Learning Styles Fact or Myth?
Related Learning Styles Pages
Styles of Learning
Kolb Learning Styles Model
Maslow hirachy of needs and motivating learners
Anthony Gregorc's Mind Styles Model
Gregorc’s (1982) styles of learning model is similar to Kolb’s, except that the two dimensions rate:
perception from abstract to concrete and ordering from sequential to random.
The final classification of the learner is into one of four states, again similar to Kolb, using the Gregorc Style Delineator. (a self-scoring written instrument that elicits responses to a set of 40 specific words.)
Scoring the responses will give values for a model with two axes: a "perceptual space duality," concrete vs. abstract, and an "ordering duality," sequential vs. random The resulting quadrants are the "styles": • Concrete Sequential • Concrete Random • Abstract Sequential • Abstract Random
No one is a "pure" style. Each of us have a unique combination of natural strengths and abilities
more styles of learning information here
You might be surprised to know that the ideas of individualised learning styles really originated in the 1970’s. But unlike 70's fashion the ideas has gained both increasing popularity and notoriety in recent years.
So why talk about learning styles?
Although critics have said, that just because you know your learning preferences doesn’t mean you’ll improve your learning. To borrow a quote from Neil Flemming (creator of the VARK model)
“That is just as true as that knowing one's weight does not help weight loss. However, knowing one's learning preferences can be beneficial, if learners take the next step, and consider how and when they learn, as part of a reflective metacognitive process, with action to follow.”
Various authors have proposed different categories of learning srategies. Examples are Kolb, Honey and Mumford, Dunn and Dunn, and Myers-Briggs.
What they all have in common is, that they attempt to classify learners into categories that can be used as the basis for instructional design and training .
Here is the rub: There is no currently existing overall, holistic theory of learning preferences; rather there are bits and pieces.
In fact, what some call learning styles, others have labelled as cognitive controls, learning preferences, learning capabilities, cognitive styles, or personality. For the sake of simplicity, we will use the term here "learning styles."
Part of the challenge is, that learning research stretches broadly across the specialism’s of psychology, business studies, sociology, management education etc... Researchers in these areas tend to use different language, and interpret matters in their own terms.
Try and get an Academic, a teacher, a trainer, an Executive Coach and a psychologist to have a conversation together and see how much different jargon pops out.
Why are Learning Styles Important?
However we can make a number of assumptions about why learning styles might be useful for you:
Individuals vary in their preferred learning approach
Using their preferred means of learning deepens and accelerates learning
Students will become more motivated to learn by knowing more about their own strengths and weaknesses as learners
Adults are generally more resistant to new ideas, and they prefer to be in charge of their own learning and to choose what they want to learn. (see brain principles) If you want to be in charge of your own learning, then a knowledge of your own style of learning can really help you think about your own learning, and be aware of your preferred learning approaches. This understanding of how you think and learn, is called meta cognition and it is an important component of cognitive theory.
In plain English this means taking conscious control of your learning by:
According to David Kolb Learning Styles are still important because:
Different Views on Learning Styles
The Learning Skills Research Centre identified 71 different models of learning styles, and therein is the challenge for most of us.
How do you figure out which of these learning models are useful?
We have decided to just cover a number of the most popular and well used learning models.
Our logic ? well simply because they are the learning models you are most likely to come into contact with.
Just look at the many and confusing terms used in the learning field. Learning style, learning strategies, approaches to learning, learning models, learning inventories, teaching styles, learning orientations, learning conditions, thinking styles, cognitive styles.
Different learning models reflect different assumptions on learning. For example, a number of the learning style models derive from brain research and the use of different parts of the brain for different functions.
Other models are more aligned with more established psychological theories of personality traits and intellectual abilities. From this latter perspective, it is claimed that learning can be defined accurately and then measured through psychological testing in order to predict behaviour and performance.
This suggests that learning styles are more fixed and stable and don’t change much over time. Other researchers put forward the view that, it is more useful to look at learning behaviour in different situations in which suggests our learning is more flexible.
Kolbs favourite quotation from Confucius has become synonymous with experiential learning. He refers to: “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand”,
According to Kolb:
“ELT is also a useful framework for organisational learning, helping to integrate learning with daily work and helping organisations adapt to today’s rapidly changing circumstances.”
Kolb’s model classifies students on two dimensions: concrete experience (CE) or abstract conceptualization (AC) and active experimentation (AE) or reflective observation (RO).
Using this model, students are classified into one of four types based on how they perceive information (CE/AC) and how they learn information (AE/RO).
The most direct application of the model is to use it to ensure that teaching and training activities give full value to each stage of the process. This may mean that for the trainer or mentor, a major task is to "chase" the learner round the cycle, asking questions which encourage Reflection, Conceptualisation, and ways of testing the ideas. (The Concrete Experience itself may occur outside the training /mentoring session).
Kolb also developed a Learning Inventory (LSI) to categorize students
Honey and Mumford’s Model
In the mid 1970’s Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted David Kolb’s model for use with a population of middle/senior managers in business. They published their version of the model in The Manual of Learning Styles (1982)
Two adaptations were made to Kolb’s experiential model.
Firstly, the stages in the cycle were renamed to accord with managerial experiences of decision making/problem solving. The Honey & Mumford stages are:
Secondly, the styles were directly aligned to the stages in the cycle and named Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist.
These are assumed to be acquired preferences that are adaptable, either at will or through changed circumstances, rather than being fixed personality characteristics.
A MORI survey commissioned by [The Campaign for Learning] in 1999 found the Honey & Mumford LSQ to be the most widely used system for assessing preferred learning approaches in the local government sector in the UK.