How We Learn
agree that there is no one best way to learn. People learn differently. This hardly a novel idea, but in order for you to do well in college it is important
that you become aware of your preferred “learning style”.
LEARNING ABOUT LEARNING STYLES
are many ways of thinking about and describing learning styles. Of the dozens
of learning styles models, we will review five of the best know and most relevant to your learning. They are:
Kolb Inventory of Learning Styles
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic)
of them overlap between the different models, but using several of them may help you do a more precise job of discovering
your learning style.
Field Dependence / Independence
of the simplest learning style models is called Field Dependence/Independence. This is a concept
that defines whether and to what degree learners are influenced by the surrounding environment and relationships within the
learners tend to be highly autonomous. Require little interaction
with instructors or other students and tend to favor areas of study that call for analytic skills, such mathematics, engineering,
learn more effectively in a classroom where there is frequent interaction with others; tend to choose majors such as clinical
psychology, humanities, counseling, and teaching.
WHICH OF THESE STYLES WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS YOUR PREFERRED LEARNING STYLE?
KOLB INVENTORY OF LEARNING STYLES
more complex learning model that is widely used and referenced by researchers and educators is the Kolb Inventory of Learning
Styles, developed in the 1980s by David Kolb. This inventory is based on a four-stage
cycle of learning (see Figure 3.1 in text).
to Kolb, effective learners need four different kinds of abilities:
· Concrete experience abilities (allows them to involve themselves
fully in new experiences)
· Reflective Observation abilities (allows you to reflect on
your experiences from many perspectives)
· Abstract Conceptualization abilities (enables you to integrate observations into logically sound
· Active experimentation abilities (enables you to make decisions,
solve problems, and test what you have learned in new situations).
further divides learner into four discrete groups:
· Divergers (you are good at reflecting on situations from
many viewpoints. You excel at brainstorming)
· Assimilators (you like to think about abstract concepts. You are comfortable where the instructor lectures theoretical without relating the
lecture to any real world, practical situations).
· Convergers (you like the world of ideas and theories, but
you also are good at thinking about how to apply those theories to real world, practical situation).
Accomodators (you prefer hands-on learning. You
are good at making things happen, you rely on your intuition).
well in college will require that you adopt some behavior characteristic of at least one of these four learning styles.
MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR
best known most widely used personality inventories that can also be used to describe learning styles is the Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator or MBTI.
you complete the MBTI survey, your score is your “psychological type” which reflects your preference on four different
(E) vs Introversion (I)
Organization or Adaptability
way of measuring how we learn is the theory of multiple intelligence, developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor
of education at Harvard University.
Gardner’s theory is based on the premise that the traditional
notion of human intelligence is very limited. He proposes a more complex theory
with eight different intelligences to describe how humans learn.
you might expect, Gardner work is very controversial as it calls into question our historic definitions of intelligence.
test his multiple intelligence theory, a short inventory of all eight categories is listed in your text. You may want to go back and review these eight types of intelligence to see if any apply to your style
of learning (Chapter 3, pages 52-53).
VARK LEARNING STYLES INVENTORY
VARK is different from the four previously described learning styles theories because it relies less on basic personality
or intelligence and more on how learners prefer to use their senses to learn.
acronym VARK stands for “Visual”, “Aural”, “Read/Write”, and “Kinesthetic”.
Visual learners prefer
to learn information from charts, graphs, symbols, and other visual means.
Aural learners prefer
to hear instruction.
prefer to learn information that is displayed as words.
prefer to learn through experience and practice, whether simulated or real (Hand
determine your learning style according to the VARK inventory, complete the VARK Questionnaire in your text and score it.
(Chapter 3, pages 54-55).
WHEN LEARNING STYLES AND TEACHING STYLES ARE IN
indicates that instructors tend to teach in ways that conform to their own particular learning style.
IF YOUR LEARNING STYLE
CONFLICTS WITH INSTRUCTORS TEACHING STYLE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
text suggests that you not depend on the instructor or classroom environment to give you everything you need to maximize your
learning. Employ your own unique style, talents, and abilities in developing ways to study and retain information.
WHAT IS A LEARNING DISABILITY (LD)
is a learning disorder that affects people’s ability either to interpret what they see and hear or to link information
from different parts of the brain.
is a broad term that covers a pool of possible causes, symptoms, treatments, and outcomes.
Because of this it is difficult ot diagnose or to pinpoint the causes.
types of LD that most commonly affect college students are academic skills disorders, including developmental reading, writing,
and mathematic disorders.
Dyslexia: A developmental reading disorder that is quite widespread. People with dyslexia have difficulty
with the sounds of spoken words and may have trouble seeing the correct arrangement of letters in a given word.. Many times they transpose or reverse letters in a written word.
common type of learning disability is an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Some
students who have attention disorders appear to daydream excessively. Once you
get their attention, they may be easily distracted.
signs that may help you determine whether you or someone you know has a learning disability are:
· Do you perform poorly on tests even when you feel you have studies and
are capable of performing better?
· Do you have trouble spelling words?
· Do you work harder than your fellow classmates at basic reading and writing?
· Do you have a really short
attention span, or do your parents or instructor say that you do things “without thinking”?
though you might have responded “yes” to any of the above questions, this does not mean that you have a learning
you are concern you should check with your campus learning center, “special needs”, or student disabilities office
to help you respond to any problem you might have.
diagnosed with a learning disability should not feel ashamed for you are in very good company.
Magic Johnson, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Cher, and Danny Glover are just a few or the famous and successful
people who have diagnosed learning disabilities.