Different Learning Styles

Different learning styles: Different learning styles are a concept that refers to the theory that individuals have distinctive ways of processing information regardless of the presented model.  The key assumption behind this concept is that …

Different learning styles:

Different learning styles are a concept that refers to the theory that individuals have distinctive ways of processing information regardless of the presented model. 

The key assumption behind this concept is that there are multiple types or categories of “intelligence” and that people tend to favor one over the others. The three main classifications for these styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

The concept has been widely used in education to enhance teaching practices, but also to structure the learning environment for students by grouping them according to their preferred style (e.g., some schools design different buildings or classes for these groups). Students would then theoretically learn better within their preferred categories of information processing styles due to ease of understanding and memorization.There is no scientific evidence supporting the claim that students learn better in categories than mixed, and researchers have argued against it.

The concept has been criticized for various reasons: 

It assumes that people learn best when they receive information in their preferred modality. But studies show that there is no such preference. 

It also assumes that each person has just one learning style, but research indicates that the differences may be more subtle. 

Finally, it is criticized because it does not account for whether students have an adequate base of knowledge to process incoming information.

Learning Styles

Key assumptions

Key assumptions behind this concept are: 

1) People have different preferred ways of taking in information; 

2) Processing information differently leads to better understanding and memory of the subject matter; 

3) People learn best when presented with material that matches their preferred learning style.

The assumption behind this concept is that there are multiple types or categories of “intelligence” and individuals tend to favor one over the others. 

The three main classifications for these styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Visual learners prefer to see information presented concretely with diagrams, charts, pictures, etc. They learn best by reading written material or watching demonstrations. It is often assumed that people who prefer the visual style are good at “discriminating details” (i.e., spotting minor differences in presented information).

Auditory learners

Auditory learners prefer to hear information delivered verbally, either by listening to lectures or talking one-on-one with teachers or peers. They often like discussing what they learned, but dislike writing out long essays and rarely enjoy reading books for pleasure. People who learn best through the auditory style may be good at “discussing” (i.e., expressing ideas about concepts learned).

Kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners prefer to meet new information by doing something active like hands-on experiments, role-playing simulations, etc. They tend to retain information best by actively interacting with it in this way. Rather than listening or reading about it. People who prefer the kinesthetic style often enjoy “performing” (i.e., recreating new information in a way that applies to their lives).

Not all researchers agree on which type or combination of types are most prevalent among learners. However, it is generally accepted that individuals fall into one category more than the others. 

The concept has been widely used in education to enhance teaching practices. But also to structure the learning environment for students by grouping them according to their preferred style. 

Learning styles

Most systems of learning styles are based on one of three classifications:

1) VARK – The VARK classification uses four “learning styles” which were published in 1983 by Felder and Solomon: 

Visual – Best with most information presented visually; highest scores with reading, diagrams, pictures; lowest with writing; uses few words.

Auditory – Best with most information presented verbally (especially listening). Spoken language (rather than written); listens attentively rather than daydreaming or talking to classmates. Low scores with reading and diagrams; low scores in written language. 

Reading/writing – Best with most information presented via reading or writing, but not necessarily both. High scores when words are the primary method of presentation for both teacher and student. High scores when questions require written answers rather than spoken discussion.

Kinesthetic

– Content is best understood through practical experience; scores lowest with reading and lectures. Highest scores in practical applications, role-playing, and demonstrations.

2) Kolb’s Learning Styles – 

Concrete Experience: learning is better if it begins with the five senses (seeing, hearing, touching, etc.) 

Abstract Conceptualization: it is easier to learn new information if it can be related to prior experience 

Active Experimentation: learning is better when the learner participates in an active exploration of information 

Reflective Observation: it is easier to learn new information by watching others, rather than being acted upon oneself.

3) CELT System of Learning – 

Concrete Experience – Learning is easiest when it begins with the five senses (seeing, hearing, touching, etc.) 

Abstract Conceptualization – Learning is easier when information can be related to prior experience. 

Active Experimentation – It is easier for you to learn by being actively involved in your learning rather than being acted upon. 

18 thoughts on “Different Learning Styles”

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