Research Paper: Learning Style Knowledge of Learning Styles

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¶ … Learning Style

Knowledge of learning styles is an indispensable factor for students to devise effective strategies to deal with the increasingly complex demands they face in their academic pursuits. This Knowledge helps them to strike an effective balance between their strong points and their weaknesses creating an ideal climate for achieving optimal academic performance. There is no question of doubt that a student's awareness of his learning style would significantly improve his ability to assimilate information and provide him with the right tools necessary for the development of his academic ability to the fullest potential.

We are witnessing a revolutionary change in the field of education and more and more research is focused on identifying and implementing effective teaching practices. 'Learning style' has become an important term in the academic parlance and educational researchers are now focusing more on understanding the implications of the different learning styles and its impact on teaching process and consequently the academic outcome of students. There is now more than ever, the distinct focus on how instruction strategies can affect the ability of students to grasp the subject matter. From the student perspective as well, knowing one's individual style makes it easier to absorb and master new information. Also, since one's interpretation of new things is clearly affected by reliance on one form of sensory input over the other, it is paramount to know one's learning style as one could then adapt the techniques that are best suited for his/her style while approaching any new learning task. Furthermore, assessing one's learning style can also help in understanding the areas in which to focus more and to develop new ways of learning. This in turn would facilitate the assimilation of information more easily and effectively. A brief overview of the different dimensions of learning styles would provide better insight into topic and stress the benefits one could derive from knowing one's own learning style as an important tool to optimize the learning experience.

Learning Styles

Learning styles can be defined as, "characteristic cognitive, affective, and psychological behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment" [Richard M. Felder, 2006] It is now well understood that every student has his own approach to studying. The ability to grasp, process and recall information is affected by the student's innate strengths and weaknesses as well as the instructors mode of delivery. When the student's primary modality of learning matches with the instructors teaching strategy it produces the optimum learning environment for him while a mismatch between the teaching and learning styles may result in a less than optimal learning environment for the student.

At the outset, students can be categorized as having one of the following three approaches to learning. First among these are students who happen to have a 'Reproducing Orientation'. Students with such an inclination are more comfortable in memorizing and reproducing the information without any effort for deeper understanding of the subject. In other words, these students take a 'Surface Approach' to learning. Next come those who have a tendency for a deeper appreciation of the subject. They like to ask more questions and know more in depth about the subject. Finally there are students who have a 'Strategic approach' to learning. These students aim at high grades and are willing to take either a surface approach or a deep probe into the subject as it fits the requirement for obtaining higher grades. [Richard M. Felder, 2006, pg 2]

Learning Style Models

Different models have been put forth to describe learning styles such as the Kolb's Experiential Learning model, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), The VAK model etc. Of these, the most simple and commonly used model is the Visual Auditory and Kinesthetic model (VAK). Students generally use three main sensory modalities for learning purposes. As the abbreviation VAK suggests these three are the Visual, Auditory and the kinesthetic inputs respectively. The underlying concept of the VAK model is that most students use only one or two of these modalities extensively for information learning purposes. [Steve Garnett, (2005), pg 20] A student's primary learning style maybe auditory if he learns information by listening to what other people tell. An auditory listener enjoys reading books as they provide an excellent opportunity to hear the author's story in his mind's ear. A visual learner on the other hand gleans information from what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Learning Style Knowledge of Learning Styles.  (2010, August 13).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/learning-style-knowledge-styles/1162952

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"Learning Style Knowledge of Learning Styles."  Essaytown.com.  August 13, 2010.  Accessed May 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/learning-style-knowledge-styles/1162952.