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Further information from Ferl
What are learning styles and do they matter
Some basic views on learning styles
Is it useful to think about learning styles?
This article was inspired by the recent discussion on the ILT Champions? Discussion Group. It contains information on some of the well known views relating to learning styles and includes comments from practitioners. Details of further resources on learning styles are also included.
People have preferences about how they like to learn which is called their learning style. These sometimes account for their problems in learning using a particular approach such as in a classroom or on the job. This may not be entirely due to their learning style but also due to their previous experience. There are a number of systems for describing learning styles. Some well known views of learning styles are provided by:
David Kolb is one of the leading researchers in learning strategies and learning processes. His model uses the Lewin Cycle of adult learning. Kolb suggests that there are four stages that follow on from each other to complete the cycle of learning:
Source: Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential learning : experience as the source of learning and development.
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford have identified four main learning style preferences.
Activists like to be involved in new experiences and are enthusiastic about new ideas. They enjoy doing things and tend to act first and consider the implications afterwards. They are unlikely to prepare for the learning experience or review their learning afterwards.
Activists learn best when:
Activists learn less when:
Reflectors like to view the situation from different perspectives. They like to collect data, review and think carefully before coming to any conclusions. They enjoy observing others and will listen to their views before offering their own.
Reflectors learn best when:
Reflectors learn less when:
Theorists like to adapt and integrate observations into complex and logically sound theories. They think problems through step- by-step. They tend to be perfectionists who like to fit things into a rational scheme.
Theorists learn best when:
Theorists learn less when:
Pragmatists are eager to try things out. They like concepts that can be applied to their job. They tend to be impatient with lengthy discussions and are practical and down to earth.
Pragmatists learn best when:
Pragmatists learn less when:
Source: Mumford, A. (1997) How to manage your learning environment. Peter Honey Publications.
Riding and Rayner have reviewed and integrated research on style differences in learning behaviour and have developed the "cognitive styles analysis" which is designed to provide a method of assessing learning style.
Riding and Rayner suggest a taxonomy for learning style models resulting in four broad groupings:
Source: Riding, R and Rayner, S (1998) Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences in Learning and Behaviour. David Fulton Publishers.
The key issue to remember is to be flexible in the different learning approaches you provide and not limit your college to a narrow range of methods. A blend of methods and materials needs to be available such as:
This is a summary of comments from practitioner?s who participated in the discussion on the ILT Champions? Discussion Group.
Most students have elements of more than one learning style. It may be useful for students to think about their strongest style and weakest style to identify how they learn.
By thinking about their preferred style, they can try and apply this to learning new things. If they are able to use their natural style, they may find learning much easier and quicker.
Knowing your learning style may help you develop coping strategies to compensate for your weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths.
Learning Styles Presentation: A PowerPoint presentation from Virginia Havergal of Wiltshire College on the subject of Learning Styles. Includes slides on Multiple Intelligence Theory.
Ferl Practitioners? Programme Module K4.5a - What is your Learning Style
What is your Learning Style? is a simple quiz that looks at one method that can be used to identify your own learning styles.
The Ferl Pedagogy Focus Area: This section of the Focus area looks at examples of integrated teaching and learning styles.
Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire
A full online version of this questionnaire is available from the Peter Honey website on a pay-as-you-go basis for ?10. Your results include a full report with suggestions about how to become a more effective learner.
The LdPride.net website has information about learning styles and Multiple Intelligence (MI) and is helpful for everyone especially for people with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This site provides an explanation of what learning styles and MI are all about, an interactive assessment of your learning style/MI, and practical tips to make your learning style work for you.
Title: The learning styles questionnaire: by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, Maidenhead, 2001
Title: Learning styles and strategies: a review of research by Philip Adey et al., ion info. London : King's College London, School of Education, 1999
Title: Dyslexia and Learning Styles: A Practitioner?s Handbook by Tilley Mortimore, Whurr Publishers Ltd, 2002
Title: Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences in Learning and Behaviour by Richard Rayner, Stephen Rayner, David Fulton Publishers, 1998
Title: Learning Styles Audit by Mike Woodcock, Dave Francis, Gower Publishing Limited, 1994
Source: Quality Improvement Agency
You can find this page and download any referenced resources from the Excellence Gateway at http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/ferl.aclearn.resource.id7543.
© Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) 2012