In human beings, learning style types determine their nature of learning because each individual has a unique personality. These specific personality characteristics in turn create their preferred ways of learning.
Over the years, some great educational philosophers and thinkers have acquainted us with some great pieces of knowledge about these preferences and the history behind these enlightening theories dates back to 334 BC.
At first, it was Aristotle (the famous Greek philosopher) who spoke about the impact of individual differences and the unique skillsets of students.
Later, on the lines of these educational theories, other philosophers also came up with similar theories. At various advancing stages of these theories, most of the researchers studied the impact of learning styles on academic achievements and many of them found a strong connection between preferences and achievements.
THE MOST POPULAR EXPLANATION OF THESE LEARNING STYLES ARE FOUND IN
‘KOLB’S LEARNING CYCLE’ AND NEIL D. FLEMING’S ‘VARK MODEL’.
Let’s take a glance at some renowned segregations of learning styles as per experts and figure out how they contribute towards a learner’s academic achievements.
When it comes to the style of learning, there is nothing as right or wrong. One can choose to learn the way he/she wants. It is also possible for a single learner to learn through a mix of learning styles.
These preferences or styles can also change at any given point in time, due to certain internal or external factors. But generally, we understand these preferences in the light of the most predominant traits within one’s personality.
LEARNERS ACROSS THE WORLD ARE BELIEVED TO LEARN THROUGH THESE
PROMINENT LEARNING STYLE TYPES- VISUAL, AUDITORY, KINAESTHETIC AND
Let’s take a closer look at these now:
- Visual learners prefer the use of visual media such as images, videos, diagrams, charts, etc., because they are more inclined towards seeing than hearing. So, the best way to cater to these learners is to use visual presentations for instructional delivery.
- Auditory types are just the opposite. They follow lectures, speeches and prefer speaking to understand. Very often you can find these types of learners speaking aloud to register information in their minds.
- Kinesthetic is the third type in this order. These learners choose to carry out learning through physical activities. As a result, they are often seen struggling in the sedentary instructions of a traditional classroom.
- It is also observed that even the most effective teaching strategies designed for heterogeneous groups do not appeal to them, as their individual needs are more about hands-on activities than learning through videos or audios.
- The last style in this sequence is reading/ writing, and again you can identify these types of learners on the basis of their behavioral traits. You can find them scribbling notes because they believe in registering information by jotting it down.
Before going further let’s understand some general benefits of learning style types in academics.
Teaching is a complex process that requires numerous approaches, strategies, selection of techniques as per the target audience. Hence, it is important for a teacher to create a mix of the most effective teaching strategies to promote student engagement.
In a regular heterogeneous mix of students, selecting the right approaches as per the preferred styles can have great implications like:
- Improved grades/scores
- Feasibility to design techniques and strategize better
- Allowing freedom to the learner to understand and learn in a desirable way
- Maximize learning outcomes
- Reduced overall cognitive load and stress levels
- Instills a sense of confidence in students to perform better
- Improved overall functioning of brain and fostering an advanced cognitive ability
- Adding a fun element learning
- Celebrating the inherent skill sets of students and encouraging them to use these
IT IS EVIDENT THAT IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT LEARNING STYLES IN LEARNERS CAN
CERTAINLY IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY……BUT HOW TO IDENTIFY
THESE STYLES ACCURATELY?
Students can have a mix of learning styles and their ways to learn and understand can be different from time to time. Keeping these aspects in mind, an eminent psychologist Kolb came up with a mechanism to identify the right learning styles in students.
He called this instrument ‘Learning Style Inventory’.
Researches behind this instrument show that the individual’s preference to learn is based on his/her selection of the four different modes. He segregates these modes as-
- Concrete Experience
- Reflective Observation
- Abstract Conceptualization
- Active Experimentation
This inventory pinpoints the importance of these styles in our problem-solving approach, because it shows a direct relation with our learning abilities and our ways of understanding things.
An individual/educator/parent can complete the learning style inventory to get an idea of his/her ideal ways to learn. It comprises of simple rankings assigned to words that are selected by the individual to describe his/her preferences.
Now that we know the benefits of selecting the right style and its identification mechanisms, let’s also discuss its long-term advantages:
- Intrinsic Motivation
When an individual finds an activity interesting, he/she develops an intrinsic motivation towards it. In the case of academics, this aspect empowers a student to takes charge of his/her learning. This sense of ownership is so powerful that it eliminates all major and minor issues in the learning process.
As a result, it fosters a superlative level of engagement and results in better academic outcomes. The most trusted psychological theories like Kolb’s Learning Cycle and Experiential Learning acknowledge the impact of purposeful student engagement to achieve desired learning outcomes.
In conclusion, we can say that knowing the right style expands a student’s capacities to process information through a strong drive of intrinsic motivation.
This intrinsic motivation also develops a positive impact on the attitude of a learner.
STUDIES HAVE REVEALED THAT TEACHING AS PER THE PREFERRED LEARNING
STYLE TYPES INCREASES ACHIEVEMENTS…BECAUSE, IT IMPROVES THE OVERALL
ATTITUDE OF A STUDENT AND MAKES HIM/HER MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR
It is rightly believed that students who are motivated have the right attitude to learn as they have the drive to achieve their goals and put a rigorous effort into achieving them.
These results can easily be anticipated through the body language, energy level, and participation of learners within the learning environment.
- Our Role as a Stakeholder
As parents/teachers/guardians we can refer to theories like Kolb’s Learning Cycle or use the Learning Style Inventory to help our students excel academically. But other than this it is also important to give them an environment that nurtures their skillsets as per these researched ways of learning.
Remember that even the best of teachers cannot succeed with the wrong platform. So, the primary role of the stakeholders is to select the right platform that can teach the child as per the ways that suit him/her the best.
TODAY, OUR STUDENTS NEED AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING THAT ALLOWS THEM TO
LEARN AS PER THEIR PREFERENCES.
AND ALL THANKS TO THIS DIGITAL ERA, WE READILY HAVE SUCH CHOICES IN THE
FORM OF DIGITAL SCHOOLING PLATFORMS LIKE ‘INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLING’.
As a leading virtual school, we identify, celebrate and appreciate each student’s preferred learning style. Our acknowledgement of these preferences is not merely in words. We believe in imparting instructions that are suitable for our learners as per their own learning styles.
In our carefully designed structure, we create a perfect blend of teacher-led and self-planned study schedules. And most importantly, we motivate and encourage our students to learn in the way that THEY LIKE THE MOST.
Here is how the best online high school caters to learners as per their learning style types:
- Educator/ Counselor support to identify the ideal styles
- Flexibility of schedule
- Mechanisms that support adaptive learning and instant feedback
- Freedom to repeat, pace up or slow down instructions (most suitable for reading and writing style types)
- Feasibility to blend instructions as per different types of learners
- Use of artificial intelligence for real-time analysis/modification purposes
- Enriched online material that appeals to all kinds of learners
Let’s wrap it up!
Learning style types greatly influence one’s overall learning. Hence, these should be the key aspect before planning an instructional delivery.
In today’s world of education, we are fortunate to have some great options through digital schooling to not only identify but support all kinds of learners. Hopefully, in the coming years, more of us will embrace this positive change in the educational landscape.
I end this blog with a beautiful quote that perfectly summarizes a student-centric educational setting-
“IF A CHILD CAN’T LEARN THE WAY WE TEACH, MAYBE WE SHOULD TEACH THE WAY
THEY LEARN” – IGNACIO ESTRADA
Thanks for reading!