaching methods based on the principles of play and handicraft.
In the 20th century, the findings of learning psychology were increasingly incorporated into teaching practice. Learning psychology shows that people learn in different ways. Some people learn best by hearing, others by seeing, and still others by acting or through social interaction. Therefore, it is important to offer different learning paths to give all students the opportunity to develop optimally.
In recent decades, the demand for method switching and method diversity in pedagogy has become increasingly vital. This is also due to the increasing heterogeneity of the student body. Students come from different social and cultural backgrounds and, therefore, also have different learning prerequisites and learning styles. Teaching based on only one method cannot meet the different needs of students.
Specific examples of method switching and method diversity in the pedagogical field include:
- Combining micro conversations with group work and individual work
- Using various media, such as books, worksheets, digital tools, etc.
- Promoting active learning forms, such as experimentation, hands-on activities, simulations, project-based learning, and others.
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- Arnold, R., & Schüssler, I. (2006). Methoden des Lebendigen Lernens. In Pädagogische Materialien der TU Kaiserslautern (Heft 1).
- Kaiser, A., & Kaiser, R. (2001). Studienbuch Pädagogik. Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag.
- Wiechmann, J. (2006). 12 Unterrichtsmethoden (3. Auflage). Weinheim: Beltz Verlag.
- Fröbel, F. (1826). Die Menschenerziehung. Keilhau: Wienbrach.
- Meumann, E. (1907). Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Experimentelle Pädagogik und ihre psychologischen Grundlagen. Leipzig: Engelmann.
- Rhodes, C. M. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching with adult learners: A review of the literature. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 9(4), 33-41. IGI Global. https://www.igi-global.com/journals/
- Carmichael, C. E. (2020, July 30). The importance of diversity in adult learning principles. Today’s Learner. Cengage. https://todayslearner.cengage.com/the-importance-of-diversity-in-adult-learning-principles/​