Variability across learners


  • Adults arrive with a pre-existing learning and experience. It is important to provide pre-assessment strategies and opportunities for introductions
  • Age. Generations of learners demonstrate different traits in learning
  • Learning styles. Using a learning style quiz might bring awareness to the learner and instructor about preferred learning styles. Visual, auditory or kinesthetic
  • Motivation. Why is the student in the learning environment and what is the learner’s attitude towards the course
  • Technology proficiency. Will the learner require extra support or add new technology to the environment
  • Discussion comfort level. Some students are hesitant to become involved in discussions especially if personal viewpoints are required
  • Language proficiency. Understanding  course and portraying own work
  • Perceptions. It is important to try and establish how students are perceiving the content. Use frequent assessment and feedback
  • Goals. Establishing the student goals.

The UDL (Universal Design for Learning) encourages that the design of the curriculum should facilitate learning to accommodate all kinds of learners. They focus on three aspects

  1. Multiple means of representation to give the learners various ways to acquire information and knowledge
  2. Multiple means of expression to provide learners with alternative methods of demonstrating what they know
  3. Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners interests, motivate them and challenge them

In my opinion these three steps provide a broad framework that will help in designing an online course. This framework can further be developed to include additional steps as the instructor’s experience grows.

The video below offers a brief summary of the Universal Design for Learning



About Karin Potgieter

Originally from South Africa, I have been privileged to enjoy the beautiful lifestyle of Canada. My career in Early Childhood Education has been motivating, ranging from the endearing relationships with the children and families of the Preschool that I owned to the inspirational interactions with my students as instructor of the Early Childhood Education Certificate Program. My qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Provincial Instructors Diploma and en route to completing the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction.
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