Archive for the ‘Learning Styles’ Category

A First-Person Explanation of Why Some International Students Are Silent in the U.S. Classroom

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Recently, in a class discussion, my professor let the students speak on the issue of silence. Many students in that class were either K-12 school or college teachers. They shared their experiences and perceptions of silent students — both native and non-native speakers of English. Some of my classmates were not familiar with the culture of silence in foreign countries. Personally, this class reminded me of my own experience of understanding the U.S. classroom experience a few years ago.

In this article, I have explored the nature of silence from my personal experience as an international student among American and non-American peers in the United States. I explain my experiences across five broad categories.

1. A Self-Reported or Analyzed Silence in Classroom. In my first semester, I was nervous in class discussions although my level of English was fairly good. I perspired a lot and lost my train of thoughts while speaking. My English sounded awkward and the class and the professor did not understand my accented English. I did not join class discussion out of fear that I would be unable to deal with the possible conflicts or misunderstandings. My self-esteem was low and I felt a sense of incompetence being in a graduate class.

In my experience, the communicative language is a barrier for many non-native English speaking students. Those who have a lower level of English proficiency faced problems in class participation which naturally forced them to be silent in the class. Previous research suggests that learners feared appearing foolish by making mistakes such as simple errors in grammar or pronunciation imperfections (Harumi, 2010; Tatar, 2008; Nakane, 2005).

2. Lack of Understanding of Academic Culture. Growing up in chalk and duster classrooms, I mostly depended on teachers’ lectures for course materials and preparation for the finals. The Nepalese classroom, especially in rural districts, did not have basic teaching aids such as computers, televisions or copiers. Class attendance or course assignments were not the norms in the university system. Coming from that background to the American classroom, I was as lost as a crow in the mist. I was not taught how to participate in the American classroom. In Nepal, students are expected to be quiet in the classroom. I was required to ask permission upon entering and I was not allowed to answer a question without standing. I grew up being loyal and respectful to elders, teachers, and relatives. I did not know that being silent was a problem in the American classrooms.

3. Indigenous Knowledge Sharing/ Fear of Cultural Mistake.

by Krishna Bista.

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Become a More Successful Learner With These Tips

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

When you need to study something for school, or for an important presentation, do you ever feel as if you have difficulties in learning the material? Does the subject matter seem too boring to you, or much too difficult for you to learn?

You can actually learn to be a better learner. One of the first steps in improving your learning ability is to train your brain to enjoy learning. Tell yourself that you are able to learn, and that you love learning the topic.

When you keep telling yourself that a topic is too difficult to learn, your brain will give up trying to learn it very quickly. If you keep telling yourself that a topic is boring, your brain will quickly stop paying attention.

How can you overcome the problem of being bored or disinterested, or intimidated by your subject matter? Start giving your brain positive messages in place of negative messages.

From now on, instead of saying negative things to yourself about learning, give yourself positive messages about what a good learner you are. Instead of saying to yourself that the topic is boring and too hard to understand, tell yourself you find it really interesting. Tell yourself you already understand it very well. Tell yourself you love learning about it.

You’ll be a much better learner if you can train yourself to be curious and confident.

You can train yourself to be interested in learning a difficult or boring subject. Simply pretend to yourself that you are very curious and excited about learning your topic. Feel this sensation intensely and do it many times a day. Tell yourself you already understand this topic and that you love to learn more about it.

Here’s another way to get your brain to pay more attention to what you are learning. This will help your brain to understand and remember the subject much better.

Find someone who is willing to be your student, even if it’s only for ten minutes, and try teaching the topic to them. Ask if they understood what you are saying. Keep trying to explain it as clearly as possible. This will send a signal to your brain that the subject is important to you.

When you are teaching something you want to learn, you have a chance to rephrase what you are learning in your own words. This creates more connections in your mind. In addition, by trying to teach the topic to another person, you will discover which aspects of the topic you understand thoroughly, and which areas you still need to work on.

Another way to improve your learning ability is to take breaks from studying more often.

Why would taking more breaks improve your ability to learn?

Even though a break may seem to interrupt your study time, when you sit down to start studying again, your brain will benefit from the change in activity. When you sit down again, you are more likely to remember the material you studied just before you took the break, and the material you studied when sat down again.

This can make your study time more efficient and effective.

You don’t need to take really long breaks from studying. For this technique to work, get up once an hour for five minutes and go get some exercise outside or do something different in another room.

That should be enough of a break so your brain can refresh and recharge.

If you have to learn a lot of complex, difficult material for a major presentation or an exam, give yourself plenty of study time to fully understand the material and review it a few times before you actually need to use it. Don’t leave everything until the last minute.

For the vast majority of people, trying to cram a lot of information into your brain the night before an exam or a presentation doesn’t work. Your brain needs to get a good night’s sleep so that it can put all your new knowledge into long term storage.

If you spend too much time cramming information into your brain the night before a big exam, and you don’t get enough sleep, your brain isn’t going to be able to understand or remember the material very well.

by Royane Real.

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Learning Through Memory

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Learning, in all its forms is educates man by providing him with knowledge and making him intellectually superior to utilize the acquired information aptly in the required situations. Be it an educated personal or an illiterate person, almost everyone undergoes this learning process in some way or the other. An educated person learns through certain theories, books and practical taught to him in his school, college or university while an uneducated person acquires the knowledge from the nature, either by observing his elders or by the surrounding. Both have different forms of knowledge, but hold similar importance for the livelihood.

Human Brain is made up of different forms of memories which enables in the learning process. Amongst which the long term memory is utilized for learning. This long term memory can be broadly classified into two forms declarative memory, which includes a memory which be willfully remembered when required and procedural memory which includes the memory unintentionally stored in our brain. Declarative memory deals with facts and events for instance an incident happened to you in the class or on the road while procedural memory which deals with the skills you acquired or learned for instance learning new language. Declarative memory is further classified into episodic memory which deals with personal experiences and semantic memory which deals with factual information.

Declarative memory can be simply described as a chunk of information that can be easily expressed through words. We tend to memorize our best friend’s telephone number as we call him numerous times a day; this is the form of declarative learning. Declarative learning enables the learning process which benefits education and results in personal development. Declarative Learning explores different horizons which are language based and results in analytical approach while procedural memory does not involve any language component but the applications can be performed unintentionally.

Learning process is a distribution of declarative learning and procedural learning. While you learn something, you utilize both the memories to comprehend the information delivered. When you are taught certain activities, you try to comprehend it with both the forms for instance when you are learning to drive a car, you try to understand the procedure through the instructor, you try to memorize the names of the different parts of the car like clutch, gear, etc, This is the learning form where declarative memory can be used. When you finally learn to drive the car, you can drive it even after certain years of gap without forgetting a single step; this is the learning form where procedural memory is used. Both the memories are complementary elements in the process of learning.

by Dinoo Nayal.

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Do Learning Styles Matter?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

There’s been a lot written about learning styles. More than 650 books published in the United States and Canada alone. Do a Google search on “learning styles” and you get over 2,000,000 results. Most people know if they’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, and instructors often try to design their courses to accommodate the different learning styles so as to ensure that each student’s strongest modality is represented in some fashion.

And yet, not only is it difficult and time-consuming to accurately identify and address the individual learning styles of an entire class, but there’s now a question of whether it’s really necessary.

In the recent online seminar Learning Styles: Fact and Folklore for eLearning, Les Howles, a senior e-learning consultant at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and Allan Jeong, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems at Florida State University, talked about the many misconceptions regarding learning styles. The two concluded that “based on several decades of empirical evidence, matching learning activities/strategies with specific learning styles does not often result in improved learning.”

That’s not to say that students don’t have different learning styles, preferences or traits, but when designing the components of an e-learning course, it’s more important to select a modality that is most suitable for the content and supports the learning goals, Howles says. Most students are multimodal and are able to learn in a variety of formats.

Active vs. Reflective Learners

While downplaying some of the intuitive appeal of learning styles, one area where Jeong has seen marked differences is in how active and reflective learners engage in online discussions. In analyzing message exchanges, he found that reflective learners produced significantly more responses than exchanges between active learners.

By requiring students to post a designated number of messages and to do so using one of four message tags, Jeong is able to use discussion boards in a way that plays to the strengths and preferences of both active and reflective learners. The tags also make it easy for instructors to assess discussion board participation and performance. The four post tags are:

  1. ARG – a message that presents an argument.
  2. EXPL – a reply/message that explains, supports or clarifies an argument.
  3. BUT – a reply/message that questions or challenges a previous argument or challenge.
  4. EVID – a reply/message that provides evidence to establish the validity of an argument or challenge.

Advice for Online Course Designers

Howles and Jeong offered the following advice for instructional designers:

  • Focus most on good instructional message design.
  • Select instructional methods and modalities appropriate for the content.
  • Focus on developing schemas not just communicating content.
  • Focus on what students do in the learning task.
  • Don’t discard learning styles entirely, but also focus on a variety of other individual learner differences such as prior knowledge and motivation.
  • Read learning styles research (abstracts).

by Mary Bart.

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Learning style Inventory

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

To gain a better understanding of yourself as a learner, you need to evaluate the way you prefer to learn or process information. By doing so, you will be able to develop strategies which will enhance your learning potential. The following evaluation is a short, quick way of assessing your learning style. No studies have validated this inventory. Its main benefit is to get you to think about yourself, to consider learning alternatives; not to rigidly classify you.

This 24 item survey is not timed. Answer each question as honestly as you can.

Instructions: Click on the appropriate button after each statement. After answering all questions, click on the Determine Style button below.

QUESTIONS Seldom Sometimes Often
1. Can remember more about a subject through the lecture method with information, explanations and discussion.
2. Prefer information to be presented the use of visual aids.
3. Like to write things down or to take notes for visual review.
4. Prefer to make posters, physical models, or actual practice and some activities in class.
5. Require explanations of diagrams, graphs, or visual directions.
6. Enjoy working with my hands or making things.
7. Am skillful with and enjoy developing and making graphs and charts.
8. Can tell if sounds match when presented with pairs of sounds.
9. Remember best by writing things down several times.
10. Can understand and follow directions on maps.
11. Do better at academic subjects by listening to lectures and tapes as opposed to reading a textbook.
12. Play with coins or keys in pockets.
13. Learn to spell better by repeating the words out loud than by writing the word on papers.
14. Can better understand a news article by reading about it in the paper than by listening to the radio.
15. Chew gum, smoke, or snack during studies.
16. Feel the best way to remember is to picture it in your head.
17. Learn spelling by tracing the letters with my fingers.
18. Would rather listen to a good lecture or speech than read about the same material in a textbook.
19. Am good at working and solving jigsaw puzzles and mazes.
20. Play with objects in hands during learning period.
21. Remember more by listening to the news on the radio rather than reading about it in the newspaper.
22. Obtain information on an interesting subject by reading relevant materials.
23. Feel very comfortable touching others, hugging, handshaking, etc.
24. Follow oral directions better than written ones.

About the three styles:

If you are an AUDITORY learner, you may wish to use tapes. Tape lectures to help you fill in the gaps in your notes. But do listen and take notes, reviewing notes frequently. Sit in the lecture hall or classroom where you can hear well. After you have read something, summarize it and recite it aloud.

If your are a VISUAL learner, then by all means be sure that you look at all study materials. Use charts, maps, filmstrips, notes and flashcards. Practice visualizing or picturing words/concepts in your head. Write out everything for frequent and quick visual review.

If you are a TACTILE learner, trace words as you are saying them. Facts that must be learned should be written several times. Keep a supply of scratch paper for this purpose. Taking and keeping lecture notes will be very important. Make study sheets.

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The art of finding your learning style

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Most students only begin to think about learning styles after realising they have been staring into space for a while not learning anything.

When this happens could be a good indication of what your learning style is. If you find your mind wandering during a lecture, you are probably not the kind of student who learns best by listening. If it happens during a PowerPoint presentation using lots of funky graphics, you may not be the kind of student who learns best by visualising. If it’s during a lab experiment, then you’re not the kinaesthetic kind. And if it happens in each of these situations, you’re probably not the kind of student who is going to get a degree.

It is therefore worth giving some thought to how you learn.

Auditory learners tend to pick up information most easily when they hear it or talk about it. It is therefore unwise for them to skip going to lectures, seminars, tutorials, the student bar and all those other places where people may be discussing useful information.

Of course, it’s unwise to avoid any of these things even if you are more of a visual learner. That’s because you may miss out on seeing the lecturer’s mannerisms and flipcharts, and won’t be able to recall essential facts by remembering where you were sitting in the room when you heard them.

And if you are the kind of learner who can’t sit still for long, attending classes will still help because, let’s face it, you’re not going to be spending much time swotting in a library. At least in a lecture you may discover a few case studies you can get your teeth into, or even have the chance to get actively involved, if only by putting your hand up to ask questions.

Then there’s making notes. Some students may prefer to use a tape recorder. Others will favour mindmaps and highlighter pens, while a few will want to reenact a seminar using a variety of voices and a few props.

Different approaches to revision also suit different types of learner. For some, endlessly copying and recopying their notes does the trick, while others prefer regular conversations over coffee about how difficult it is to get down to looking at notes. Others seem to thrive best on plenty of study breaks.

In fact, most people learn in a combination of ways so it is wise to experiment with different techniques and not to become fixed on a single method.

And remember, you should not spend so much time thinking about how you learn that you don’t have any time left for actually learning.

by Harriet Swain.

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How Your Learning Style Affects Your Use of Mnemonics

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The way in which people learn affects the sort of mnemonics they should consider using to store information.

The three main learning styles are:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinaesthetic

No-one uses one of the styles exclusively, and there is usually significant overlap in learning styles.

Visual Learners:

Visual learners relate most effectively to written information, notes, diagrams and pictures. Typically they will be unhappy with a presentation where they are unable to take detailed notes – to an extent information does not exist for a visual learner unless it has been seen written down. This is why some visual learners will take notes even when they have printed course notes on the desk in front of them. Visual learners will tend to be most effective in written communication, symbol manipulation etc.

Visual learners make up around 65% of the population.

Auditory Learners:

Auditory learners relate most effectively to the spoken word. They will tend to listen to a lecture, and then take notes afterwards, or rely on printed notes. Often information written down will have little meaning until it has been heard – it may help auditory learners to read written information out loud. Auditory learners may be sophisticated speakers, and may specialise effectively in subjects like law or politics.

Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population.

Kinaesthetic Learners:

Kinaesthetic Learners learn effectively through touch and movement and space, and learn skills by imitation and practice. Predominantly kinaesthetic learners can appear slow, in that information is normally not presented in a style that suits their learning methods.

Kinaesthetic learners make up around 5% of the population.

Memory Implications of Learning Styles:

Most literature on mnemonics assumes the visual approach to learning styles – mnemonics are recommended to be as visually appealing and memorable as possible. If you are an auditory or kinaesthetic learner you may find that this emphasis on imagery leads to ineffective recall. In this case, try adjusting the mnemonics to suit your learning style: if you are an auditory learner, use auditory cues to create your mnemonics. If you are a kinaesthetic learner, imagine performing actions or using tools as the basis of memory techniques.

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Learning Styles

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Learn Effectively by Understanding Your Learning Preferences:

Have you ever tried to learn something fairly simple, yet failed to grasp the key ideas? Or tried to teach people and found that some were overwhelmed or confused by something quite basic?

If so, you may have experienced a clash of learning styles: Your learning preferences and those of your instructor or audience may not have been aligned. When this occurs, not only is it frustrating for everyone, the communication process breaks down and learning fails.

Once you know your own natural learning preference, you can work on expanding the way you learn, so that you can learn in other ways, not just in your preferred style.

And, by understanding learning styles, you can learn to create an environment in which everyone can learn from you, not just those who use your preferred style.

Felder and Silverman’s Index of Learning Styles:

One of the most widely used models of learning styles is the Index of Learning Styles developed by Richard Felder and Linda Silverman in the late 1980s. According to this model (which Felder revised in 2002) there are four dimensions of learning styles. Think of these dimensions as a continuum with one learning preference on the far left and the other on the far right.

Figure 1: Learning Styles Index

Sensory Intuitive
Sensory learners prefer concrete, practical, and procedural information. They look for the facts. Intuitive learners prefer conceptual, innovative, and theoretical information. They look for the meaning.

Visual learners prefer graphs, pictures, and diagrams. They look for visual representations of information. Verbal learners prefer to hear or read information. They look for explanations with words.

Active learners prefer to manipulate objects, do physical experiments, and learn by trying. They enjoy working in groups to figure out problems. Reflective learners prefer to think things through, to evaluate options, and learn by analysis. They enjoy figuring out a problem on their own.
Sequential Global
Sequential learners prefer to have information presented linearly and in an orderly manner. They put together the details in order to understand the big picture emerges. Global learners prefer a holistic and systematic approach. They see the big picture first and then fill in the details.

Once you know where your preferences lie on each of these dimensions, you can begin to stretch beyond those preferences and develop a more balanced approach to learning. Not only will you improve your learning effectiveness, you will open yourself up to many different ways of perceiving the world.

Balance is key. You don’t want to get too far on any one side of the learning dimensions. When you do that you limit your ability to take in new information and make sense of it quickly, accurately, and effectively.

Using the Learning Style Index:

You can us the learning style index to develop your own learning skills and also to help you create a rounded learning experience for other people.

(I)  Developing Your Learning Skills

Step One
Identify your learning preferences for each learning dimension. Read through the explanations of each learning preference and choose the one that best reflects your style.

Step Two:
Analyze your results and identify those dimensions where you are “out of balance,” meaning you have a very strong preference for one style and dislike the other.

Step Three:
For each out of balance area, use the information in figure 2 to improve your skills in areas where you need development.

Figure 2: Bringing Your Learning Styles Into Balance

Sensory Learners – if you rely too much on sensing, you can tend to prefer what is familiar, and concentrate on facts you know instead of being innovative and adapting to new situations. Seek out opportunities to learn theoretical information and then bring in facts to support or negate these theories.

Intuitive Learners – if you rely too much on intuition you risk missing important details, which can lead to poor decision-making and problem solving. Force yourself to learn facts or memorize data that will help you defend or criticize a theory or procedure you are working with. You may need to slow down and look at detail you would otherwise typically skim.

Visual Learners - if you concentrate more on pictorial or graphical information than on words, you put yourself at a distinct disadvantage because verbal and written information is still the main preferred choice for delivery of information. Practice your note taking and seek out opportunities to explain information to others using words.

Verbal Learners – when information is presented in diagrams, sketches, flow charts, and so on, it is designed to be understood quickly. If you can develop your skills in this area you can significantly reduce time spent learning and absorbing information. Look for opportunities to learn through audio-visual presentations (such as CD-ROM and Webcasts.) When making notes, group information according to concepts and then create visual links with arrows going to and from them. Take every opportunity you can to create charts and tables and diagrams.

Active Learners – if you act before you think you are apt to make hasty and potentially ill-informed judgments. You need to concentrate on summarizing situations, and taking time to sit by yourself to digest information you have been given before jumping in and discussing it with others.

Reflective Learners – if you think too much you risk doing nothing. ever. There comes a time when a decision has to be made or an action taken. Involve yourself in group decision-making whenever possible and try to apply the information you have in as practical a manner as possible.

Sequential Learners – when you break things down into small components you are often able to dive right into problem solving. This seems to be advantageous but can often be unproductive. Force yourself to slow down and understand why you are doing something and how it is connected to the overall purpose or objective. Ask yourself how your actions are going to help you in the long run. If you can’t think of a practical application for what you are doing then stop and do some more “big picture” thinking.

Global Learners – if grasping the big picture is easy for you, then you can be at risk of wanting to run before you can walk. You see what is needed but may not take the time to learn how best to accomplish it. Take the time to ask for explanations, and force yourself to complete all problem-solving steps before coming to a conclusion or making a decision. If you can’t explain what you have done and why, then you may have missed critical details.

(II) Creating a Rounded Learning Experience for Others

Whenever you are training or communicating with others, you have information and ideas that you want them to understand and learn effectively and efficiently. Your audience is likely to demonstrate a wide range of learning preferences, and your challenge is to provide variety that helps them learn quickly and well.

Your preferred teaching and communication methods may in fact be influenced by your own learning preferences. For example, if you prefer visual rather than verbal learning, you may in turn tend to provide a visual learning experience for your audience.

Be aware of your preferences and the range of preference of your audiences. Provide a balanced learning experience by:

Sensory – Intuitive: Provide both hard facts and general concepts.

Visual – Verbal: Incorporate both visual and verbal cues.

Active – Reflective: Allow both experiential learning and time for evaluation and analysis.

Sequential – Global: Provide detail in a structured way, as well as the big picture.

Key Points:

Learning styles and preferences vary for each of us and in different situations.

By understanding this, and developing the skills that help you learn in a variety of ways, you make the most of your learning potential. And because you’re better able to learn and gather information, you’ll make better decisions and choose better courses of action.

And by understanding that other people can have quite different learning preferences, you can learn to communicate your message effectively in a way that many more people can understand. This is fundamentally important, particularly if you’re a professional for whom communication is an important part of your job.

Take time to identify how you prefer to learn and then force yourself to break out of your comfort zone. Once you start learning in new ways you’ll be amazed at how much more you catch and how much easier it is to assimilate information and make sense of what is going on.

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Your Preferred Learning Styles

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

A learning style is a way of learning.  Your preferred learning style is the way in which you learn best.

Three learning styles that are often identified in students are:

  • Auditory Learning Styles
  • Visual Learning Styles
  • Tactile / Kinesthetic Learning Styles.

Are you an Auditory Learner?

Auditory Learners learn best when information is presented in an auditory language format.

  • Do you seem to learn best in classes that emphasize teacher lectures and class discussions?
  • Does listening to audio tapes help you learn better?
  • Do you find yourself reading aloud or talking things out to gain better understanding?
  • If YES, you are probably an Auditory Learner.

Are you a Visual Learner?

Visual Learners learn best when information is presented in a written language format or in another visual format such as pictures or diagrams.

  • Do you do best in classes in which teachers do a lot of writing at the chalkboard, provide clear handouts, and make an extensive use of an overhead projector?
  • Do you try to remember information by creating pictures in your mind?
  • Do you take detailed written notes from your textbooks and in class?
  • If YES, you are probably a Visual Learner.

Are you a Tactile / Kinesthetic Learner?

Tactile / Kinesthetic Learners learn best in hands-on learning settings in which they can physically manipulate something in order to learn about it.

  • Do you learn best when you move about and handle things?
  • Do you do well in classes in which there is a lab component?
  • Do you learn better when you have an actual object in your hands rather than a picture of the object or a verbal or written description of it?
  • If YES, you are probably a Tactile / Kinesthetic Learner.

Your learning style is your strength. Go with it whenever you can.

  • When you can choose a class, try to choose one that draws heaviest on your learning styles.
  • When you can choose a teacher, try to choose one who’s teaching method best matches your learning style.
  • When you choose a major and future career, keep your learning style firmly in mind.


Knowledge of Student Characteristics.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Research has revealed the importance of adjusting learning styles to the learner. The closer the match between students’ learning styles and their teachers’ teaching styles – the higher the grade point average (R. Dunn, Griggs, Olson, Gorman, and Beasley, 1995).

R. Dunn and Griggs (1995) in his Learning Style Model indicated that students are affected by five main factors:

1.   Students’ immediate environment such as sound, light, temperature,  and furniture setting / design.

  • Many students require quiet while concentrating on difficult information, while others literally learn better with sound;
  • Many people concentrate better in brightly illuminated rooms, while others do better in soft light;
  • Some students achieve better in warm environments , while others in cold environments;
  • Some people prefer studying in a wooden, plastic, or steel chair, but others find conventional classroom seats so uncomfortable and are preventing them from learning.

2.   Students’ own emotionality affect their ability to learn.

  • Students’ inner motivation;
  • Persistence to complete assignments;
  • Ability to take responsibility for their own behavior and work;
  • The opportunity to do things in their own way.

3.   Students’ sociological preferences also affect learning.

  • learning alone, in pairs, in small groups, as part of a team, with either an authoritative or collegial adult;
  • wanting variety as opposed to patterns and routines.

4.   Students’ physiological characteristics can also affect when and how students learn best such as:

  • time of day;
  • outside stimulation;
  • energy level;
  • mobility while studying;

Understanding students’ physiological characteristics will let teachers  help students learn based on their perceptual strengths. For example teachers could encourage students to study at their best time of day, which might be early in the morning; before they leave for school; during lunch or study halls; immediately after school; or in the evening before they go to bed.

5.   The way students process information can also affect learning abilities. For example, more analytical students tend to be persistent. They may not always start an assignment immediately; but once they start doing, they have a strong emotional urge to continue until the task is done, or until they come to a place where they feel they can stop. As for global learners, they tend to prefer learning with what conventional teachers think of as distractions such as:

  • sound : music, tapping, or conversation;
  • an informal design : lounging comfortably;
  • soft illumination : covering their eyes or wearing sunglasses indoors;
  • peer orientation: wanting to work with a friend;
  • a need for food (snacks) while study;
  • left-brain mode students: process information sequentially and analytically;
  • right-brain mode students: process information in a holistic, simultaneous and global manner;
  • impulsive students: will not spend much time in learning;
  • reflective students: will spend time thinking about the information, understanding the content being taught.  (R. Dunn and K Dunn, 1992).

6.   The Learning Style Model and its benefits:

R. Dunn and K. Dunn (1992) indicated the benefits of a comprehensive model of learning styles because not only are many individuals affected by different elements of a learning style; but so many of the learning elements are capable of increasing academic achievement.

Using the Learning Style Model, teachers can test and identify students’ learning styles accurately (Beaty, 1986). The Learning Style Model is a reliable and valid instrument and the only comprehensive one that can diagnose the many style traits that influence individuals (Shaughnessy, 1998).

  • Students having a knowledge of their learning style – improved self esteem.  When children understand how they learn and how they struggle to learn, they can be more in control of their environment and ask for what they need (Martin and Potter, 1998).  O’ Brien (1989) stated that “perhaps schools should spend more time developing students awareness of their study style rather then pushing teachers into more in-service workshops about adapting curriculum”.
  • When students understand their learning style, they no longer need to feel different. “Students can learn almost any subject matter when they are taught with methods and approaches responsive to their learning style strengths; these same students fail when they are taught in an instructional style not inline with their strengths” (R. Dunn, 1990). De Bello, (1996) argued that “principals and teachers have a responsibility to make parents aware of their children need for a study environment that reflect their learning styles strengths”. “Perhaps the most important people who need to understand the concept of individual style are parents” (Guild and Garger, 1985).
  • Students achieve more when their teachers teach according to students’ learning styles. Studies conducted by R. Dunn revealed that students whose characteristics were accommodated by educational interventions responsive to their learning styles could be expected to achieve 75 percent of a standard deviation higher than students whose styles were not accommodated.

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