What is multimodal learning?

Multimodal learning refers to the process of integrating information from multiple sources or sensory channels, such as text, images, audio, video, and gestures, to enhance learning and understanding. It recognizes that different modalities provide unique and complementary information, and leveraging these multiple sources can lead to more comprehensive and effective learning experiences.

In traditional learning scenarios, teachers present information through a single modality, such as text-based materials or lectures. However, multimodal learning takes advantage of the capabilities of various modalities to provide a richer and more engaging learning environment. For example, incorporating images, videos, or interactive simulations alongside textual content can help illustrate complex concepts, provide visual cues, and increase learner engagement.

using multimodal learning in classroom

VARK Framework Defined

The VARK framework is a model that categorizes different learning based on four main modalities: 

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Reading/ Writing
  • Kinesthetic

The acronym VARK stands for these four modalities. Neil Fleming developed the VARK model in the late 1980s, and has been widely used in education to understand and accommodate different learning preferences. 

You can take a quick quiz to determine the best learning modality for your learning style here.

What are the multimodal learning styles?

  1. Visual: Visual learners prefer to process information through visual aids such as charts, diagrams, graphs, and images. They learn best when information is presented visually, allowing them to see and observe concepts.
  2. Auditory: Auditory learners learn effectively through spoken words, discussions, and listening to lectures or audio recordings. They tend to absorb information through verbal explanations, discussions, and other forms of auditory input.
  3. Reading/Writing: Reading/Writing learners prefer written material. They excel in learning through reading textbooks, written instructions, and taking notes. They often prefer to process information by writing or typing it out themselves.
  4. Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learners learn best through hands-on experiences, physical activities, and practical applications. They prefer to engage in activities that involve movement, touching, and manipulating objects to understand and remember information.

It’s important to note that while individuals may have a dominant learning style within the VARK framework, many also exhibit a combination of learning styles. The VARK model suggests that by recognizing and catering to different learning preferences, educators can enhance the learning experience for diverse students.

Multimodal instruction examples

Multimodal instruction can take on different forms in the classroom. TeacherMade makes it easy to create multimodal classroom activities:

  1. Visual: Add pictures, diagrams, and videos to your online TeacherMade assignments. This helps reinforce concepts in the classroom by giving visual cues. 
  2. Auditory: Normal assignments often lack auditory elements. Often lectures are entirely verbal, and then the verbal cues completely vanish once students are on their own with formative assessment. With TeacherMade assignments, you can leave voice recordings, your students can record their voices for answers, and you can even include songs. 
  3. Reading/ Writing: Sometimes, we need to read more about a subject before continuing. With online TeacherMade assignments, you can easily incorporate links to relevant articles to deepen your student’s knowledge. 
  4. Kinesthetic: Your students can move objects around in the multimodal classroom. You can even incorporate kinesthetic techniques online as well. Apps like Quizlet let students create digital flashcards for the kinesthetic- feel while studying. With TeacherMade, our drag-and-drop features allow you to create assignments that engage every learning modality. 

Strategies for a multimodal learning classroom

Use technology

Technology is one of the easiest ways to infuse multimodal instruction into your everyday classroom. You can create online presentations, formative assessments, and activities with every modality. 

Include media

You can incorporate pictures, videos, and sounds into your online slideshows and assignments. Media helps to illustrate concepts differently to drive a new concept home. 

Create multimodal assignments

Don’t let multimodal instruction stop when you finish your lesson. Incorporate all four modalities on assignments, practice, and assessment. With TeacherMade, you can include multimedia and over 20 different question types.

Provide feedback

Give your students feedback each step of the way. In a multimodal classroom, students receive instruction in new ways. In some cases, their learning will take off, but in others, you may find learning harder. Feedback keeps the dialogue open for you and your students so you can take academic risks and incorporate multimodal instruction into your everyday learning. 

Be strategic and don’t overload students

Multimodal learning does not mean using every form of multimedia you can find. This can overwhelm students and distract them from the overall lesson. Be strategic about what materials you include to keep your lessons and assignment focused. 

Incorporate blended learning

Blended learning allows you to teach traditionally while incorporating technology and multimedia into your everyday classroom. 

Multimodal classroom benefits all students, and TeacherMade can help.

TeacherMade makes it easy to incorporate multimodal learning into your classroom. With TeacherMade, you can:

  • Create interactive assignments with over 20 question types
  • Include multimedia like verbal cues, videos, pictures, and even student recordings
  • Pause a slide presentation in PowerPoint or Google Slides to do a formative assessment to check for understanding
  • Provide student feedback effortlessly and save time with auto-grade features.

Try TeacherMade today to transform your classroom with multimodal instruction.