From:  Brett Patterson (BP)

 BP -  Okay, first this part of the answer. There are different types of
ways that people learn. I suggest reading:

CM - That's a very simplistic theory of how people learn and it's actually a
communication theory that,  maybe because it's really simple, became
accepted as a learning theory.   That link is a simplification of what I
learned as AVK (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic) from NLP. I thought AVK was
the answer to all until I reflected on it, taught it, applied it and found
it... fun but useless.  The educational system rewards those that learn
visually so many have adapted to learning visually.  Everyone learns better
by doing/experiencing/feeling so everyone's a Kinesthetic.  Auditory seems
to be the only optional preference, but the cost of meeting auditory
learning preferences is very high.  Also, it seems that offering high
auditory experiences tends to be negatively received by those that don't
have an auditory preference, so it's best as an option.  No one really seems
to know what AVK is based upon.  It seems to me it may be based on what's
usually quoted as Mehrabrian's 7/38/55 communication rule which is in
incomplete interpretation of his findings
Somewhere this myth got started and it should be ignored.

CM - NLP does offer some clues about writing content for web display, aka
communicating concepts..  You can write so that people can "hear" the words
singing, "feel" the punch of an idea, "see" the interaction of concepts.
What is learning other than communicating, even selling, someone the need to
learn, to change what they "know"?  Flash s/b used when it increases
communication, not just because it's the only way someone knows how to put
content on the web.  "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a

 BP -  or

CM - Multiple Intelligence is also another learning theory that seems to
ring true but I've been unable to figure out how to apply all types of
intelligence into organizing and displaying content on the web.

CM - As far as learning theory, I'm a Constructionist.  Very simply that
means that I believe people construct their own learning framework by
seeking out resources that meet their needs.  If what they need isn't
presented in a way that matches their preferences, they'll adapt to whatever
is available, as long as they can find it.  Making content findable seems to
parallel making it accessible.

CM - For more useful learning theories, look at Kolb  (Active
Experimentation, Concrete Experience, Reflective Observation , Abstract
Conceptualization)  and
Soloman/Felder/Silverman (Active <--> Reflective, Sensing <-->Intuitive,
Visual <--> Verbal, Sequential <--> Global)

CM - What I've really learned about all the learning theories and styles,
after more than 20 years of involvement not a quick search,  is that none of
them are practical because people change their learning style based on
environment and what they're trying to learn.  What I've found most useful
is personality/communication styles.  Seems that all the personality style
matrixes, and most learning styles, that  I've seen can be boiled down to
task <-> social and detail <-> whole picture preferences.  I can match those
preferences on the web by offering short overviews with opportunities to
drill out to more detail (which c/b video/Flash/audio) and/or offer social
interaction opportunities - like this forum.

BP - Interaction is one the greatest styles of learning there is, in my
opinion...Flash can help tremendously with interaction, although that is not
the only way. An excellently developed Flash eLearning solution will add a
lot of different types of learning solutions to it. Most do. In an
excellently developed site, you will have "links" to different portions of
the file, where one may be to read what needs to be read, one may have one
spoken to you, and another may ask for questions and answers.

CM - Interaction is more than clicking on a link or moving things around on
a screen.  Those "links" are easier to develop and manage with HTML, plus
there's still the additional cost of developing/maintaining Flash plus
addt'l costs to make it as accessible as text/graphics.  Yes, Flash can be
used but it should never be the only tool that's used.   If a concept can
ONLY be understood if the learner HAS to SEE it in action then even adding
all the accessibility add ons to Flash won't help.  In addition,  I've found
that need to be rare and certainly no reason to justify putting all content
into Flash.

BP - Flash is a way to do learning online, just like the combination of
HTML/CSS/JS/AJAX, etc. And if instructors do want to use Flash for whatever
reason, then by all means, make accessible Flash. You cannot change all the
teachers in the world, it is impossible, and Flash is here to stay.

CM - At last, something to agree with.  Flash is just one way to offer
content.  Where we disagree is that Teacher/trainers can change, if they're
willing to learn from their students/learner.   Instead of pie in sky
theories,  try offering content as text/graphics and as Flash then solicit
feedback, watch the logs, see what is used and preferred.  That's how web
developers, not designers,  learn what works.  Long ago web developers
learned that putting all content in Flash wasn't useful  Anyone remember
some of the early eCommerce sites with verbal avatars?  What works is to
start simple, then layer in the complex only as needed.

CM - Plus people "read" the web differently than they read a book or watch a
movie (from 1997 but still true
People scan the web, people can't scan Flash.

CM - Think about this discussion thread.  Email based discussions are
another face of eLearning.  In what way could using Flash have improved this
discussion?  Would this discussion even have happened if all participants
would have had to create Flash files to "interact"?

Christie Mason

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