>Right-brained learners will generally do better in an online learning environment than those learners who are predominantly left-brain learners. No one is exclusively right- or left-brained, but most everyone has preferential tendencies toward which side of the brain is used more often when learning or interacting with others. Some individuals are what is called whole-brained, using both sides of the brain equally. Schools have traditionally favored the more left-brained students, but with online learning becoming more widespread, that is changing.

Left-Brained Students and Traditional Education

Traditional education insists that students focus on analytical thinking, accuracy in computation and logical thought processes. Left-brained students are comfortable in this kind of learning environment because they use more logical, rational, objective and analytical methods for learning and retaining information. Left-brained students like schedules and tend to follow them carefully. They are very good at verbal communication, therefore excelling in a face-to-face classroom. Verbal interaction is a good way to teach a left-brained student.

Right-Brained Students and Traditional Education

Right-brained students do well in learning environments that focus on aesthetics, feeling and creativity. They like to look at the big picture, rather than the small parts, working backward from the goal to the steps to reach the goal. Visual elements resonate with right-brained students, so it is important to incorporate color and other visuals into the learning session. Meeting deadlines is not a trait of the right-brained student. He or she will start many projects, finish few of them and move between them without problems.

Left-Brained Students and Online Education

Since left-brained students need structure and schedules, online learning is not always the best choice for them. Online learning, by definition, is fairly unstructured with flexible deadlines. That is not to say that left-brained students cannot succeed in online learning modalities, but they may have to struggle more to grasp the concepts being taught. Providing concrete information about schedules and time lines will help the left-brain student in the online class.

Right-Brained Students and Online Education

An online class is a great match for the right-brained student's personality and learning style. This student will immediately understand the processes involved in online learning, which is a very visual learning modality. An online class has movement, color and other elements that will appeal to the right-brained student. It is also flexible, giving the student permission to attend class on his or her own schedule, within guidelines, of course. Online learning modalities give the right-brained learner many more options for continuing education than traditional education does.

Hybrid Classes and Whole-Brained Students

There is a way for all students, no matter what their learning style is, to achieve their educational goals. Hybrid classes take both right- and left-brained students into consideration. A hybrid class is part online, part face-to-face, thus providing the students with the opportunity to learn how to be more whole-brained while in school. Learning to compromise some things and make them work will help the student when he leaves school and enters the work world.

- Janie Sullivan

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