The development of technology has brought certain changes, such as innovative approaches and instruments. Online education is becoming increasingly widespread in the USA and across the globe (Idrizi et al., 2018; Palvia et al., 2018). For example, it has been estimated that by 2015 the share of this type of learning had reached slightly over 20% (Trilaksono & Santoso, 2017). The accessibility and affordability of this type of educational services make them attractive, especially when it comes to higher education. Online courses are more affordable and can be accessed with no attention to distance or time. The COVID pandemic has substantially affected the educational system, making online education an effective alternative to conventional educational patterns (Krishnan et al., 2021). Digital educational settings are seen as a safer alternative keeping people away from each other and safeguarding them from contaminating dangerous diseases. Digital tools are expected to be widely used worldwide, so educators try to accommodate the new instrument.
Online education for adults and adolescents has proved beneficial in many ways, with only a few areas of concern. Younger learners, middle-school students in particular, are less adapted to the usage of online tools due to certain developmental peculiarities, so educators have to design diverse methods and approaches to ensure that their students’ learning goals can be attained (Yuliyanto et al., 2020). These students have a shorter attention span and different motivational peculiarities, which influences the way they learn and behave during classes. Many teachers find it more difficult to manage digital classes due to the lack of physical contact with children. Many people find online education impossible without the involvement of parents, which is not often possible.
Practices, Policies, or Procedures That Led to the Problem
Teaching strategies and methods employed in the USA are evidence-based as researchers explore numerous aspects of teaching and learning and develop theories and frameworks practitioners utilize. The research into people’s learning styles has equipped practitioners with numerous tools. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners focus on visual, audial, and physical stimuli, respectively, and this peculiarity is often used by teachers who try to accommodate these learners’ peculiarities (Idrizi et al., 2018). When it comes to visual and audial learning styles, they are easily adapted to the digital learning environment. The digital educational environment can be even more appropriate for such students as they can access almost limitless audiovisual materials.
At the same time, kinesthetic learners’ needs require specific attention as the digital learning environment is deprived of many characteristics of the physical world that are important for tactile learners. For instance, the conventional learning environment enables teachers to use movement and on-hand learning (Stamm et al., 2021). Students circulate the classroom, manipulate objects using their hands, and play games involving physical contact with peers. All these aspects are critical for tactile learners and can hardly be utilized in online education (Matsuura et al., 2021). Due to the comparative novelty of online education in middle school, no sound policies and guidelines have been introduced so far. Therefore, researchers and practitioners try to develop digital-based teaching strategies to facilitate the learning process of this cohort.
Importance of the Problem
It is important to state that online education is likely to expand due to a number of reasons. First, the COVID pandemic outcomes still make returning to usual teaching settings difficult and sometimes impossible (Stamm et al., 2021). Restrictions will remain quite strict in many countries, and U. S. society may also be vulnerable, leaving online education the only option for many students. In addition, digital educational environments enhance the accessibility of educational services, so learners may improve their access to knowledge by enrolling in diverse online courses.
At that, the effectiveness of such digital instruments may vary if students’ learning styles are ignored. Some studies show that learning outcomes and students’ performance does not correlate directly with learning styles (Idrizi et al., 2018). However, researchers agree that learning experiences, students’ motivation and commitment depend on the characteristics of instructions and teaching methods. Therefore, it is essential to identify the most effective features of teaching strategies that are associated with the highest results, improved motivation, and enhanced attention.
The proposed study will explore the existing teaching strategies and methods developed to facilitate learning outcomes and experiences of middle-school students characterized by the kinesthetic learning style. The focus will be on such aspects as the exact features of the employed strategies, students’ attitudes towards these approaches, and learning outcomes. One of the expected implications of this research will be the identification of the aspects making the teaching strategies most effective. The development of particular programs and methods for the target population can be a further step in this direction. This topic has been selected due to the growing use of online educational instruments and the lack of data on teaching methods that can be beneficial for kinesthetic learners. This learning style is associated with the most vivid limitations due to the peculiarities of online education.
Steps Taken to Address the Problem
It is noteworthy that a wealth of effective methods and tools have been developed and widely employed in online education. For example, practitioners use simulations, semi-digital approaches, and even social networks to enhance kinesthetic learners’ experiences (Yuliyanto et al., 2020). Krishnan et al. (2021) state that educators try to adapt such methodologies as mind-mapping, classroom-flipping, and multiple intelligence to online education with a focus on diverse learning styles. Clearly, teachers try to employ multisensory strategies, but in many cases, the tactile learning style requires specific attention. It is also necessary to add that the outcomes of these methods depend on different aspects, including students’ age, digital expertise, and cultural peculiarities (Stamm et al., 2021). Age is one of the central characteristics to consider when creating teaching tools. Middle-school students tend to be less easily adapted to the digital learning setting due to their developmental peculiarities. These learners need close guidance and even supervision in many areas; they should also be able to develop social skills, which can be difficult to achieve in the online educational environment.
A considerable bulk of studies on the relationship between online education and learning styles is associated with the focus on adolescents and young adults. It is also acknowledged that primary-school students require specific attention on the part of online educators, especially it is true for tactile learners. Numerous gaps in research arise when middle-school students’ experiences are under study (Palvia et al., 2018). This cohort has received little attention in academia, and practitioners tend to use the strategies utilized with older learners. Some studies examine the ways to adapt the teaching methods used with tactile learners for the digital setting. I believe the development of innovative strategies should be the area of further research.
In terms of the Biblical worldview, it is important to develop efficient teaching methods for the target population learning in the digital setting as this ensures an opportunity for every human being to explore and realize their potential to the fullest. Instead of trying to make everyone equal, which is sometimes the case in educational settings, the development of diverse teaching methods helps everyone become equally knowledgeable and happy. Thus, the basic value of equality and the right to be happy can be exercised through the creation of various pathways for younger generations.
Idrizi, E., Filiposka, S., & Trajkovik, V. (2018). The discourse on learning styles in online education. 27th Telecommunications Forum (TELFOR). IEEE.
Krishnan, A. G., Devikrishna, S. D., & Aich, S. C. (2021). Online education amidst pernicious COVID scourge: Altering traditional educational system and implementation of arts-friendly distance education strategies. Annals of R.S.C.B., 25(4), 7470-7475.
Matsuura, Y., Kokubu, M., & Sakairi, Y. (2021). Effects of versatile kinesthetic experiences on balance ability and interpersonal relationships. Psychological Reports.
Palvia, S., Aeron, P., Gupta, P., Mahapatra, D., Parida, R., Rosner, R., & Sindhi, S. (2018). Online education: Worldwide status, challenges, trends, and implications. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 21(4), 233-241.
Stamm, M., Francetic, K., Reilly, R., Tharp, A., Thompson, N., & Weidenhamer, R. (2021). Kinesthetic learners during the COVID-19 pandemic: Occupational therapy students’ perspective on e-learning. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5(2), 1-20.
Trilaksono, K., & Santoso, H. (2017). Moodle-based learning management system development for kinesthetic learning style. 7th World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF). IEEE.
Yuliyanto, A., Amalia, D. M., & Muqodas, I. (2020). Use of Instagram to improve verbal-linguistic intelligence and kinesthetic-body intelligence of low-class students through scientific approach in primary schools. Premiere Educandum Jurnal Pendidikan Dasar Dan Pembelajaran, 10(1), 112-124.