Web-Based Learning – Importance of Knowing Entry Level Characteristics

A teacher beginning to develop a web-based learning experience would be best served by knowing the characteristics of the students enrolled in their class. In terms of lesson design, these are called entry features and consist of information such as general information, specific features, and learning styles. Research has shown that knowing these characteristics before delivering the lesson can help the trainer tailor their material to the learner and improve learning outcomes.

General Entry Features

Common learner entry characteristics are those that most learners have in common. This can be gender, age or education. Learners may have different entry points to the course, but these are still considered common characteristics as all learners have them.

Specific Entry Features

Specific entry characteristics focus on skills that the learner must have before they can participate in your educational offering. This means that students must have some prior knowledge or experience to best participate in what is delivered in the web-based learning experience. For example, if a web-based course covers advanced accounting skills, the prerequisite for the course might be training in spreadsheet development and understanding.

These specific characteristics can be evaluated using some kind of inventory, such as a survey. Because you are providing a web-based learning experience, it may be best to use an online survey to conduct this assessment. The by-product knowledge would be that you can assess how well the prospective students are navigating and managing inventory.

Assessment of learning styles

Much research has been done on the effects of tailoring materials to the learner’s preferred learning style. A learning style is the learner’s preferred way of absorbing information. For example, they could be visual learners, kinetic learners, or learn best through exploration. With web-based learning, it is not always possible to meet the needs of specific learning styles, but ways can be devised to accommodate most styles.

How to assess the characteristics of the entry level

One of the best ways to determine learner entry characteristics into web-based learning is to conduct a learner inventory. This assessment inventory can be done via a computer survey or on paper or even with face-to-face interviews. These inventories should contain a series of questions that guide learners through all possible learning preferences. These review lists should be thorough but not overly exhaustive. Learners should be able to complete them in ten minutes or less.

It is important to recognize and communicate that while learners have preferences for learning styles, not all learning styles can be adequately accommodated. Web-based learning has its limitations, and it’s best to spell them out ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings.

Thanks to Sean Ashbrook | #WebBased #Learning #Importance #Knowing #Entry #Level #Characteristics

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