• August 30, 2015


1. seaside - December 16, 2009 at 05:50 am

Dear Pam: Could you please print this article on the color printer. Thanks, Trish

2. cwebstuff - December 16, 2009 at 07:21 am

Learning styles are a valid way to modiy and increase student satisfaction and learning outcomes. Faculty who ignore student learning modalities and teach the way they want regardless of student class dynamics are both ignorant and lazy.

3. what4 - December 16, 2009 at 07:53 am

Sometimes other factors are more helpful than differences in learning styles, such as a student's ability to take the initiative necessary to take charge of the learning process. Google "Teaching Learners to be Self-Directed." Without initiative, persistence, background knowledge, learning skills, and a degree of self-motivation, learning styles may not matter much.

4. wlgoffe - December 16, 2009 at 11:08 am

On this topic, I found "Learning Styles Don't Exist"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk interesting. While on YouTube, it seems to summarize some of the literature on learning styles. I wish that the author, a noted cognitive scientist, had cited the literature he had in mind, but it appears that his audience here is K-12 teachers. It would seem that this literature isn't settled.

5. khutchins - December 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

In listening to public radio, they had an author who had done research and found that the best predictors of academic success were discipline, and in children, the ability to engage in creative play with other children. This is an interesting topic that we will know a lot more about in 20 years, about what variables are important, and how to develop those.

6. jcfortune - December 16, 2009 at 01:40 pm

I have often wondered why we assume it's a good thing to have learners come to school (k-12+) to learn how to do better what they already know how to do.

Over my years of teaching (5-16+), I've found that the learning modality is more obvious and fundamental in the discipline rather than in the student.

7. wmfxir2 - December 16, 2009 at 01:52 pm

Why does this need to print out on 3 pages?!

8. 11264553 - December 16, 2009 at 02:29 pm

I'd like to take a step back from this topic, and think about what we are doing. One objective we should have is to prepare our students for the working world into which we will release them. Now, out there, they will have to work in the workplace according to the standards and practices of that workplace. The boss will want things done the way they are done in that workplace, and former students will have to adapt to those standards and practices. Business does not cater to people with different working styles: it fires people who can't or won't adapt.

Given that reality (and I work in the working world, and that is the reality, especially now, when business can fire anyone they want to, and get over 100 applicants to replace the maladaptive), we need to expose our students to different styles of teaching and learning, so they can learn to be adaptable and flexible in the workplace. Catering to different learning styles will not prepare them for the world after college. Therefore, my sense is that each department, college, university has as obligation to expose students to different styles of teaching and learning. If done right, this can increase their intellectual and personal flexibility, making them better able to make the transition from college to the working world, and to a successful career and life.

And so, I would encourage colleges to offer students a variety of courses that offer a variety of teaching and learning styles, both to increase the repertoire of intellectual capabilities available to the students, and to prepare them for the Big Transition. Make sense?

9. vlghess - December 16, 2009 at 09:48 pm

A note about the "catering" issue. It is true that one can do an end run around one's preferred style. Years ago, I read a J. Chem. Ed. article describing a study in which visual spatial intellingence (yes, another schema) was correlated with success in high school chemistry. I am totally void in that suit--but since I had a Ph.D. in the subject and had been teaching for 8 years when I read the article, I shrugged and moved on. However, I also remember consciously working around my style mismatch on a variety of occasions, and playing to my strenghts.
Many students don't come with the ability to do that. Do we write them off? Or would it be better to START by accommodating their style (as much as we can) while simultaneously seeking ways to stretch them and challenge them to try other approaches and develop capabilities in foreign styles?
After all, an olympic swimmer will have to swim in deep water, but you don't start your five-year-old there!

10. richardtaborgreene - December 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

It's a big big big world and any one nation, set of teachers, school system, university is a vanishingly small faction of it, pretending to be something quite larger and more important than that. In such a vast world, both the civilization built as it is by humans, and the cosmos, that generated life, natural selection processes, and thereby humanity, we, on the extremes, can seek out a niche where our easy preferred personal style works well for us, or we can pick out an easy preferred niche and adapt what is inside us, most of it unconsciously so, so as to adapt to that preferred niche. Both can work well--finding a niche for what we already are, or changing us to fit a niche we want to fit. Schools as educating dynamics have to introduce this dilemma/choice and the real consequences of choosing one or the other extremes, as well as the consequences of choosing something in the middle. Schools as information providers (inferior to the web and books in that regard most certainly) merely have to "inform" students of such a dilemma in how they later will live.

Probably there is enough time to do both--throw kids into hostile competitive cut-throat business-like environments and encourage them to adapt their inner natures to fit ugly constraint sets, throw kids into search processes of finding tiny parts of the world where who and what they already have become, fits without further self transformation. We have the time to do both, in practical reality. We can impose learning styles kids hate and encourage them to adapt themselves to them and we can assist kids searching out styles they find easy or otherwise prefer and restricting the rest of life to that comfort zone.

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