Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Thoughts about Learning Styles

Last week I acted as a secretary for my wife as she presided over a TMEA lunch meeting. I took a couple of pictures as well as the notes, and later moved a few of the best to flickr. The Texas Music Educators Association has over 10,000 members. They draw over 12,000 to their annual conference. While on flickr I decided to check and see what other photos were tagged TMEA. None. Zero. Nada. I was startled by this result. Not one person out of this large group had taken a photo at a regional meeting, the annual meeting or a planning lunch and posted it to flickr.

Later it dawned on me, these are all musicians. The visual is not their preferred method of communication. They most likely take less pictures than the general population. And, then they are still less likely to use a visual service to share them. The pictures I took, even though I let the folks at the meeting know they were available, have had very few hits. Looking at pictures is not their style.

When designing services for our users it is important to remember the different learning styles. They do make a difference. This group might have very little interest in flickr and a visual representation of knowledge clusters. Podcasting might appeal to them, if done well. They are more discriminating that most of us in the aural arena. When marketing to them in their preferred manner we should aim to keep the quality high, they will catch things we fail to notice.

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