How To Teach With Style - Defining Students\\\' Learning Styles
Dec 9, 2011 Learning Methodology 2926 Views
We all have different methods of processing and retaining information (the latter seems to become harder with every passing year) and they generally fall into three categories - auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Most learners have a dominant learning style. I believe the core strategy to successfully assisting learners to achieve their goals is offering a multi-style approach in every learning situation. Before you can put this into practice, have your students understand their preferred learning style. Helping learners to understand how they learn best gives them learning ammunition, that is, they can develop and implement strategies that support their learning style e.g. use art projects to create representations of the content they are learning or apply what they are learning to hands-on models or in-practice examples (Cited: Edutopia).
Establishing Learning Styles
How do you establish the preferred learning style for each student in your class? I've used the following questionnaires/quizzes, in conjunction with information from the learner, to ascertain each learner's preferred mode.
- VARK - A Guide To Learning Styles
You have a variety of questionnaire choices e.g. adult, youth and the adult questionnaire is available (printable version only) in a selection of different languages. Learners can complete these online or you can download the printable version. Learners who have a lower reading skill level will need assistance, as the language is geared to an independent reader. I have been able to implement this questionnaire with non-readers and attain appropriate outcomes for that learner. Both tutorial and peer assistance were used to gather the information. Depending on the learner's background, you may need to explain some situations and terms that are mentioned in the questions / statements.
- MEMLETICS - Learning Style Questionnaire
Prior to commencing this online questionnaire, I suggest you review the Overview Of Learning Styles with your students. The learning styles are broken down into seven groups and offer broader categories than other questionnaires I've trialled. There are 70 questions to complete and each statement requires the respondent to place a 0 (the statement is nothing like me), 1 (the statement is partially like me) or 2 (the statement is very like me) beside each statement. Again, some learners may require assistance with the language, but it is a very user-friendly questionnaire. I have also used the questionnaire recording system for numeracy activities e.g. finding the mean/average, writing response totals as fractions and percentages of total responses, developing a graph and totalling scores.
- Edutopia's - What your Learning Style Quiz
If you're only wanting to spend minimal time on this exercise, then this is the quiz for you. It will only take 5 - 10 minutes to complete online. The responses are listed on a continuum and range from NONE to ALL THE TIME. The results are presented in a graphical format that also includes percentages. There is a significant difference between this and other quizzes because they break the learning styles into the following groupings - Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic and Naturalistic.One great aspect of this quiz is the Tips For The Way You Learn section that you can access once the quiz is completed. I found this a refreshing way to look at my learning style and ways to utilise my skills.
Once learners have established their preferred learning style, I always discuss how this knowledge can assist them with their learning. Edutopia comes into its own with the tips they offer to assist learners. Now that you are also aware of the predominant styles throughout the group / class, you can develop or source tasks and learning activities that are appropriate for all students.