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Use Multi-Modal Reinforcement (Dual Coding)


Mathematics Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy


Auditory Processing Attention Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory Abstract Reasoning Visual Memory Spatial Perception

Use Multi-Modal Reinforcement (Dual Coding)

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.
— Katie Thurmes

Teach using multiple modes (seeing, hearing, touching, creating) to help all students, but particularly those with weaknesses, learn and remember more easily.

How To Apply It!

  1. Keep in mind that most content presentation is still traditionally verbal: lecture, class discussion, reading. This can be challenging for students with weaker listening, attention or verbal learning skills.
  2. Add a visual or hands-on component when possible, so learning can be reinforced through multiple means. Draw pictures when solving math problems or presenting geometric concepts, create visual timelines, and use other visual aids. Even physical gestures to show relative size and shape can help.
  3. Use physical, hands-on objects to represent abstract or verbal concepts to make learning more concrete. Ideally students can manipulate the objects themselves. These objects can include cubes to represent quantities or blocks to represent geometric concepts.
  4. Movement always enhances learning. Some kinesthetic approaches include acting out learning material, or, getting physical with games like catch. For example, if a student is memorizing math facts, parents say, "3x2," when they throw the ball and students say, "3x2 is 6," as they throw the ball back.
  5. Repeating or re-stating information helps everyone remember. Try rehearsing material out loud, and singing and reciting rhymes.
  6. Use technology to let students explore multi-modal approaches. Students can make and/or use videos, audio-recordings and digital images in their assignments or when they are studying.
  7. Do not force it or over-stimulate a learner. Pick two ways to reinforce a concept and make sure that the modality makes sense for the subject area and content.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Multi-modal learning is good for all learners, and it will be particularly helpful for students with weaker memory, reasoning or attention skills. Research on embodied cognition shows that multi-modal approaches help students learn and retain information as the senses mutually reinforce and multiple brain processes are engaged in the act of retention--the brain remembers seeing but it also remembers what the body was doing at the time. However, the research also says that many modes is not always better. The brain can become overloaded with too many simultaneous inputs, particularly with younger children, so you want to be careful not to overstimulate. The right balance has to do with what works best to engage the learner and reinforce the specific concept.