As children and adults, we use all our senses to explore the world. A person may see and smell a flower, or feel and hear the rain. Our senses work in concert, rather than individually, to inform us about our experiences.
It’s no surprise then, that our inherent learning methods follow us into the classroom. No matter the subject, most people process information using multiple senses. Approximately two-thirds of students are multimodal learners, which means they’re most successful when information is presented in more than one way. This population includes the 20% of students who prefer bimodal learning.
In addition to being widely preferred, bimodal learning can offer a number of benefits for students of all ages. Here’s what you need to know about this learning style.
What is bimodal learning?
Bimodal learning is the process of acquiring knowledge using two types of content at the same time. It often refers to information that is presented to students in both audio and visual formats. For example, text-to-speech solutions like ReadSpeaker — which can function as a bimodal system — allow students to read highlighted text as each word or sentence is read out loud.
Bimodal learning aligns with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL indicates that educators should provide flexible ways to meet the needs of individual learners and give all students equal opportunity to succeed in their education. When students are empowered to embrace more than one learning style, they can better learn at the same pace as their peers.
5 Benefits of Bimodal Learning
There’s been a considerable amount of research done to showcase the effectiveness of bimodal learning on student success. As a result, pairing auditory and visual content together is widely believed to have a positive impact on learning. When you blend multiple learning styles together using bimodal listening and reading, you can experience these five key benefits:
1. Good Reading Comprehension
When text is presented bimodally, students are better able to understand what they’ve read. Those who struggle with traditional, text-only materials don’t have to put in double the effort to comprehend written material. Instead, they can use audio to guide their reading and make sense of the concepts that confuse them on paper. In a study by two University of Melbourne researchers, students performed significantly better on reading assessments if they read with the assistance of a text to speech (TTS) tool.
2. Strong Information Recall
Students who embrace bimodal learning can also recall information faster.
This effect of bimodal learning benefits students with lower-level reading abilities the most. An early study of bimodal learning found that having two content formats helped these students recall more words, even if they weren’t tested immediately. Bimodal hearing and reading allowed those struggling students to perform at their expected level, instead of lagging behind.
For both learning and memorizing, bimodal learning can be an incredibly helpful tool.
3. Improved Decoding Skills
Decoding is an essential reading skill that allows us to correctly pronounce the written words we see on our books and screens. It’s also one of the skills that below-average readers struggle with the most. Among fourth graders, the lowest-performing students misread an average of one in six words. Plus, their attention to individual words made it difficult to focus on entire sentences (and therefore, entire concepts).
Bimodal learning helps students improve their word recognition and phonological decoding skills. When students are able to match what they’re hearing to the words they see, they can better connect spellings and pronunciations, which can continue enhancing their reading skills and comprehension in the future.
4. Positive Outlook on Reading
Bimodal learning has long been recognized as a way to encourage students to read. As far back as 1989, researchers have found that learners gain a more positive attitude about reading when offered information through text and audio.
When you break down the barriers to reading, students begin to enjoy the activity far more, rather than struggling through it. As a result, they may read more content, more often.
5. High Motivation
When students feel like they can’t read, they’re less likely to do so. Offering learners a bimodal system is proven to help students and workers read faster, which enhances self-confidence. This confidence boost can be all that’s needed to motivate learners to read and gain knowledge that’s essential for their future.
How Text to Speech Supports Bimodal Learning
ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech software empowers learners to engage with and absorb content in multiple ways. We enable courses, lessons, tests, quizzes, assessments, reading assignments, and any other text-based content to be read aloud while students follow along with highlighted text.
Any institution can easily integrate ReadSpeaker into its learning management systems, so it can be available for everyone to use. Students don’t need to download anything to benefit from our bimodal learning options.
Learn more about how ReadSpeaker can support students and teachers at your institution.