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Is there a learning style that involves learning best by teaching others?

Is there a learning style that involves learning best by teaching others?


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Background: I'm familiar with the more common learning styles of hearing, seeing and doing. For lack of a better word I consider myself a 'vicarious' learner which is something similar to a Bodhisattva from Buddhism only without the enlightenment part. I learn best by helping other people learn it, or through explaining it successfully to someone else. Case in point algebra never made a lick of sense to me as a kid until I was able to get my mom to understand it (she's not math minded in the least).

Questions:

  • Is there a term for someone who learns best by helping others learn?
  • Are there only the three theoretical learning styles at present?

Learning Styles

There is a large literature on learning styles particularly in educational psychology. See for example, the wikipedia page on learning styles.

You will soon discover that there are many different taxonomies of learning styles. Thus, there are certainly more than three "theorised" learning styles.

However, more importantly, there have been some serious critiques of the assumptions of learning styles. In particular, I would question whether people really have important domain general learning styles, and whether pedagogy should be adapted to such a domain general learning style.

I agree that instruction should be tailored to the individual. However, I think that generally it is more effective to consider what the individual already knows (and in some cases, think about their motivations) and tailor the format with regards to pre-existing knowledge and skills.

Furthermore, I think it is generally more useful to think about what makes for effective learning in general, as opposed to thinking about how people learn in different ways.

Learning by teaching

In the case, of learning by teaching, I imagine that this could be a relatively effective learning methodology in general. From personal experience, I know that I learn a lot about a subject by teaching it. It forces you to understand the material. Students can ask you questions which forces you to learn more. Consideration of how to teach the material can encourage a deeper understanding in order to provide a structured teaching experience. The mere fact of spending time on a subject should also foster further learning.

I imagine there are many articles on the topic of learning through teaching. I found one article by Cortese (2005) who wrote:

The great learning potential inherent in teaching would appear to be generated as the result of a particular aspect of the teaching process itself: the encounter with diversity, which on the one hand tends to increase reflexivity while on the other hand tends to break down resistance to change… Teaching also proved to be an important opportunity for recognizing one's own ignorance and thereby rendering oneself open to the possibility of learning.

References

  • Cortese, C. G. (2005). Learning through teaching. Management Learning, 36(1), 87-115. PDF

I personally like Michelene Chi's taxonomy of instructional methods, which is related to your question although it's not specifically about learning styles. Chi distinguishes passive, active, constructive, and interactive learning activities. Passive means you're just receiving info from the instructor (or textbook, or whatever). Active means you're doing something in response to the info, e.g. highlighting. Constructive means you are MAKING something NEW in response to the info, e.g. you are writing an evaluation or commentary on what you read or heard. Interactive means you are talking with someone else about it, e.g. explaining it or asking questions about it. Each includes the previous one, i.e. constructive learning activities include active activities as part of them, interactive is a type of instructive, etc. Chi argues that the best learning occurs from interactive, followed by constructive, then active, and last passive.

Thus, to answer the original question, according to Chi it is generally true that you will learn best when you explain things to others - that should be true of everyone, not only people with a certain learning style.

Chi (2009) Active-Constructive-Interactive: A Conceptual Framework for Differentiating Learning Activities. Trends in Cognitive Science.


Interpersonal Learning Style Career Choices

The interpersonal learning style student may be drawn to careers where there will be regular interpersonal interactions with others. They often have strengths in leadership, organizing, and understanding other people. They may be misplaced in careers where much of the work is done solo and without interaction. Careers that may use their talents include teacher, salesperson, marketing coordinator, communications manager, customer service representative, personal services (beautician, nail technician, tattoo artist, etc.), minister, psychologist, counselor, human resources coordinator, social worker, travel and tourism advisor, attorney, politician, television or radio broadcaster or anchor, actor, nurse, event coordinator, personal trainer, sports coach, recreation therapist, or corporate officer.  


Learning Styles

The term learning styles is widely used to describe how learners gather, sift through, interpret, organize, come to conclusions about, and “store” information for further use. As spelled out in VARK (one of the most popular learning styles inventories), these styles are often categorized by sensory approaches: v isual, a ural, verbal [ r eading/writing], and k inesthetic. Many of the models that don’t resemble the VARK’s sensory focus are reminiscent of Felder and Silverman’s Index of Learning Styles, with a continuum of descriptors for how learners process and organize information: active-reflective, sensing-intuitive, verbal-visual, and sequential-global.

There are well over 70 different learning styles schemes (Coffield, 2004), most of which are supported by “a thriving industry devoted to publishing learning-styles tests and guidebooks” and “professional development workshops for teachers and educators” (Pashler, et al., 2009, p. 105).

Despite the variation in categories, the fundamental idea behind learning styles is the same: that each of us has a specific learning style (sometimes called a “preference”), and we learn best when information is presented to us in this style. For example, visual learners would learn any subject matter best if given graphically or through other kinds of visual images, kinesthetic learners would learn more effectively if they could involve bodily movements in the learning process, and so on. The message thus given to instructors is that “optimal instruction requires diagnosing individuals’ learning style[s] and tailoring instruction accordingly” (Pashler, et al., 2009, p. 105).


Sound and music are a strong suit for these types of learners who typically have a good sense of rhythm. These learners are usually singers or musicians who are familiar with different instruments and the sounds they make. Aural learners are good listeners who normally learn best through verbal presentations like lectures and speeches. Learn more on our Auditory Learners page.


Learning Strategies

Learning is one of the most essential aspect of life. It is through learning that one is able to grow and interact with others. Each and every day individuals embark on a journey of learning. It serves as a platform is for one to learn about ways to improve their lives, reward themselves by learning about others and their surroundings. In all it is accurate to say that learning I is an inevitable aspect of life. In terms of learning in a classroom surrounding or academically one must develop effect ways to learn. A student can study for hours or days and yet still achieve nothing. However, implementing the use of effective learning strategies will help one to learn and attain knowledge. The learning type theory invented by Frederic Vester suggest that learning performance of pupils is enhanced by taking into consideration the different “channels of perception”. According to Vester here are four types of leaners.

  • Learning type 1: Auditive learning (“by listening and speaking“),
  • Learning type 2: Visual learning (“through the eyes, by watching”),
  • Learning type 3: Haptic learning (“by touching and feeling”), Learning type 4: Learning through the intellect.

What is a learning strategies one may ask. Learning strategies are the different approaches and methods that humans use to enhance learning while a learning style is the method of learning particular to an individual that is presumed to allow them learn best. It is also instructional strategies that have been developed to assist students with learning difficulties. Learning strategies include: teaching study skills, editing assignments, reading strategies, and thinking strategies. Cognitive strategies this form of learning strategy involves practice, analyzing, inductive influence, deductive reasoning, clarification and memorization. It is said that this strategy helps student to learn the affective way of thinking. Creating a higher order thinking skills.


People don’t know how best they learn

The main problem with myths such as learning styles is that teachers and other educators might end up wasting precious time on lesson preparation needlessly. But these myths also tell us something important that, generally, we don’t always know how best people learn, whether we’re talking about ourselves or others. This is just as true for adults learning a new skill as it is for students revising for upcoming exams. This isn’t to say that researchers haven’t been working on this problem for an awfully long time, in fact, we’ve learnt a great deal about the efficacy of different learning strategies over the past couple of decades or so. Despite what we know, people will still fall back on ineffective techniques such as rereading and highlighting and may even cling to the belief that they are a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner. We may well have preferred learning style, but these preferences don’t equate to the best methods and, instead, narrow the learning process and make learning less efficient.

The notion that many of us don’t know how to learn is an uncomfortable one, yet at the same time it’s incredibly liberating because it implies that our ability to learn new things (and learn them well) isn’t entirely related to how intelligent we are. Students, for example, who are more successful often employ a range of techniques and strategies that give them an advantage over those who use less effective ones. The trick, however, is being aware of what works and what doesn’t, or rather, which techniques have been found to work for most people most of the time.

In 2013 a group of researchers, including John Dunlosky, professor of psychology and director of experimental training at Kent State University in the United States, published a paper looking at the efficacy of range of common study techniques. The paper was eventually picked up by teachers, particularly those who were becoming interested in the role cognitive and educational psychology might play in the teaching practice. This was still a relatively small number of educators, confined mainly to the very active communities that inhabited social media. At the time I was teaching at a high school in the north of England and, while I made some attempts to share the finding with my colleagues, there was a reluctance to recognise the role of psychology in any aspect of learning beyond wellbeing.

The Dunlosky paper was, for me, a revelation, mainly because it confirmed some of my own views on how my students could learn more effectively. Rereading material, highlighting and underlining were found to be largely ineffective, while practice testing and elaborative interrogation (asking ‘why’ and ‘how’) were two of the more successful strategies. However, the list went further by including wider techniques that needed to be implemented via a near complete overhaul of teaching structure. The interrelated techniques of distributed practice and interleaving appeared the most successful. What they all had in common was that they took into consideration how the models of memory and cognitive development informed actual learning instead of relying on what could be best described as folk theories.

Fast-forward to 2020 and little has really changed. Studies since Dunlosky’s paper have found that students are still very much in the dark when it comes to understanding how they learn — and teachers aren’t much better. This is despite more recent evidence linking specific learning strategies to exam scores. Kayla Morehead, another Kent State University psychologist, found that teachers and lecturers endorsed both effective strategies (for example, practice testing) and so-called educational myths, including learning styles. Nevertheless, fuelling this greater understanding are teachers, not academics, even though this new breed of evidence hungry educator is still relatively tiny in comparison to the total number of teachers around the world.

Another problem that arises is that even when students know which strategies are most effective, they don’t necessarily use them. A study conduced by Rachael Blasiman discovered that students who said they planned to use certain strategies over the coming months rarely did. Even when they said they were going to self-test or use flashcards, in the end they reverted to the less effective strategies such as rereading and highlighting. Such learning strategies are passive, they do little to enhance the strength of the memory within the brains cognitive architecture, providing us with only the illusion of learning.

What are we then to take from these studies? The vast majority of this research has involved undergraduate students (often psychology undergraduates) so it might be difficult to claim that such results could be replicated using different groups. Additionally, understanding how younger learners approach their learning may well be more useful, as it’s likely that university students have inherited their study techniques from earlier educational experiences. To help correct this imbalance, researchers in the Netherlands investigated the study strategies used by 318 Dutch speaking secondary school students and, just as importantly, they looked at the strategies these young learners were using when studying alone beyond the influence of their teachers.

In this more recent study, Kim Dirkx and her colleagues took, like earlier studies, Dunlosky’s 2013 paper as the starting point of their investigation. However, rather than having students identify a pre-set list of strategies, Dirkx and her co-researchers didn’t put a limit on the number of strategies participants could say they used. They then categorised the strategies to see if they could be placed into one of the groups from the Dunlosky study and further divided them into those the students used as the primary method and those they used less regularly.

The most used strategies were rereading and summarising, for both the primary method and less regularly used. Very few students (0.3%) used highlighting as their primary method but over twenty-five percent did say they used it. Practice testing was only used as the primary method by just over 8 percent of students but this rose to slightly over 60 percent as a strategy used less often. Distributed and interleaved practice, on the other hand, was used by less the 1 percent of respondents as their primary strategy, while in the less often used category, just under 4 percent of students used distributed practice while only 0.3 percent used interleaving. This is most likely because few teachers use interleaving and distributed practice, perhaps because it takes time to see the results. In fact, both strategies might even appear to lead to less learning in the short-term, even though long-term gains are often high.

In addition, students reported methods that didn’t fit into these categories, including copying, thinking of real-life examples, cramming and completing practice problems. Apart from this last technique, where just over 7 percent said this was a primary method and nearly half said they used it less often, there were a relatively small number who chose these other strategies.


‘Neuromyth’ or Helpful Model?

A nearly century-old idea about learning remains “ubiquitous” despite scant scientific evidence to back it up, many experts say. But others still see value in the concept.

A couple of years ago, the science writer Ulrich Boser wondered: Do educators still believe in learning styles?

The idea that some students are auditory learners, while others flourish by having information presented visually, through motion or otherwise is nearly a century old. It grew in popularity in the 1950s, then again in the 1970s, but for much of the past decade scientists have warned that it has little merit.

Boser, founder of the Learning Agency, a Washington consulting and communications group, had long followed the field. He was researching a book about learning strategies and knew that scientists had debunked learning styles, most notably in a widely discussed 2009 paper -- in it, they said building instruction around the concept was an &ldquounwise and a wasteful use of limited resources.&rdquo

So he set up a Google alert for the term. He found that, far from being dead, learning styles were perhaps as popular as ever. &ldquoIt is incredible how much it pops up,&rdquo he said recently.

Educators continue to invoke the idea, he said. Last October, as she embarked on a four-state &ldquoRethink School&rdquo tour, U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos said she planned to visit schools that are &ldquoworking to ensure all children can have access to the education that fits their learning style.&rdquo During her 2017 confirmation hearing, DeVos thanked Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, for displaying a chart in the hearing room that she could refer to during testimony, calling herself "a visual learner" -- despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Education has discouraged the idea. It even funded a teachers' guide that warns, "Education research debunks the myth that teaching students in their preferred styles (e.g. 'visual learners,' 'auditory learners') is an effective classroom practice."

But interviews suggest that the two sides these days may be closer than they seem: even learning-styles devotees, who view the "debunkers" with suspicion, are beginning to consider teaching strategies that learning-styles critics would support.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at Barnard College who wrote about the topic last month for Scientific American, calls learning styles an example of a "neuromythology" -- a popular idea that endures despite little evidence supporting it. This particular myth, he said, &ldquois paved with good intentions, but that still doesn't mean it can't be harmful to students.&rdquo

Kaufman wrote that, paradoxically, catering to learning styles in the classroom &ldquocan actually foster a fixed mind-set, not a growth mind-set. This should create quite the cognitive dissonance for teachers who generally love both growth mind-set theory and learning styles.&rdquo

Even the mock-newspaper humor site The Onion has lampooned learning styles, publishing a satirical article in 2000 with the headline, "Parents Of Nasal Learners Demand Odor-Based Curriculum." Accompanying the piece was a photo of a forlorn girl, identified as a "nasal" learner, struggling to understand an "odorless" textbook.

Despite The Onion's coverage, the styles are generally defined by three -- in some cases four -- adjectives: visual, aural or auditory, &ldquoread-write&rdquo (a preference for writing and reviewing carefully produced notes) and kinesthetic (a preference for moving around). The quartet are sometimes referred to as VARK.

A recent posting on Kansas State University&rsquos Division of Biology website reminded students: &ldquoYou like this page because the emphasis is on words and lists. You believe the meanings are within the words, so the talk was OK, but a handout is better.&rdquo It also advised kinesthetic learners, &ldquoUse all your senses to take in the information in the studio classroom. Volunteer for demonstrations or to answer questions using the visual presenter at the podium. Be active in setting up the experiments at your table (e.g. pipetting the solutions into the tubes, finding the cells in the microscope). Pay close attention to the demonstrations (e.g., pH, respiration, relative size of organelles) and go up and examine these when you have time during class.&rdquo

The department advises students to complete a VARK questionnaire, developed in 1987 by a New Zealand researcher named Neil Fleming, who says on his website that he works not just with schools but with "elite sports coaches" and business clients.

In an email, Robbie Bear, a Kansas State biology instructor, said the department offers students who take introductory coursework "the ability to assess their learning using the VARK test. However, we do not put much emphasis on the students completing it."

Bear said the department is in the process of updating its website "to better reflect how the VARK relates to our teaching philosophy. Our basic philosophy is [that] if one way of presenting material does not work, try another. Once you have an understanding of the material in one format, try to understand it in a different format. In short, the best learners are multimodal thinkers."

Bear said the department uses VARK "because a good number of our students have seen this terminology before." That helps inform students as to "why we present information in many different formats and not just the traditional lecture. Getting students to 'buy in to' the studio format of learning is very important in making it all work effectively." Though he has no data on whether this helps student performance, in general, he said, students who take the introductory course -- which asks them to consider learning styles -- score "about a letter grade higher" in upper-level courses than those who transfer in.

But Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia, said the categories themselves &ldquohaven&rsquot been shown to mean anything.&rdquo Nonetheless, recent surveys have found that about 90 percent of Virginia students believe in them.

While it&rsquos true that some students may possess a better visual or auditory memory than others, Willingham said, that is in a sense a distraction for teachers, who want students not simply to ingest material but to make meaning out of it. Willingham has written widely on the topic, urging educators to focus on teaching different kinds of content in their best modality, rather than teaching different students in their perceived best modality. "All students learn more when content drives the choice of modality," he writes.

He and others said the persistence of learning styles likely stems from the fact that they're adjacent to a bedrock tenet of psychology: differences matter. People have different abilities, talents, goals, life experiences and motivations -- including better working memory or persistence -- and these play a key role in learning.

&ldquoThe idea that people differ in their abilities is almost certainly right,&rdquo Willingham said. &ldquoI think that gets confused with learning styles.&rdquo

Kaufman, the Barnard psychologist, said one key issue is that while paying attention to these differences "comes from a place of caring for the students,&rdquo teachers may misinterpret how to help students with different abilities flourish. Add to that a general &ldquodiscomfort with differences that are perceived as immutable,&rdquo he said, and you have the ideal environment for something fuzzy like learning styles to flourish.

Boser, the science writer, agreed: &ldquoThere&rsquos something in America in general, and in education in particular: we don&rsquot like to talk about how people are different,&rdquo he said. Teachers like to believe in students&rsquo unlimited potential, and anything that places constraints on it is problematic.

But he admitted, &ldquoIntelligence is a real thing.&rdquo Different people have different levels of it. Talking about that &ldquomakes educators uncomfortable.&rdquo

David Kraemer, a cognitive neuroscientist in Dartmouth College&rsquos education department, said decades of research have made one thing clear: "What seems to be true, and is not in dispute, is that people differ in different domains," performing better in English class than in math class, for instance. &ldquoTo me, that&rsquos where some of these intuitions come from.&rdquo Teachers want to tailor instruction to students' strengths. But that could be counterproductive. &ldquoThe point of school isn&rsquot just to cater to what you do well already,&rdquo he said.

His research has shown that even people who believe that they better understand things one way -- spatially as opposed to detail oriented, for instance -- perform better in weak areas if they're given strategies to improve.

But his students continue to ask him about learning styles. &ldquoI definitely tell students who come to me [that] it is more myth than reality -- and there isn&rsquot really evidence to support those ideas, in terms of study strategies or pedagogical approaches.&rdquo

Richard Felder, a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University who has written in support of learning styles, said psychologists have spent decades working to debunk the theory. &ldquoOn the other side are literally millions of people who have used learning styles to design instruction&rdquo and to help students become better learners, he said.

Advocates who understand learning styles insist that they represent &ldquopreferences,&rdquo not hard and fast lines that can't be crossed, he said. &ldquoThe debunkers paint it as a black-and-white thing, that you&rsquore either this or you&rsquore that.&rdquo Meanwhile, good instructors &ldquodon&rsquot heavily overload on one side or the other of any of these dimensions.&rdquo

"The idea is balance," Felder said.

Asking students to consider their own strengths and weaknesses is different from teaching solely to their strengths. Actually, he said, much of the research finding that catering to learning styles is ineffective begins from that mistaken premise: "The learning-styles debunkers are starting with their own definition of what learning styles mean and then debunking that -- but their definition of what learning styles mean is wrong.&rdquo

He admits that educators in the past "did go overboard" in specializing instruction based on student preference, but no longer. Actually, Felder said, if most of his colleagues were still teaching auditory learners, for instance, solely in ways that play to that strength, "I&rsquod be on the side of the debunkers."

&lsquoAstounding Capacity to Learn&rsquo

What good teachers understand, experts say, is that the different senses each have their own strengths and weaknesses. &ldquoWe&rsquore all visual learners,&rdquo Boser said. &ldquoOur vision is the best system to take in data.&rdquo Likewise, we&rsquore all auditory learners -- when the material calls for it. Consider the advantages of hearing a story via audiobook: sequential information is ideal for this &ldquostyle&rdquo of learning. But &ldquoauditory learners&rdquo who want to get better at soccer still lace up their cleats, run onto the field and practice their moves, Boser said. &ldquoYou would never just listen to podcasts all day.&rdquo

Scientists have long struggled to help educators understand this larger context. In 2009, a group of cognitive psychologists commissioned by the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest assessed learning styles and found &ldquoonly a few fragmentary and unconvincing pieces of evidence&rdquo that would validate them.

The group, led by University of California, San Diego, psychology professor Hal Pashler, noted that all humans, &ldquoshort of being afflicted with certain types of organic damage,&rdquo are born with &ldquoan astounding capacity to learn, both in the amount that can be learned in one domain and in the variety and range of what can be learned.&rdquo

They concluded that the widespread use of learning-style measures in educational settings &ldquois unwise and a wasteful use of limited resources.&rdquo While the researchers agreed that instruction deemed &ldquooptimal&rdquo for a given student makes sense, assuming that people are &ldquoenormously heterogeneous&rdquo in their instructional needs could draw attention away from solid teaching practices.

&ldquoGiven the capacity of humans to learn, it seems especially important to keep all avenues, options, and aspirations open for our students, our children, and ourselves,&rdquo Pashler and his colleagues wrote. &ldquoToward that end, we think the primary focus should be on identifying and introducing the experiences, activities, and challenges that enhance everybody&rsquos learning.&rdquo

Willingham said the findings have made few inroads into the classroom. He likens learning styles to atomic theory -- a notion that most people take on faith, since they haven&rsquot seen protons and electrons firsthand.

Boser, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, noted a 2017 survey that the group conducted, which found that an "overwhelming share of the public" -- nearly 90 percent -- believe in "myths about teaching and learning" such as learning styles.

The topic has occasionally been the subject of serious if controversial research. Last summer, Canadian researchers found that surgical trainees' "learning styles" may affect their ability to acquire laparoscopic skill proficiency -- but the study had only 19 subjects. In 1995, researcher Rita Dunn of St. John's University published a meta-analysis supporting so-called "modality effects," but other researchers who examined her research found that only one of the studies Dunn cited had appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. The rest were unpublished doctoral dissertations -- 21 of them from St. John's, Dunn's home institution. Dunn passed away in 2009.

UVA&rsquos Willingham said more needs to be done to &ldquoinoculate future teachers against this idea when they are in teacher preparation programs.&rdquo While education psychology textbooks don&rsquot propagate the idea of learning styles, he said, &ldquoI would also argue that they&rsquore not doing enough to say, &lsquoThere&rsquos nothing to support this idea.&rsquo When there&rsquos something that you know is widespread misinformation in teacher professional development, I think that&rsquos part of a psychologist&rsquos role, part of a scientist&rsquos role.&rdquo

Howard Gardner, a longtime professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, who in the 1980s popularized the idea of &ldquomultiple intelligences,&rdquo has said the re-emergence of learning styles -- and a few educators&rsquo insistence on lumping them in with his work -- has &ldquodriven me to distraction.&rdquo

In a 2013 op-ed in The Washington Post, Gardner called learning-style theory &ldquoincoherent&rdquo and said he had proposed a very different scenario, one that said different parts of our brains compute different kinds of information -- linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, musical, etc. He has estimated that most people have seven to 10 &ldquodistinct intelligences.&rdquo Learning styles, he said, are different. If teachers say a student&rsquos learning style is &ldquoimpulsive,&rdquo does that mean he&rsquos impulsive about everything he learns?

Gardner also said there&rsquos no clear evidence that teaching to a student&rsquos learning style produces better outcomes than a &ldquoone-size-fits-all approach.&rdquo Insistence on learning styles, he said, &ldquomay be unhelpful, at best, and ill conceived at worst.&rdquo Strength or weakness in one kind of intelligence &ldquodoes not predict strength (or weakness) in any other intelligences,&rdquo he wrote. &ldquoAll of us exhibit jagged profiles of intelligences.&rdquo

Gardner suggested that educators individualize teaching as much as possible, teach important materials &ldquoin several ways&rdquo (through stories, works of art, diagrams and role-playing, for example), and drop the term &ldquostyles&rdquo from their vocabulary.

&ldquoIt will confuse others,&rdquo he wrote, &ldquoand it won&rsquot help either you or your students.&rdquo


2. How teaching styles affect learning

Harry and Rosemary Wong, former teachers and co-authors of The First Day of School: How to be an Effective Teacher and The Classroom Management Book, believe that there are three goals of teaching styles: to develop effective classroom management skills, to achieve lesson mastery and to have positive expectations.

Teaching styles can vary considerably based on individual classroom settings, the subject you’re teaching and the diverse group of students. An authority or lecture-based teaching style, for example, is well-suited to large classes and subjects that require heavy memorization, like history. A delegator/group teaching style might be more conducive to subjects that require lab activity, like chemistry, or ones that involve significant feedback, like debate and creative writing. In the latter style, the teacher inspires and observes rather than recites facts.

The goal for any teaching style is to remain focused on teaching objectives, engaging students as best you can while avoiding trying to be all things to all students. Not all students respond well to a particular style, which is why many teachers who are versed in teaching styles use a combination of them based on the subject matter or environment.

But students are the most important factor: and it’s important to use a teaching method to engage students at all levels of learning and ability. Using a balanced mix of teaching styles that blends the best of what you have to offer will reach every student effectively.

2.1. Developing and understanding your own teaching style

The first step in developing and understanding your own teaching style is to take an inventory of your skills and personality. There are several resources that can offer structure to this self-reflective exercise.

1. Mohanna, Chambers and Wall’s Staffordshire Evaluation of Teaching Styles (SETS) is a self-evaluation questionnaire and scoring sheet that helps teachers see for which teaching style of six—all-around flexible and adaptable, student-centered/sensitive, official curriculum, straight facts no nonsense, big conference and one-off—is their strongest preference.

2. The Teaching Behavior Preferences Survey by Behar and Horenstein (2006), meanwhile, includes questions to determine if you are more teacher- or student-centered, and into which of four subdomains you might fall.

3. The Principles of Adult Learning Scale by Conty (1983) includes 44 self-administered questions to determine where you fall on the spectrum of teaching styles as well.

4. Another option is the Constructionist On-Line Learning Environment Survey by Taylor and Maor, which measures the quality of an online environment and teaching styles.


Application

Generally, teachers are able to identify learning styles by observing their students in the classroom. Students begin to show their preference for particular styles through presentations, discussions, and collaborative activities. When delivering courses online, it is important for the instructor to engage with the students throughout the entire learning cycle in order to reveal their preferences. As a rule, best teaching practices always include a wide range of learning activities in order to reach all learning styles. A variety of experiences supports all learners regardless of preferred style, as it helps them develop skills in specific areas and creates a more flexible, well-rounded learner.

Kolb’s theory of experiential learning includes learning as a whole process. All stages can be included throughout the experiences. For example, a classic teacher-student lecture may be both a concrete and an abstract experience, based on how the learner interacts with it. This also means that the learner could view strong and emotional reflection as a concrete experience, or completing a computer-based task as an abstract experience. Additionally, a learner may develop their own abstract model to better understand a concrete experience or task. It is important not to limit learning experiences to the stage that you perceive them to be.


Examples of how you can use the protégé effect

The protégé effect is primarily associated with the academic context, where teaching others can help you learn material that you need to learn yourself. However, the protégé effect can also benefit you in a variety of other, non-academic environments. For example:

  • When it comes to hobbies, teaching basic skills to novices can help you refine and master those skills yourself.
  • When it comes to work, explaining important procedures to new employees can help you remember those procedures better yourself.
  • When it comes to general knowledge, explaining concepts that you’re interested in to people who aren’t familiar with them can help you improve your understanding of those concepts.

Sound and music are a strong suit for these types of learners who typically have a good sense of rhythm. These learners are usually singers or musicians who are familiar with different instruments and the sounds they make. Aural learners are good listeners who normally learn best through verbal presentations like lectures and speeches. Learn more on our Auditory Learners page.


People don’t know how best they learn

The main problem with myths such as learning styles is that teachers and other educators might end up wasting precious time on lesson preparation needlessly. But these myths also tell us something important that, generally, we don’t always know how best people learn, whether we’re talking about ourselves or others. This is just as true for adults learning a new skill as it is for students revising for upcoming exams. This isn’t to say that researchers haven’t been working on this problem for an awfully long time, in fact, we’ve learnt a great deal about the efficacy of different learning strategies over the past couple of decades or so. Despite what we know, people will still fall back on ineffective techniques such as rereading and highlighting and may even cling to the belief that they are a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner. We may well have preferred learning style, but these preferences don’t equate to the best methods and, instead, narrow the learning process and make learning less efficient.

The notion that many of us don’t know how to learn is an uncomfortable one, yet at the same time it’s incredibly liberating because it implies that our ability to learn new things (and learn them well) isn’t entirely related to how intelligent we are. Students, for example, who are more successful often employ a range of techniques and strategies that give them an advantage over those who use less effective ones. The trick, however, is being aware of what works and what doesn’t, or rather, which techniques have been found to work for most people most of the time.

In 2013 a group of researchers, including John Dunlosky, professor of psychology and director of experimental training at Kent State University in the United States, published a paper looking at the efficacy of range of common study techniques. The paper was eventually picked up by teachers, particularly those who were becoming interested in the role cognitive and educational psychology might play in the teaching practice. This was still a relatively small number of educators, confined mainly to the very active communities that inhabited social media. At the time I was teaching at a high school in the north of England and, while I made some attempts to share the finding with my colleagues, there was a reluctance to recognise the role of psychology in any aspect of learning beyond wellbeing.

The Dunlosky paper was, for me, a revelation, mainly because it confirmed some of my own views on how my students could learn more effectively. Rereading material, highlighting and underlining were found to be largely ineffective, while practice testing and elaborative interrogation (asking ‘why’ and ‘how’) were two of the more successful strategies. However, the list went further by including wider techniques that needed to be implemented via a near complete overhaul of teaching structure. The interrelated techniques of distributed practice and interleaving appeared the most successful. What they all had in common was that they took into consideration how the models of memory and cognitive development informed actual learning instead of relying on what could be best described as folk theories.

Fast-forward to 2020 and little has really changed. Studies since Dunlosky’s paper have found that students are still very much in the dark when it comes to understanding how they learn — and teachers aren’t much better. This is despite more recent evidence linking specific learning strategies to exam scores. Kayla Morehead, another Kent State University psychologist, found that teachers and lecturers endorsed both effective strategies (for example, practice testing) and so-called educational myths, including learning styles. Nevertheless, fuelling this greater understanding are teachers, not academics, even though this new breed of evidence hungry educator is still relatively tiny in comparison to the total number of teachers around the world.

Another problem that arises is that even when students know which strategies are most effective, they don’t necessarily use them. A study conduced by Rachael Blasiman discovered that students who said they planned to use certain strategies over the coming months rarely did. Even when they said they were going to self-test or use flashcards, in the end they reverted to the less effective strategies such as rereading and highlighting. Such learning strategies are passive, they do little to enhance the strength of the memory within the brains cognitive architecture, providing us with only the illusion of learning.

What are we then to take from these studies? The vast majority of this research has involved undergraduate students (often psychology undergraduates) so it might be difficult to claim that such results could be replicated using different groups. Additionally, understanding how younger learners approach their learning may well be more useful, as it’s likely that university students have inherited their study techniques from earlier educational experiences. To help correct this imbalance, researchers in the Netherlands investigated the study strategies used by 318 Dutch speaking secondary school students and, just as importantly, they looked at the strategies these young learners were using when studying alone beyond the influence of their teachers.

In this more recent study, Kim Dirkx and her colleagues took, like earlier studies, Dunlosky’s 2013 paper as the starting point of their investigation. However, rather than having students identify a pre-set list of strategies, Dirkx and her co-researchers didn’t put a limit on the number of strategies participants could say they used. They then categorised the strategies to see if they could be placed into one of the groups from the Dunlosky study and further divided them into those the students used as the primary method and those they used less regularly.

The most used strategies were rereading and summarising, for both the primary method and less regularly used. Very few students (0.3%) used highlighting as their primary method but over twenty-five percent did say they used it. Practice testing was only used as the primary method by just over 8 percent of students but this rose to slightly over 60 percent as a strategy used less often. Distributed and interleaved practice, on the other hand, was used by less the 1 percent of respondents as their primary strategy, while in the less often used category, just under 4 percent of students used distributed practice while only 0.3 percent used interleaving. This is most likely because few teachers use interleaving and distributed practice, perhaps because it takes time to see the results. In fact, both strategies might even appear to lead to less learning in the short-term, even though long-term gains are often high.

In addition, students reported methods that didn’t fit into these categories, including copying, thinking of real-life examples, cramming and completing practice problems. Apart from this last technique, where just over 7 percent said this was a primary method and nearly half said they used it less often, there were a relatively small number who chose these other strategies.


‘Neuromyth’ or Helpful Model?

A nearly century-old idea about learning remains “ubiquitous” despite scant scientific evidence to back it up, many experts say. But others still see value in the concept.

A couple of years ago, the science writer Ulrich Boser wondered: Do educators still believe in learning styles?

The idea that some students are auditory learners, while others flourish by having information presented visually, through motion or otherwise is nearly a century old. It grew in popularity in the 1950s, then again in the 1970s, but for much of the past decade scientists have warned that it has little merit.

Boser, founder of the Learning Agency, a Washington consulting and communications group, had long followed the field. He was researching a book about learning strategies and knew that scientists had debunked learning styles, most notably in a widely discussed 2009 paper -- in it, they said building instruction around the concept was an &ldquounwise and a wasteful use of limited resources.&rdquo

So he set up a Google alert for the term. He found that, far from being dead, learning styles were perhaps as popular as ever. &ldquoIt is incredible how much it pops up,&rdquo he said recently.

Educators continue to invoke the idea, he said. Last October, as she embarked on a four-state &ldquoRethink School&rdquo tour, U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos said she planned to visit schools that are &ldquoworking to ensure all children can have access to the education that fits their learning style.&rdquo During her 2017 confirmation hearing, DeVos thanked Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, for displaying a chart in the hearing room that she could refer to during testimony, calling herself "a visual learner" -- despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Education has discouraged the idea. It even funded a teachers' guide that warns, "Education research debunks the myth that teaching students in their preferred styles (e.g. 'visual learners,' 'auditory learners') is an effective classroom practice."

But interviews suggest that the two sides these days may be closer than they seem: even learning-styles devotees, who view the "debunkers" with suspicion, are beginning to consider teaching strategies that learning-styles critics would support.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at Barnard College who wrote about the topic last month for Scientific American, calls learning styles an example of a "neuromythology" -- a popular idea that endures despite little evidence supporting it. This particular myth, he said, &ldquois paved with good intentions, but that still doesn't mean it can't be harmful to students.&rdquo

Kaufman wrote that, paradoxically, catering to learning styles in the classroom &ldquocan actually foster a fixed mind-set, not a growth mind-set. This should create quite the cognitive dissonance for teachers who generally love both growth mind-set theory and learning styles.&rdquo

Even the mock-newspaper humor site The Onion has lampooned learning styles, publishing a satirical article in 2000 with the headline, "Parents Of Nasal Learners Demand Odor-Based Curriculum." Accompanying the piece was a photo of a forlorn girl, identified as a "nasal" learner, struggling to understand an "odorless" textbook.

Despite The Onion's coverage, the styles are generally defined by three -- in some cases four -- adjectives: visual, aural or auditory, &ldquoread-write&rdquo (a preference for writing and reviewing carefully produced notes) and kinesthetic (a preference for moving around). The quartet are sometimes referred to as VARK.

A recent posting on Kansas State University&rsquos Division of Biology website reminded students: &ldquoYou like this page because the emphasis is on words and lists. You believe the meanings are within the words, so the talk was OK, but a handout is better.&rdquo It also advised kinesthetic learners, &ldquoUse all your senses to take in the information in the studio classroom. Volunteer for demonstrations or to answer questions using the visual presenter at the podium. Be active in setting up the experiments at your table (e.g. pipetting the solutions into the tubes, finding the cells in the microscope). Pay close attention to the demonstrations (e.g., pH, respiration, relative size of organelles) and go up and examine these when you have time during class.&rdquo

The department advises students to complete a VARK questionnaire, developed in 1987 by a New Zealand researcher named Neil Fleming, who says on his website that he works not just with schools but with "elite sports coaches" and business clients.

In an email, Robbie Bear, a Kansas State biology instructor, said the department offers students who take introductory coursework "the ability to assess their learning using the VARK test. However, we do not put much emphasis on the students completing it."

Bear said the department is in the process of updating its website "to better reflect how the VARK relates to our teaching philosophy. Our basic philosophy is [that] if one way of presenting material does not work, try another. Once you have an understanding of the material in one format, try to understand it in a different format. In short, the best learners are multimodal thinkers."

Bear said the department uses VARK "because a good number of our students have seen this terminology before." That helps inform students as to "why we present information in many different formats and not just the traditional lecture. Getting students to 'buy in to' the studio format of learning is very important in making it all work effectively." Though he has no data on whether this helps student performance, in general, he said, students who take the introductory course -- which asks them to consider learning styles -- score "about a letter grade higher" in upper-level courses than those who transfer in.

But Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia, said the categories themselves &ldquohaven&rsquot been shown to mean anything.&rdquo Nonetheless, recent surveys have found that about 90 percent of Virginia students believe in them.

While it&rsquos true that some students may possess a better visual or auditory memory than others, Willingham said, that is in a sense a distraction for teachers, who want students not simply to ingest material but to make meaning out of it. Willingham has written widely on the topic, urging educators to focus on teaching different kinds of content in their best modality, rather than teaching different students in their perceived best modality. "All students learn more when content drives the choice of modality," he writes.

He and others said the persistence of learning styles likely stems from the fact that they're adjacent to a bedrock tenet of psychology: differences matter. People have different abilities, talents, goals, life experiences and motivations -- including better working memory or persistence -- and these play a key role in learning.

&ldquoThe idea that people differ in their abilities is almost certainly right,&rdquo Willingham said. &ldquoI think that gets confused with learning styles.&rdquo

Kaufman, the Barnard psychologist, said one key issue is that while paying attention to these differences "comes from a place of caring for the students,&rdquo teachers may misinterpret how to help students with different abilities flourish. Add to that a general &ldquodiscomfort with differences that are perceived as immutable,&rdquo he said, and you have the ideal environment for something fuzzy like learning styles to flourish.

Boser, the science writer, agreed: &ldquoThere&rsquos something in America in general, and in education in particular: we don&rsquot like to talk about how people are different,&rdquo he said. Teachers like to believe in students&rsquo unlimited potential, and anything that places constraints on it is problematic.

But he admitted, &ldquoIntelligence is a real thing.&rdquo Different people have different levels of it. Talking about that &ldquomakes educators uncomfortable.&rdquo

David Kraemer, a cognitive neuroscientist in Dartmouth College&rsquos education department, said decades of research have made one thing clear: "What seems to be true, and is not in dispute, is that people differ in different domains," performing better in English class than in math class, for instance. &ldquoTo me, that&rsquos where some of these intuitions come from.&rdquo Teachers want to tailor instruction to students' strengths. But that could be counterproductive. &ldquoThe point of school isn&rsquot just to cater to what you do well already,&rdquo he said.

His research has shown that even people who believe that they better understand things one way -- spatially as opposed to detail oriented, for instance -- perform better in weak areas if they're given strategies to improve.

But his students continue to ask him about learning styles. &ldquoI definitely tell students who come to me [that] it is more myth than reality -- and there isn&rsquot really evidence to support those ideas, in terms of study strategies or pedagogical approaches.&rdquo

Richard Felder, a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University who has written in support of learning styles, said psychologists have spent decades working to debunk the theory. &ldquoOn the other side are literally millions of people who have used learning styles to design instruction&rdquo and to help students become better learners, he said.

Advocates who understand learning styles insist that they represent &ldquopreferences,&rdquo not hard and fast lines that can't be crossed, he said. &ldquoThe debunkers paint it as a black-and-white thing, that you&rsquore either this or you&rsquore that.&rdquo Meanwhile, good instructors &ldquodon&rsquot heavily overload on one side or the other of any of these dimensions.&rdquo

"The idea is balance," Felder said.

Asking students to consider their own strengths and weaknesses is different from teaching solely to their strengths. Actually, he said, much of the research finding that catering to learning styles is ineffective begins from that mistaken premise: "The learning-styles debunkers are starting with their own definition of what learning styles mean and then debunking that -- but their definition of what learning styles mean is wrong.&rdquo

He admits that educators in the past "did go overboard" in specializing instruction based on student preference, but no longer. Actually, Felder said, if most of his colleagues were still teaching auditory learners, for instance, solely in ways that play to that strength, "I&rsquod be on the side of the debunkers."

&lsquoAstounding Capacity to Learn&rsquo

What good teachers understand, experts say, is that the different senses each have their own strengths and weaknesses. &ldquoWe&rsquore all visual learners,&rdquo Boser said. &ldquoOur vision is the best system to take in data.&rdquo Likewise, we&rsquore all auditory learners -- when the material calls for it. Consider the advantages of hearing a story via audiobook: sequential information is ideal for this &ldquostyle&rdquo of learning. But &ldquoauditory learners&rdquo who want to get better at soccer still lace up their cleats, run onto the field and practice their moves, Boser said. &ldquoYou would never just listen to podcasts all day.&rdquo

Scientists have long struggled to help educators understand this larger context. In 2009, a group of cognitive psychologists commissioned by the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest assessed learning styles and found &ldquoonly a few fragmentary and unconvincing pieces of evidence&rdquo that would validate them.

The group, led by University of California, San Diego, psychology professor Hal Pashler, noted that all humans, &ldquoshort of being afflicted with certain types of organic damage,&rdquo are born with &ldquoan astounding capacity to learn, both in the amount that can be learned in one domain and in the variety and range of what can be learned.&rdquo

They concluded that the widespread use of learning-style measures in educational settings &ldquois unwise and a wasteful use of limited resources.&rdquo While the researchers agreed that instruction deemed &ldquooptimal&rdquo for a given student makes sense, assuming that people are &ldquoenormously heterogeneous&rdquo in their instructional needs could draw attention away from solid teaching practices.

&ldquoGiven the capacity of humans to learn, it seems especially important to keep all avenues, options, and aspirations open for our students, our children, and ourselves,&rdquo Pashler and his colleagues wrote. &ldquoToward that end, we think the primary focus should be on identifying and introducing the experiences, activities, and challenges that enhance everybody&rsquos learning.&rdquo

Willingham said the findings have made few inroads into the classroom. He likens learning styles to atomic theory -- a notion that most people take on faith, since they haven&rsquot seen protons and electrons firsthand.

Boser, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, noted a 2017 survey that the group conducted, which found that an "overwhelming share of the public" -- nearly 90 percent -- believe in "myths about teaching and learning" such as learning styles.

The topic has occasionally been the subject of serious if controversial research. Last summer, Canadian researchers found that surgical trainees' "learning styles" may affect their ability to acquire laparoscopic skill proficiency -- but the study had only 19 subjects. In 1995, researcher Rita Dunn of St. John's University published a meta-analysis supporting so-called "modality effects," but other researchers who examined her research found that only one of the studies Dunn cited had appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. The rest were unpublished doctoral dissertations -- 21 of them from St. John's, Dunn's home institution. Dunn passed away in 2009.

UVA&rsquos Willingham said more needs to be done to &ldquoinoculate future teachers against this idea when they are in teacher preparation programs.&rdquo While education psychology textbooks don&rsquot propagate the idea of learning styles, he said, &ldquoI would also argue that they&rsquore not doing enough to say, &lsquoThere&rsquos nothing to support this idea.&rsquo When there&rsquos something that you know is widespread misinformation in teacher professional development, I think that&rsquos part of a psychologist&rsquos role, part of a scientist&rsquos role.&rdquo

Howard Gardner, a longtime professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, who in the 1980s popularized the idea of &ldquomultiple intelligences,&rdquo has said the re-emergence of learning styles -- and a few educators&rsquo insistence on lumping them in with his work -- has &ldquodriven me to distraction.&rdquo

In a 2013 op-ed in The Washington Post, Gardner called learning-style theory &ldquoincoherent&rdquo and said he had proposed a very different scenario, one that said different parts of our brains compute different kinds of information -- linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, musical, etc. He has estimated that most people have seven to 10 &ldquodistinct intelligences.&rdquo Learning styles, he said, are different. If teachers say a student&rsquos learning style is &ldquoimpulsive,&rdquo does that mean he&rsquos impulsive about everything he learns?

Gardner also said there&rsquos no clear evidence that teaching to a student&rsquos learning style produces better outcomes than a &ldquoone-size-fits-all approach.&rdquo Insistence on learning styles, he said, &ldquomay be unhelpful, at best, and ill conceived at worst.&rdquo Strength or weakness in one kind of intelligence &ldquodoes not predict strength (or weakness) in any other intelligences,&rdquo he wrote. &ldquoAll of us exhibit jagged profiles of intelligences.&rdquo

Gardner suggested that educators individualize teaching as much as possible, teach important materials &ldquoin several ways&rdquo (through stories, works of art, diagrams and role-playing, for example), and drop the term &ldquostyles&rdquo from their vocabulary.

&ldquoIt will confuse others,&rdquo he wrote, &ldquoand it won&rsquot help either you or your students.&rdquo


2. How teaching styles affect learning

Harry and Rosemary Wong, former teachers and co-authors of The First Day of School: How to be an Effective Teacher and The Classroom Management Book, believe that there are three goals of teaching styles: to develop effective classroom management skills, to achieve lesson mastery and to have positive expectations.

Teaching styles can vary considerably based on individual classroom settings, the subject you’re teaching and the diverse group of students. An authority or lecture-based teaching style, for example, is well-suited to large classes and subjects that require heavy memorization, like history. A delegator/group teaching style might be more conducive to subjects that require lab activity, like chemistry, or ones that involve significant feedback, like debate and creative writing. In the latter style, the teacher inspires and observes rather than recites facts.

The goal for any teaching style is to remain focused on teaching objectives, engaging students as best you can while avoiding trying to be all things to all students. Not all students respond well to a particular style, which is why many teachers who are versed in teaching styles use a combination of them based on the subject matter or environment.

But students are the most important factor: and it’s important to use a teaching method to engage students at all levels of learning and ability. Using a balanced mix of teaching styles that blends the best of what you have to offer will reach every student effectively.

2.1. Developing and understanding your own teaching style

The first step in developing and understanding your own teaching style is to take an inventory of your skills and personality. There are several resources that can offer structure to this self-reflective exercise.

1. Mohanna, Chambers and Wall’s Staffordshire Evaluation of Teaching Styles (SETS) is a self-evaluation questionnaire and scoring sheet that helps teachers see for which teaching style of six—all-around flexible and adaptable, student-centered/sensitive, official curriculum, straight facts no nonsense, big conference and one-off—is their strongest preference.

2. The Teaching Behavior Preferences Survey by Behar and Horenstein (2006), meanwhile, includes questions to determine if you are more teacher- or student-centered, and into which of four subdomains you might fall.

3. The Principles of Adult Learning Scale by Conty (1983) includes 44 self-administered questions to determine where you fall on the spectrum of teaching styles as well.

4. Another option is the Constructionist On-Line Learning Environment Survey by Taylor and Maor, which measures the quality of an online environment and teaching styles.


Examples of how you can use the protégé effect

The protégé effect is primarily associated with the academic context, where teaching others can help you learn material that you need to learn yourself. However, the protégé effect can also benefit you in a variety of other, non-academic environments. For example:

  • When it comes to hobbies, teaching basic skills to novices can help you refine and master those skills yourself.
  • When it comes to work, explaining important procedures to new employees can help you remember those procedures better yourself.
  • When it comes to general knowledge, explaining concepts that you’re interested in to people who aren’t familiar with them can help you improve your understanding of those concepts.

Learning Strategies

Learning is one of the most essential aspect of life. It is through learning that one is able to grow and interact with others. Each and every day individuals embark on a journey of learning. It serves as a platform is for one to learn about ways to improve their lives, reward themselves by learning about others and their surroundings. In all it is accurate to say that learning I is an inevitable aspect of life. In terms of learning in a classroom surrounding or academically one must develop effect ways to learn. A student can study for hours or days and yet still achieve nothing. However, implementing the use of effective learning strategies will help one to learn and attain knowledge. The learning type theory invented by Frederic Vester suggest that learning performance of pupils is enhanced by taking into consideration the different “channels of perception”. According to Vester here are four types of leaners.

  • Learning type 1: Auditive learning (“by listening and speaking“),
  • Learning type 2: Visual learning (“through the eyes, by watching”),
  • Learning type 3: Haptic learning (“by touching and feeling”), Learning type 4: Learning through the intellect.

What is a learning strategies one may ask. Learning strategies are the different approaches and methods that humans use to enhance learning while a learning style is the method of learning particular to an individual that is presumed to allow them learn best. It is also instructional strategies that have been developed to assist students with learning difficulties. Learning strategies include: teaching study skills, editing assignments, reading strategies, and thinking strategies. Cognitive strategies this form of learning strategy involves practice, analyzing, inductive influence, deductive reasoning, clarification and memorization. It is said that this strategy helps student to learn the affective way of thinking. Creating a higher order thinking skills.


Application

Generally, teachers are able to identify learning styles by observing their students in the classroom. Students begin to show their preference for particular styles through presentations, discussions, and collaborative activities. When delivering courses online, it is important for the instructor to engage with the students throughout the entire learning cycle in order to reveal their preferences. As a rule, best teaching practices always include a wide range of learning activities in order to reach all learning styles. A variety of experiences supports all learners regardless of preferred style, as it helps them develop skills in specific areas and creates a more flexible, well-rounded learner.

Kolb’s theory of experiential learning includes learning as a whole process. All stages can be included throughout the experiences. For example, a classic teacher-student lecture may be both a concrete and an abstract experience, based on how the learner interacts with it. This also means that the learner could view strong and emotional reflection as a concrete experience, or completing a computer-based task as an abstract experience. Additionally, a learner may develop their own abstract model to better understand a concrete experience or task. It is important not to limit learning experiences to the stage that you perceive them to be.


Learning Styles

The term learning styles is widely used to describe how learners gather, sift through, interpret, organize, come to conclusions about, and “store” information for further use. As spelled out in VARK (one of the most popular learning styles inventories), these styles are often categorized by sensory approaches: v isual, a ural, verbal [ r eading/writing], and k inesthetic. Many of the models that don’t resemble the VARK’s sensory focus are reminiscent of Felder and Silverman’s Index of Learning Styles, with a continuum of descriptors for how learners process and organize information: active-reflective, sensing-intuitive, verbal-visual, and sequential-global.

There are well over 70 different learning styles schemes (Coffield, 2004), most of which are supported by “a thriving industry devoted to publishing learning-styles tests and guidebooks” and “professional development workshops for teachers and educators” (Pashler, et al., 2009, p. 105).

Despite the variation in categories, the fundamental idea behind learning styles is the same: that each of us has a specific learning style (sometimes called a “preference”), and we learn best when information is presented to us in this style. For example, visual learners would learn any subject matter best if given graphically or through other kinds of visual images, kinesthetic learners would learn more effectively if they could involve bodily movements in the learning process, and so on. The message thus given to instructors is that “optimal instruction requires diagnosing individuals’ learning style[s] and tailoring instruction accordingly” (Pashler, et al., 2009, p. 105).


Interpersonal Learning Style Career Choices

The interpersonal learning style student may be drawn to careers where there will be regular interpersonal interactions with others. They often have strengths in leadership, organizing, and understanding other people. They may be misplaced in careers where much of the work is done solo and without interaction. Careers that may use their talents include teacher, salesperson, marketing coordinator, communications manager, customer service representative, personal services (beautician, nail technician, tattoo artist, etc.), minister, psychologist, counselor, human resources coordinator, social worker, travel and tourism advisor, attorney, politician, television or radio broadcaster or anchor, actor, nurse, event coordinator, personal trainer, sports coach, recreation therapist, or corporate officer.  



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