flip that course 5

Read the entire flip that course series on translating traditional courses for online delivery:

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Course Layout and Syllabus
  3. Communication Among Students
  4. Communication Between Students and Faculty
  5. Addressing Learning Styles
  6. Packaging Content


Fifth in a series on how to translate a face-to-face course into an online course.


SOURCE: Bonk, Curtis J., and Zhang, Ke. “Introducing the R2D2 Model: Online Learning for the Diverse Learners of This World.” Distance Education 27.2 (2006): 249-64.

In our face-to-face classrooms, we might be more aware of the need to address diverse learning styles, or it might be that we have just become accustomed to mixing up the presentation of material without really thinking about why we do it. It’s the fashion today to present speech, text, media, collaboration, feedback–we live this way and so, maybe, we work this way, too.

There is a danger in online courses of missing opportunities to create such experiences. We might be tempted to present all material using one method, whether it is a PowerPoint with a text script or narration, a video lecture, or a written lecture. In doing so, we also miss the opportunity to address learning styles.

The article referenced here offers “an easy-to-apply, practical model” (250) particularly for online learning. Bonk and Zhang’s model focuses on “the type of tasks, resources, and activities that one may want to embed in an online course . . . to address different human learning strengths” (251). Here’s a diagram I created from the article’s tables to highlight the 4 areas in the model, read, reflect, display, and do. Click on the image to enlarge:

I have not included the technologies from the article, just the tasks. In 21st-century technology terms, we are moving too fast for a scholarly article to keep up. But check out the entire tables in the article, then make up your own activities around the technologies that will make them possible.

The point is that we are still responsible for addressing our students’ learning styles in online environments. The environment does not dictate a single method of presentation or work any more than our classrooms should. The R2D2 Model works with your own course design instead of prescribing a pattern of organization and serves as a reminder of the variety we can add to online courses.


Categories: document delivery, learning styles, online learning

6 replies


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