eLearning, eLearning Concepts, eLearning Software, Professional Training

What is Multimodal Learning? Why You Should Use It In eLearning

5 min read | updated Jun 6, 2024
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Can you remember the last time you struggled to understand a concept because of how it was being explained? This could be while you were taking a course online, or while you were studying in college – it could even be while reading a book or watching a video.

The solution for this is Multimodal learning which involves teaching a concept using multiple learning modalities. Multimodal learning is important since students retain more information when a course is versatile and includes visual, auditory, reading, writing, and kinesthetic activities.

What is Multimodal Learning?

Multimodal learning is a concept in teaching that says that students retain more information while learning using multiple senses. For example, when it comes to customer training, some of your customers will learn better from reading and writing in a text-based course than from listening to or watching a physical demonstration. Multimodal Learning goes a step further and recommends that you should use multiple teaching styles in training and educating. So, instead of only including text-based assignments or videos in your course, you use both text, video, and other self-paced course formats that stimulate different senses.

Keep reading to learn more about how applying Multimodal learning to your eLearning can help users stay focused and engaged in a course (among the other benefits).

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What Are The Benefits of Multimodal Learning?

The number one benefit of Multimodal learning is that your students will retain more information. By students we mean anyone taking a course: customers, partners, employees, etc. Moreover, by implementing Multimodal learning into your courses, your students will be able to pick up on topics faster and remember information more easily.

Multimodal learning can be applied by instructors in a classroom but is more commonly applied to online training using a Learning Management System (LMS). When it comes to delivering training online like safety or compliance training, you want to make sure that your courses use different teaching modalities; unlike learning in a physical classroom with others, learners are more susceptible to boredom and distraction online. Using multimodal learning in your online courses and live virtual training is a great way to keep students engaged.

While presenting an online course using only one media type like PowerPoint is easy to do, auditory learners might have issues learning this way. You could fix this by attaching audio files that transcribe the text on each PPT slide so that students had a choice to read or listen. You could still require all students to take a written test or oral assessment at the end of the lesson – but you would be giving students different options on how they learn the material.

How Multimodal Learning Helps Train Students With Different Learning Styles

Some students can remember anything they read, while others simply need to watch a demonstration and then perform a task to learn. For others, passively watching videos and taking notes is the best way to learn. The point is, by teaching using visual, auditory, reading & reading, and kinesthetic activities you’re maximizing learning experiences for your students.

The VARK Model of Learning

VARK stands for visual, auditory, reading & writing, and kinesthetic. Whether students are learning from a self-paced course or they’re attending class in person, teaching them with the VARK model will guarantee multimodal learning.

Let’s talk more about the VARK model:


Visual learners have a strong preference for seeing images and watching videos to learn. If you’re using an LMS to deliver education and training, you can easily stimulate this type of learning by creating SCORM courses with interactive charts and diagrams, or by simply attaching PDFs and videos to your course. If you’re hosting training in person then passing out physical handouts or presenting diagrams and videos is perfect for visual learners.

Auditory (aural learners)

Aural learners prefer using their ears over their eyes to learn. If you’re an aural learner, you will excel while listening to presentations, lectures, and podcasts. Using videos in a course would provide auditory learners with audio to listen to as well. These types of learners benefit from being able to listen to audio transcriptions of their assignments instead of having to read in a course.

Reading & Writing Learners

These types of learners are natural notetakers that learn best when they can control the pace at which they receive new information. Typically, readers and writers enjoy making lists while learning, reading from textbooks, and reading definitions. Learners who are readers and writers are ideal for most training courses since so many activities involve reading and writing.

Kinesthetic (learn by doing)

Kinesthetic learners are often considered hands-on learners since their physical senses like touch contribute strongly to their ability to learn. Kinesthetic learners will usually also enjoy learning through other modalities like watching videos or reading, but they get the most out of performing hands-on tasks. For example, watching a video on how to perform CPR and then practicing CPR on a person directly after.

Examples of Multimodal Learning

Multimodal Learning combines all of the different modes of learning to teach the curriculum in a course. For example, students listen (auditory) to an instructor giving a lecture on a subject before asking them to demonstrate (kinesthetic). Then, the students would have to watch more videos on the topic (visual) for homework and then write a summary about what they learned (reading & writing).

Here’s a specific example of how multimodal learning can be applied in a training program:

Let’s say you’re training restaurants in food safety. The training is designed as a self-paced course that employees can take on demand. During the last week of the course, there’s a live virtual training (webinar) for anyone taking the class to join.

The course starts off with some reading and writing assignments: explaining why food safety is important. Next, the course includes videos and diagrams to help students understand how to safely handle food in the kitchen. After the reading, writing, and visual portion of the course is complete, students are required to record a video of themselves cooking (kinesthetic). Finally, during the webinar at the end of the course – attendees listen (aural learning) to a lecture.

As we mentioned before, multimodal learning is most easily applied to continuing education and professional training programs using a Learning Management System (LMS). If you would like to learn more about LMSs, check out their features.

How to Implement Multimodal Learning Into Your eLearning Strategy

If you want to provide an excellent eLearning experience to students, there’s no better way to do that than with multimodal learning. That said, if you’re going down the route of improving your eLearning strategy with multimodal learning, we highly recommend investing in a Learning Management System (not to harp on). Attaching videos, powerpoints, and PDFs to your online course is easy with an LMS, and you can also create interactive assignments like multiple choice quizzes. Of course, after creating your courses with Academy Of Mine, you can manage grades, attendance records, and more all in one place.

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