Understanding Learner Preferences

I want to share a secret about online learners that you won’t hear anywhere else … The Toledo Law of 1/3’s.  The Digital Learning Zone Online Course Creation Blueprint has 5 phases: Define, Decide, Design, Develop, and Deliver. Click HERE if you need a copy.

During the Define phase of the process you zero in on the characteristics of the WHO your course serves. The Toledo Law of Thirds adds a unique perspective by identifying the environment in which your ideal student prefers to learn.

In the early 2000’s, as I was teaching more and more online courses and helping other faculty deliver their online courses, I started seeing that learners AND instructors fall into three categories … out of those observations I created the  Toledo Law of Thirds.

Toledo Law of Thirds
Here’s a description of each and a Digital Learning Zone Strategy to help you design your online courses with your learners’ preferences in mind. Face-to-Face (F2F) dominant learners really love to be learning in person. I used to say, “These are the students and teachers who don’t like and shouldn’t go near online learning.” Now that people are more comfortable in the digital environment, this number has undoubtedly gone down. As a result, most of the learners who excel and prefer F2F learning will be capable of success in your online course. DLZ STRATEGY: Be sure to include live (synchronous) meetings and networking opportunities to give learners the sense that they are connected to others. Encourage them to work together and/or give each other feedback. You can even create discussion areas in the course platform or online social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) so they have someplace to interact. Online Learning (OL) dominant learners excel in the online learning space. They are tech savvy and comfortable with asynchronous (no live interaction) courses. These students are the ones who say, “Tell me what to do and get out of my way!” These are the perfect students for evergreen courses where there is a lot of content, but minimal interactions from you or other students. DLZ STRATEGY: Make sure the course material is well organized and scaffolded … progresses from easy to hard with plenty of clear instructions in video, audio, and text. Provide these learners with what they need to work individually. They might not get involved in live meetings or networking … and that’s ok … those opportunities will be there if they decide to take advantage of them. Flexible learners will excel and be content in either environment. They will be successful in both synchronous and asynchronous courses. They will enjoy the live elements … and … they will enjoy the evergreen courses.   DLZ STRATEGY: Include both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities. Then let these learners choose the approach that fits their needs and time schedule. You may find them doing some things on their own like the OL dominant learners and other tasks like the F2F dominant learners.
baby pointing

So … which category best describes you?

We usually teach the way we’ve been taught. So becoming aware of our learning preferences can help us make sure that our courses are designed to meet the needs of all three groups of learners. 

I’d love to hear if you’re a F2F Dominant Learner, OL Dominant Learner, or Flexible Learner. Leave a comment or shoot me an email at cheri@cheritoledo.com 

Now off with you … get busy on your course!

Remember, let me know if I can help you in any way. Set up a time to talk through the course you’re thinking about creating: cheritoledo.com/strategy And … most importantly … make sure you’re having some fun!  🥳