Different learning styles

Meaning of learning styles

  • Learning styles are unique ways in which individuals process information. They do so in the course of learning new concepts and principles.
  • All people can be classified according to their ‘style’ of learning.
  • We can describe Learning styles as a set of
    • factors,
    • behaviors and
    • attitudes
  • that help to learn for an individual in a given situation.
  • They also influence how students learn, how the teacher teaches and how both of them interact.
  • Each person is born with certain tendencies towards particular styles. These tendencies are also influenced by culture, personal experiences, maturity level, and development.
  • So, learning styles are different approaches or ways of learning.
  • Components of learning styles are
    • cognitive elements,
    • affective elements and
    • psychological elements

    These elements may be strongly influenced by a person’s cultural background.

Definition of learning styles:-

A learning style is nothing but a preferential mode, through which a person likes to master learning, solve problems, think or react in a pedagogical situation.

4 learning styles types

  • Different people learn differently. Psychologists try to spell out the traits of different types of learners. They try to categorize them into different learning styles.
  • VARK is the most used learning styles model developed in 1987 by Neil Fleming from New Zealand.
  • Its letters stand for four learning styles
    1. Visual
    2. Auditory
    3. Read / write
    4. Kinesthetic
  • A teacher’s best option is to use variety of teaching techniques to give all students the best chance to learn.

Visual learning style:-

  • People with visual learning style absorb information by seeing it in front of them and storing the images in their brain.
  • They tend to struggle with verbal directions and are easily distracted by noise.
  • They have good handwriting, are very detail-oriented, organized. They have awareness of colors and shapes.

Tips for helping visual learners in class:-

  1. Write out directions
  2. Use visuals when teaching lessons ex-charts, diagrams etc.
  3. Use of visual aids for ex. Flash cards, blocks etc.
  4. Organize information using colors.
  5. Encourage the child to write notes and organize information being provided.

Auditory learning style:-

  • Verbal language is the primary mode for exchanging information for those with auditory learning styles.
  • They learn best by hearing and speaking.
  • They often talk more than the average person. They are social and understands concepts by talking about them.
  • Some auditory learners read slowly. They have trouble writing and have tough time staying quits for long stretches of time.

Tips to teach auditory learners

  1. Play word games and use rhymes to practice the language.
  2. Allow the child to explain concepts verbally.
  3. Have the child memorize information by repeating it loud.
  4. Read aloud often to young children.
  5. Provide a personal voice recorder to the child which he can use to record notes or questions.

Read / Write learning styles:-

  • Read-write learners specifically learn best through the written word.
  • They absorb information by reading books and handouts, taking lots of notes and making lists.
  • They prefer lectures, diagrams and scientific concepts to be explained through written language.
  • They are often fast readers and skillful writers.
  • Such learners may struggle with verbal directions and are easily distracted by noise.

Tips to help read/write learners

  1. Encourage the child to write plenty of notes in their own language and study from them.
  2. Provide well organized written material.
  3. Assign plenty of writing exercise.
  4. Set up quite study area with few or no destructions.
  5. Provide a dictionary and other resources material.

Kinesthetic learning style

  • People with kinesthetic learning style learn best by doing, moving around and handling physical objects.
  • They like to explore outdoors and prefer trying new skills for themselves, are very often coordinated and may excel in athletics.
  • They may find hard to sit still for long periods of time and may struggle with reading and spelling.
  • They learn differently.

Teaching tips for kinesthetic learners :

  1. Give breaks frequently.
  2. Let the child try first before you give detailed instructions.
  3. Provide plenty of hands-on learning tools such as science experiments, abacus, medaling day, crayons etc.
  4. Use outdoors for learning opportunities.
  5. Teach educational concepts through games and projects.
  6. Encourage physical movement while studying.

How can you determine a child’s learning style

The best way to learn about our child’s learning style is to observe what he or she is doing. Actions, interests, and preferences of child will give information about how the process information.
For a child with developmental delays or special needs, try to focus on the strengths and activities of the child. Identifying the strengths of child can increase a child’s motivation for learning.

You can speak with family members of the child. You can help develop an inventory of toys, objects, and activities that helpful for that child.

Teaching strategies for different learning styles

Teachers have a strong influence on children. Understanding how a child learns can improve the ability of teacher teach them. Early childhood programs are often organized in a way that supports the range of children’s strength and needs. You can seek out real-world experiences that extend the child’s learning.

Honey and Mumford’s learning styles

This learning style is developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford.

They identified four distinct learning styles:-

  1. Activist
  2. Theorist
  3. Pragmatist
  4. Reflector

Characteristics of these learning styles:-

(1) Activist :

Activists are these people who learn by doing. Such learners have an open-minded approach to learning. They involve themselves fully and do naot have bias in new experiences.

(2) Theorist:-

These learners like to understand the theory behind the actions. They need models, concepts, and facts in order to engage the learning process. They prefer to analyze and synthesize the information.

(3) Pragmatist:-

These are the people who act in a practical or straight forward manner. These people need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice in real world. They want to put ideas into action in their lives.

(4) Reflector:-

These people learn by observing and thinking about what happened. Reflectors are thoughtful people. They are the ones who like to consider all possibilities and implications before making a decision. They prefer to take a back seat in meetings and discussions. They enjoy observing other people in action. They are good listeners in general.

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