Archive for the ‘Learning Styles’ Category

Helping Students Understand the Benefits of Study Groups

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Would your students benefit from participation in a study group? Are you too busy to organize and supervise study groups for students in your courses? I’m guessing the answer to both questions is yes. If so, here are some ways teachers can encourage and support student efforts to study together without being “in charge” of the study groups.

Promote study groups – First, include a list of reasons why students should join study groups in the syllabus or on the course website. Maybe there’s a short podcast available in which you talk about the usefulness of study groups. Better yet, if you’ve got some students who studied together in a previous course, ask them to make some comments about their experiences. Second, talk regularly in class about study groups. You can repeat all the benefits, suggest activities that involve good group study strategies, or propose some things they could study together (like problems they could solve, questions they could discuss). You also can solicit feedback from study groups in class or mention content you discussed with a group during office hours.

Make study groups an option – Encourage students to organize their own groups, but offer to help with the process. Nudge them with reminders, such as “Send me an email if you’re interested in being part of a study group.” Have study groups “register” their members, and then report on meeting times and activities. Suggest study activities for the group (ideas like those offered in the next item). Invite the group to meet with you during office hours or to send questions electronically. Offer registered study groups that report regular meetings a bonus point incentive depending on the average of their individual test grades. Let all students know that joining a study group is an option throughout the course.


Read more @

Challenging the Notion of Learning Styles

Monday, March 19th, 2012

You should know that evidence supporting learning styles is being challenged. Find below the reference for a research article authored by a respected collection of educational researchers that disputes the fundamental assumption that students with a designated learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, for example) learn more when the instructional methods match their style. Also referenced is a brief, nontechnical article authored by Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham, who begin their piece with this nonequivocating statement, “There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist.” (p. 33)

They do go on to point out that there are claims inherent in the notion of learning styles that are supported by the research. The learning style theorists do have this correct: “Learners are different from each other, these differences affect their performance, and teachers should take these differences into account.” (p. 33)

Riener and Willingham identify four areas of difference that exist between learners. First, learners vary in their ability to learn certain kinds of content. We may call this talent, ability, or intelligence, but we have all seen those students who master the material easily and others who struggle with it mightily. Second, and not entirely disconnected from the first, students have different interests. Some love music, others like to solve problems, and still others find their passion in sports. These interests motivate their involvement in and commitment to learning. Third, students bring to any learning task different kinds and levels of background knowledge, and what they bring influences their learning. If a student doesn’t bring basic math skills to a college calculus course, success in that course is highly unlikely. And finally, some students have specific learning disabilities (dyslexia, for example) that directly influence how they learn. Clearly, not all learners are the same.

However, proponents of learning styles go further. They believe that “learners have preferences about how to learn that are independent of both ability and content and have meaningful implications for their learning.” (p. 34) One learning style is not assumed to be better than others, but is rather preferred by the learner. “However, when these tendencies are put to the test under controlled conditions, they make no difference—learning is equivalent whether students learn in the preferred mode or not.” (p. 34) So, what learning style proponents have long advocated—matching the mode of instruction to the preferred learning style—is not supported by research. The review of research articles identifies the problems with much of the research that has been used to support the need for teachers to accommodate learning style differences.

by Maryellen Welmer, PhD.

Read more @

Use Affirmations and Visualization to Become a Better Student

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

If you are a high school student or a university student who is studying and facing exams, you already know that you will benefit from learning better studying techniques and better note-taking methods. What you may not know is that an important part of being a good learner is to feel very confident about your learning ability.

Why is it important to have good confidence in our ability to learn?

When you don’t have a good confidence in your learning ability, you will approach learning situations and exams in a state of nervousness and anxiety. A lack of confidence in your learning ability will actually interfere with you ability to study effectively, and it will interfere with your ability to remember what you have learned.

Being completely confident and happy about your learning ability will lessen your anxiety. Confidence in yourself will improve your learning performance and improve your memory of what you have studied.

How can you tell whether or not you lack confidence in yourself as a learner?

If you lack confidence about your learning ability, you probably already know it because you become very tense and nervous about facing exams.

When you are in a learning situation, pay attention to the sorts of thoughts that frequently go through your mind. What messages are you telling yourself? Spend several days becoming aware of the way you talk to yourself internally. Write down the thoughts that pass through your mind so that you can review them.

Are your statements about yourself mostly positive or mostly negative? Do your thoughts reflect confidence in your own abilities? Or are you constantly yelling at yourself for your mistakes and shortcomings? Are you calling yourself stupid, lazy, or unsuccessful?

If your statements to yourself about your learning ability are mostly negative, you may think that yelling at yourself will make you try harder and improve your performance. Actually, this negative self talk will increase your anxiety and will interfere with your ability to learn effectively.

Take some time to watch very young children learn. During the first few years of life, humans learn a huge amount of information at a much quicker rate than they will ever learn again. When very young children learn, they do so in an attitude of joy and exploration. They don’t criticize themselves for being bad learners.

Even as adults, we do our best learning in an atmosphere of fun and exploration. We learn better when we think learning is fun. We don’t learn as well when we tell ourselves that we are stupid.

If your negative opinion of yourself is holding you back, how do you go about changing it? Two very effective techniques that can help you change your self-image are affirmations and visualization.

Instead of focusing on your current negative self-assessments, focus instead on the kind of person you would like to be. What personal qualities do you want to have?

Write down a description of how you would like to be and how you would like to perceive yourself. Write out some simple phrases that express your desired qualities as something that you have right now.

Spend time creating images of yourself learning easily, and let the feelings of confidence fill you up. Revisit these positive images frequently. See yourself succeeding in your exams, and feel the sensations you would feel as you get a very good mark.

Using visualizations and affirmations correctly can go a long way to improve your confidence in your ability to learn, and when you are more confident about your learning ability, you will actually learn better.

by Royane Real.

Read more @

How Emotions and Feelings Shape Learning

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Body, thought, and emotion are intimately blended through complex nerve networks, and function together to shape our awareness. Emotions interpret, arrange, direct, and summarize information received through the five senses. They color our perception of the world, and we often react unconsciously to them. They are primary and universal survival tools that enable and allow us to experience joy, surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, or threat. Since emotions are linked to survival, they receive neurological message priority. This article will give insight into just how our feelings and emotions impact the quality of our learning.

Are emotions and feelings the same thing? NO, they are not. Emotions are linked to survival, and feelings are not. Furthermore, feelings are context-specific responses shaped by the environment, culture, and society. Emotions can be measured through variations in blood pressure, heart rate variability, brain-imaging techniques, and electro-dermal response. Feelings are difficult to measure. Some examples of feelings are frustration, anticipation, jealousy, cynicism, worry, and optimism. In the present context, I have reason for being particular about this distinction, though most people lump these together for convenience.

Traumatic events and enduring stress can take a toll on a person’s physical and psychological health. The memory and accompanying negative emotions of a stressful incident or condition, at any point in life, can lay dormant for many years. When triggered by some later stressful event, they can evoke negative beliefs, desires, fantasies, compulsions, obsessions, addictions, or dissociations. This toxic brew can inhibit learning and memory, and generally fracture human wholeness. Unless the person feels emotionally secure, it is almost impossible for the “thinking” parts of the brain (neo-cortex and frontal lobes) to function effectively.

All living things are created with built-in defense mechanisms. The human version is a fight-or-flight reaction to perceived threats. Stressors, whether sudden and unexpected or consistent and ongoing, trigger this natural effect.

Most people are unaware of the common causes of stress and its long-term effects. Stress is cumulative, and the effects of even moderate stress are dissipated only after a period of twelve to eighteen months. Low-level consistent stress keeps the body in a constant fight-or-flight stance. This means that the mind-body is not able to operate at maximum efficiency. In order to maintain this steady defense mode, energy is diverted away from both the immune system and the brain. Stress and constant fear, at any age, create a chemical imbalance, which can confuse the brain’s normal circuits.

A person’s physical and emotional well-being is closely linked to the ability to effectively act, think, and learn. Long-term exposure to threat, conflict, or humiliation will damage self-esteem and may result in a condition known as learned helplessness. This chronic defensive posture is characterized by a vortex of negative emotions, self-limiting beliefs, apathy, anxiety, fear, mistrust, immature coping behaviors, and a diminished interest and ability to process information. This state is context-specific and can be triggered over and over by contact with a certain teacher, peer, subject, building, or memory.

An unusual physiological effect occurs during emotionally-stressful conditions. As a reflex response to a threat, the eyes move peripherally so that they can monitor a greater field of vision. This makes it virtually impossible for the eyes to track across a page of writing. Enduring stress will strengthen the muscles of the outer eye, making central focus and tracking a permanent problem. A condition of traumatized children is called “wall-eye” where both eyes are locked in a sustained distrustful peripheral focus. This condition can be overcome through whole-brain integration exercises.

Emotion is literally energy in motion. Behavior, whether desirable or not, is often a manifestation of our emotions. And since the mind-body is one system, emotion also affects physiology.

by Brian Walsh.

Read more @

Knowledge Visualization

Monday, January 9th, 2012
Knowledge Visualization is a familiar aspect. Knowledge Visualization can be defined as representation of any product which can be seen and observed. Knowledge Visualization is a very simple form of learning. It is not necessary that this form of Learning is available on print but in today’s competitive world many sources like on electronic learning etc… have brought up different forms of learning.

It is been observed that brain remembers and grasp at rapid rate when the particular concept has been taken place live, when the eyes had witnessed the particular concept. There are various means to present Knowledge Visualization. Presenting information through sources like Sketches, Diagrams, Images and also pictorial information on computer is the perfect outline of Knowledge Visualization.

When there is Visual Communication it makes it easy to grasp the concept, which shows the perfect identification of the concept and also it becomes easy to share or discuss about the particular concept. Knowledge Visualization is most useful for the Sketchers, Architects and especially for the Urban Planners. One more important aspect of Visualization is that it catches attention, also inspires and also gives away a message through it. Knowledge Visualization improves the memorizing skill of brain by recalling it soon. Knowledge Visualization main source is to get some pictorial thing which gives a clear idea and information about the product.

For Knowledge Visualization below listed are the main objectives which complete the course.

  • Outline
  • Diagram
  • Object
  • Interactive Visualizations

There should be proper graphics presented when one has to use Knowledge Visualization as a learning mode. Knowledge Visualization lacks one factor that is; it does not provide the detailed information about the product. For Instance: If the learner wants information on micro organism, Learner may get the image related to it but he may not be able to visualize the actual function of the organism. It has been seen that many Learners prefer to gain information or Knowledge by Visualization.

by Dinoo Nayal

Read more @

5 Tips For How You Can Learn More

Monday, October 31st, 2011

There are a number of reasons why we should be lifelong learners. Continuing education reaps us professional, personal and health benefits that are too numerous to list. However if you do not want to enter another classroom as long as you live then take heart as there are other ways you can be a lifelong learner. Here are five tips for ways to continue your education.

1. First and foremost is to read. Read for fun and pleasure but also read for information and research. You do not have to fear taking on heavy, dusty tomes filled with multi-syllabic boring language. There is a whole industry of writers who make history and science fun. In fact, you do not even need to read books at all. There are a lot of informative magazines that offer both general and specific information. Check them out at a large book store or your local library before selecting a few to take home. Do not overlook the wealth of information available to you on the internet. There are site and publications devoted to just about any topic you can imagine. Start with a main news site and then begin sifting and searching to find topics that interest you. The best thing about this kind of reading is that you get to pick it — not a teacher with an agenda you don’t understand.

2. Listening is an often overlooked skill when it comes to learning today. Sure listening in the classroom is important but there are people all around us who have a wealth of knowledge to share if we are only willing to listen. Open your ears and your mind. You might be surprised at what you can learn.

3. You can also learn by simply observing the life around us. What can you learn about parenting by watching the families around you? You can learn not only what to do but what not to do. What can you learn about financial planning, relationships, and just about everything else you want to know? You can learn from the mistakes of others if you only take the time to be observant.

4. If you are looking for answers then ask questions. Ask questions of experts as well as information brokers, such as librarians and teachers. You should also ask questions of people like you because they can share their experiences and knowledge.

5. Finally, the most important part of becoming a lifelong learner is simply pursuing knowledge whether it is for a specific purpose or simply knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It is not important what you decide to study and learn more about and you can change topics as often as you change your shoes if you like. The important thing is to continue opening your mind and filling your brain.

by Dee Mascle.

Read more @

Gender Differences in Learning Style

Friday, October 28th, 2011

There are gender differences in learning styles specific to science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) that teachers of these subjects should keep in mind when developing lesson plans and teaching in the classroom. First, overall, girls have much less experience in the hands-on application of learning principles in lab settings than boys. This could occur in the computer lab, the science lab, or the auto lab – the principle is the same for all of these settings – it requires an overall technology problem-solving schema, accompanied by use and manipulation of tools, and spatial relation skills that very few girls bring with them to the classroom on day one in comparison to boys.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why girls come to the STEM classroom with less of the core skills needed for success in this subject area. Overall, girls and boys play with different kinds of games in early childhood that provide different types of learning experiences. Most girls play games that emphasize relationships (i.e., playing house, playing with dolls) or creativity (i.e., drawing, painting). In contrast, boys play computer and video games or games that emphasize building (i.e., LEGO®), both of which develop problem-solving, spatial-relationship and hands-on skills.

A study of gender differences in spatial relations skills of engineering students in the U.S. and Brazil found that there was a large disparity between the skills of female and male students. These studies attributed female student’s lesser skills set to two statistically significant factors: 1) less experience playing with building toys and 2) having taken less drafting courses prior to the engineering program. Spatial relations skills are critical to engineering. A gender study of computer science majors at Carnegie-Mellon University (one of the preeminent computer science programs in the country) found that, overall, male students come equipped with much better computer skills than female students. This equips male students with a considerable advantage in the classroom and could impact the confidence of female students.

Are these gender differences nature or nurture? There is considerable evidence that they are nurture. Studies show that most leading computer and video games appeal to male interests and have predominantly male characters and themes, thus it is not surprising that girls are much less interested in playing them. A study of computer games by Children Now found that 17% of the games have female characters and of these, 50% are either props, they tend to faint, have high-pitched voices, and are highly sexualized.

There are a number of studies that suggest that when girls and women are provided with the building blocks they need to succeed in STEM they will do as well if not better than their male counterparts. An Introductory Engineering Robotics class found that while males did somewhat better on the pre-test than females, females did as well as the males on the post-test following the class’s completion.

Another critical area of gender difference that teachers of STEM should keep in mind has less to do with actual skills and experience and more to do with perceptions and confidence. For females, confidence is a predictor of success in the STEM classroom. They are much less likely to retain interest if they feel they are incapable of mastering the material. Unfortunately, two factors work against female confidence level: 1) most girls will actually have less experience with STEM course content than their male counterparts and 2) males tend to overplay their accomplishments while females minimize their own. A study done of Carnegie Mellon Computer Science PhD students found that even when male and female students were doing equally well grade wise, female students reported feeling less comfortable. Fifty-three percent of males rated themselves as “highly prepared” in contrast to 0% of females.

It is important to note that many of the learning style differences described above are not strictly gender-based. They are instead based on differences of students with a background in STEM, problem-solving, and hands-on skills learned from childhood play and life experience and those who haven’t had the same type of exposure. A review of the literature on minority students and STEM finds that students of color are less likely to have the STEM background experiences and thus are missing many of the same STEM building blocks as girls and have the same lack of confidence. Many of the STEM curriculum and pedagogy solutions that work for female students will also work for students of color for this reason.

Bridge Classes/Modules to Ensure Core Skills

Teachers will likely see a gap in the core STEM skills of female and minority students for the reasons described above. Below are some solutions applied elsewhere to ensure that girls and women (and students of color) will get the building block STEM skills that many will be missing.

Teachers in the Cisco Academy Gender Initiative study assessed the skill levels of each of their students and then provided them with individualized lesson plans to ensure their success that ran parallel to the class assignments. Other teachers taught key skills not included in the curriculum at the beginning of the course, such as calculating math integers and tool identification and use. Students were provided with additional lab time, staffed by a female teaching assistant, knowing that the female students would disproportionately benefit from additional hands-on experience.

Carnegie-Mellon University came to view their curriculum as a continuum, with students entering at different points based on their background and experience. Carnegie-Mellon’s new frame of a “continuum” is purposefully different than the traditional negative model in which classes start with a high bar that necessitates “remedial” tutoring for students with less experience, stigmatizing them and undermining their confidence. Below is a list of ideas and suggestions that will help ALL students to succeed in the STEM classroom.

1. Building Confidence

How do teachers build confidence in female students who often have less experience than their male counterparts and perceive they are behind even when they are not?

1) Practice-based experience and research has shown that ensuring female students have the opportunity to gain experience with STEM, in a supportive environment, will increase their confidence level.

2) Bringing in female role models that have been successful in the STEM field is another important parallel strategy that should be used to assist your female students in seeing themselves as capable of mastering STEM classes: if she could do it, then I can too!

3) Consistent positive reinforcement by STEM teachers of their female students, with a positive expectation of outcome, will assist them in hanging in there during those difficult beginning weeks when they have not yet developed a technology schema or hands-on proficiency and everything they undertake seems like a huge challenge.

2. Appealing to Female Interests

Many of the typical STEM activities for the classroom appeal to male interests and turn off girls. For example, curriculum in robots often involves monsters that explode or cars that go fast. “Roboeducators” observed that robots involved in performance art or are characterized as animals are more appealing to girls. Engineering activities can be about how a hair dryer works or designing a playground for those with disabilities as well as about building bridges. Teachers should consider using all types of examples when they are teaching and incorporating activities in efforts to appeal female and male interests. Teachers can also direct students to come up with their own projects as a way of ensuring girls can work in an area of significance to them.

Research also shows that there are Mars/Venus differences between the genders and how each engages in technology. Overall, girls and women are excited by how the technology will be used – its application and context. Men will discuss how big the hard drive or engine is, how fast the processor runs, and debate the merits of one motherboard or engine versus another. These are topics that are, overall, of less interest to most females.

The Carnegie-Mellon Study took into account the differences of what engages female students and modified the Computer Science programs’ curriculum so that the context for the program was taught much earlier on in the semester and moved some of the more technical aspects of the curriculum (such as coding) to later in the semester. Authors observed that the female students were much more positive about getting through the tedious coding classes when they understood the purpose of it. Teachers should ensure that the context for the technology they are teaching is addressed early on in the semester by using real world stories and case studies to capture the interest of all of their students.

3. Group Dynamics in the Classroom

Research studies by American Association of University Women and Children Now have found that most females prefer collaboration and not competition in the classroom. Conversely, most males greatly enjoy competition as a method of learning and play. Many hands-on activities in technology classes are set up as competitions. Robotics for example, regularly uses competitiveness as a methodology of teaching. Teachers should
be cognizant of the preference of many girls for collaborative work and should add-in these types of exercises to their classes. Some ways to do this are by having students work in assigned pairs or teams and having a team grade as well as an individual grade. (See Reading 2 on Cooperative Learning.)

Another Mars/Venus dynamic that STEM teachers should be aware of occurs in the lab there male students will usually dominate the equipment and females will take notes or simply watch. Overall, male students have more experience and thus confidence with hands-on lab equipment than their female counterparts. Teachers should create situations to ensure that their female students are spending an equal amount of time in hands-on activities. Some approaches have been: 1) to pair the female students only with each other during labs in the beginning of the class semester so that they get the hands-on time and their confidence increases, putting them in a better position to work effectively with the male students later on, 2) allot a specific time for each student in pair to use the lab equipment and announce when it’s time to switch and monitor this, and 3) provide feedback to male students who are taking over by letting them know that their partner needs to do the activity as well.

4. Moving Female Students from Passive Learners to Proactive Problem Solvers

The main skill in STEM is problem solving in hands-on lab situations. For reasons already discussed regarding a lack of experience, most girls don’t come to STEM classes with these problem-solving skills. Instead, girls often want to be shown how to do things, repeatedly, rather than experimenting in a lab setting to get to the answer. Adding to this issue, many girls fear that they will break the equipment. In contrast, male students will often jump in and manipulate the equipment before being given any instructions by their teacher. Teachers can address this by such activities as: 1) having them take apart old equipment and put it together again, 2) creating “scavenger hunt” exercises that force them to navigate through menus, and 3) emphasizing that they are learning the problem solving process and that this is equally important to learning the content of the lesson and insisting that they figure out hands-on exercises on their own.

Research has also shown that females tend to engage in STEM activities in a rote, smaller picture way while males use higher order thinking skills to understand the bigger picture and the relationship between the parts. Again, moving female students (and the non-techsavvy student in general) to become problem solvers (versus just understanding the content piece of the STEM puzzle) will move them to use higher order thinking skills in STEM.

by Donny Milgram.

Read more @

How to Memorize Formulas Quickly

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Hazed out when you see those equations on paper? It is time to put your mind to test and solve those equations and math problems, but all that you remember is a floating palate of formulas. You just don’t seem to get the exact equation. But this is normal (unless you are among those deliberately avoiding math!). For some, a sharp mind and concrete memory comes as a blessing. Some have to develop this capacity in them. With a little will power, concentration and tricks, memorizing formulas will be fun. So math, physics and other geeky subjects will no longer require nights of mugging topped with tension, fear and anxiety! Learning and understanding formulas may be tough in the beginning, as each individual has his/her own rate of grasping things. Irrespective of your IQ and memorizing capacities, you should first remove all the fear that is stored as a tag line to these formulas. Sure the many signs and numbers can scare your mind at first, but once you get rid of the fear about them, learning will be more easy. The following segment of the article has simple tips and techniques that can help you with memorizing formulas easily.

Easy Ways to Memorize Formulas Quickly

We have some simple tricks, and among these a few may sound silly to some of you. But irrespective of their stupidity, they work. So no harm in giving them a try. Here we go…

  • Point number one, which most of us ignore. Pay attention when these formulas are being taught and discussed. This is the basic. The human brain is curious about anything new, so it is most likely if you try to understand the formula when it is being newly taught, it is going to stay in the mind easily.
  • A traditional way of how to memorize formulas is to repeat and read the formula over and over again, till it gets fixed in your mind. Writing down the formula many times also helps to remember it. So read or write the formula till it is concrete in your brain.
  • Understand the formation of the units, equations or signs in the formula. If you observe and analyze by dividing it in sets as the formula progresses to the answer, you will be able to understand the formula deeply, and not just remember it by mugging.
  • Relate the formula with something that you can easily remember. For example even in complex and long formulas, where you have to parrot the formula, you can use this trick. Associate the numbers, operands, and variables to certain elements, that are non mathematical. Like the alphabets can stand as names of flowers, animals, food, and toys. In fact anything that you can easily remember.
  • Then once you name each of the units in the formula, visualize a short story, the way the formula progresses. Once you segment the formula well in a story, put it back slowly understanding what came after which sign or alphabet. This may sound funny, but it works.
  • Mentally scribble the formula in your head. Close your eyes and visualize a blank platform. Keeping the eyes closed, try to visualize writing the formula in this blank space in your mind. As if you are writing with your memory.
  • A simple option is to see the formulas whenever and wherever possible. Make small notes, post it or write it down on paper and stick this on the fridge, the table, your room, next to anything that you are most likely to see the whole day.
  • Never memorize formulas at one glance and sleep at night, thinking it will seep into the brain. You cannot skip repeating the formula to learn it. Unless you have super powers or are a super genius, one look at the formula cannot help you remember it.
  • Pick up the key units or alphabets in the formula, and then start filling them in between. This may get confusing in the beginning. But once you locate the key, you can unlock the rest of the formula easily.
  • Learn the formula in a specific pattern. It can be a specific rhyme or tune that you can learn it in. This will help the brain collect it the way it is, as soon as you start recalling it in the same tune or rhyme. You can also learn it in the form of a game or math riddles and puzzles.
  • Always keep your tummy well fed before you sit down to study. Hunger and thirst is a big distraction to the brain. (**do not fill your tummy to the extent that you fall asleep**).
  • Keep a positive attitude and mindset. Relax yourself and take a deep breath. Convince yourself that this is not impossible and you can do it.

These were some simple and basic techniques to memorize formulas.

by Dhanashree Patane.

Read more @

Learning Styles

Monday, September 5th, 2011

How do you learn best? Have you ever thought that you might be more
effective in your classes if you fully understood the methods for
learning and studying that work best for your learning style? This
section is designed to allow you to assess your learning style and
provide some ideas for strategies that will help you to be more
effective in the classroom. Remember, we all learn in different ways
but everyone can learn effectively.

Assessing Your Learning Style

The first step in the process is to assess your learning style. Please take
one of the following inventories. These inventories are meant to give
you valuable feedback about your learning style but should not be
considered diagnostic or predictive.

After the assessment be sure to look at the helpsheets associated with each learning modality. You will find lots of helpful study and test taking tips.

Learning Style Strategies.

Once you have completed one of the inventories (or both!), you’ll have an
indication of your learning style preferences. Though most of us are
able to learn in all of the modes, we tend to have preferences for
certain styles. The following information may then be helpful as you
work to modify how you study, prepare for exams, read your assignments
or take notes during lectures in relation to your preferred learning


  • Organize work and living space to avoid distractions.
  • Sit in the front of the room to avoid distraction and away from doors
    or windows where action takes place. Sit away from wall maps or
    bulletin boards.
  • Use neatly organized or typed material.
  • Use visual association, visual imagery, written repetition, flash cards, and clustering strategies for improved memory.
  • Reconstruct images in different ways – try different spatial arrangements and take advantage of blank spaces on the page.
  • Use note pads, Post-Its, to-do lists, and other forms of reminders.
  • Use
    organizational format outlining for recording notes. Use underlining,
    highlighting in different colors, symbols, flow charts, graphs or
    pictures in your notes.
  • Practice turning visual cues back into words as you prepare for exams.
  • Allow sufficient time for planning and recording thoughts when doing problem-solving tasks.
  • Use test preparation strategies that emphasize organization of information and visual encoding and recall.
  • Participate actively in class or group activities.
  • Develop written or pictorial outlines of responses before answering essay questions.


  • Work in quiet areas to reduce distractions, avoiding areas with conversation, music, and television.
  • Sit away from doors or windows where noises may enter the classroom.
  • Rehearse information orally.
  • Attend lectures and tutorials regularly.
  • Discuss topics with other students, professors and GTAs. Ask others to hear your understanding of the material.
  • Use mnemonics, rhymes, jingles, and auditory repetition through tape recording to improve memory.
  • Practice verbal interaction to improve motivation and self-monitoring.
  • Use tape recorders to document lectures and for reading materials.
  • Remember to examine illustrations in textbooks and convert them into verbal descriptions.
  • Read
    the directions for tests or assignments aloud, or have someone read
    them to you, especially if the directions are long and complicated.
  • Remind yourself to review details.
  • Use time managers and translate written appointment reminders into verbal cues.
  • Use verbal brainstorming and tape recording writing and proofing.
  • Leave
    spaces in your lecture notes for later recall and ‘filing’. Expand your
    notes by talking with others and collecting notes from the textbook.
  • Read your notes aloud.
  • Practice writing your answers using old exams and speak your answers.


  • Use a combination of handouts, textbook and lecture notes when studying.
  • Rewrite the ideas and principles into other words.
  • Make lists and organize them into categories and sections.
  • Turn charts and flows into words.
  • Seek to explain pictures and examples in words.
  • Seek out professors who use words well and provide lots of information in their lectures.
  • Read and write your notes again and again.
  • Organize diagrams and graphs into statements.
  • Imagine your lists arranged as multiple choice questions and distinguish one from the other.
  • Make use of extra information recommended by instructors such as manuals, dictionaries, and glossaries.


  • Keep verbal discourse short and to the point.
  • Actively participate in discussions.
  • Use all of your senses – sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing.
  • Use direct involvement, physical manipulation, imagery, and “hands on” activities to improve motivation, interest, and memory.
  • Organize information into the steps that were used to physically complete a task.
  • Seek out courses that have laboratories, field trips, etc. and lecturers who give real life examples.
  • Use case studies and applications (example) to help with principles and abstract concepts.
  • Allow for physical action in solving problems.
  • Read
    or summarize directions, especially if they are lengthy and
    complicated, to discourage starting a task without instructions.
  • Use taped reading materials.
  • Use practice, play acting, and modeling to prepare for tests.
  • Allow for physical movement and periodic breaks during tests, while reading, or while composing written assignments.
  • Role play the exam situation.
  • Teach the material to someone else.
  • Write practice answers, paragraphs or essays.

Learning Styles strategies from Student Success Center, Purdue University North Central and Muskingum College Center for Advancement of Learning.

Read more @

Implications of Silence for Educators in the Multicultural Classroom

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

There are a number of ways of dealing with silent students in multicultural classroom setting. For instructors of international students, it is important to note cross cultural perspectives in course readings and grading the classroom discussion. Because of lack of language proficiency or being unfamiliar with the American classroom culture, some students from other countries feel stressed and frustrated. To bridge this gap of international students, instructors could adopt strategies such as e-mailing study questions beforehand, giving clear directions and asking specific questions or summarizing important points of the discussions (Tatar, 2005).

Brookfield (2006) suggested teacher should research what students know, speak and experience as a part of understanding the classroom so that the lessons would be inclusive for both native and foreign students.

In a traditional classroom, a teacher speaks more than his or her students. Sometimes, instructors should be silent and observe how it affects students or encourage speaking up. The balance of the class would be when both domestic students and international students get an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and perspectives as a part of class discussion. A skillful teacher always allows enough time to her/his students to respond instead of expecting immediate responses to every question. Svinivki and McKeachie (2011) recommended a silence for 5 to 30 seconds for better outcomes in discussion. Instructors are expected to know the significance of cultural values and meanings in foreign cultures. Sometimes no eye contact or being silent does not necessary mean non participation.

The U.S. students would benefit from the active participation of foreign students in the class. As they understand diverse social, cultural and linguistic experiences and perceptions of foreign students, the U.S. students should encourage and let foreign students speak in the class.

Instead of being bound with home culture and educational experiences, international students also should look for ways to familiarize themselves with the host culture. Since their main goal of overseas study is to earn a foreign education, they should expose themselves to various social norms, cultures, and beliefs in the U.S. They should speak up in the class discussion because their voices and experiences are required as much as their American counterparts.

by Krishna Bista.

Read more @