Learning Styles

Learning Styles

The following is a summary of an article entitled: Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence (Pashier, 2008), a link to the article can be found here.

The idea of different students having different learning styles is a popular one in the field of education. Different students learn better in different ways, whether it be through reading, watching, feeling, listening, or in collaboration with others.

The paper sets out to examine the way in which the education system teaches and assesses students, and looks at whether this method of teaching and assessing benefits or hinders certain kinds of learners, and prioritises them over others.

The results demonstrate that students who are visual and audial learners are benefited more in the average classroom than are kinaesthetic, collaborative, and certain kinds of linguistic learners. This means that a portion of students in our classes are not being taught and are learning ineffectively.

The paper calls for changes in the way a classroom operates, and also changes in the way students are assessed, which almost always benefits certain students over others. Giving students structured choice, while also giving them a range of tasks aimed at different styles is a possible solution to achieve a more egalitarian classroom.

Learning styles are a concept which has affected pedagogical practice for many years. The idea that any single student may learn better visually, kinaesthetically, or orally is a prominent view in the field of education. This is important as it has changed the way in which teachers have communicated to students.

Classrooms now accommodate for all different learning styles – SMARTboards, rooms with specially designed acoustics and wide open spaces all point to a kind of environmental differentiation for students who may learn best in a particular way. However, while some evidence postulates the existence of learning styles, other evidence indicates that it is not as important as some may think.

If a student is a visual learner, it’s not likely that they can ONLY learn visually, and this is the only way they will ever learn. In some cases it might also be best to foster the skills required for learning in different ways. It’s an avenue into improving listening, viewing, and physical skills – so don’t limit yourself as a teacher to the notion that certain students only learn in certain ways. It’s limiting to pedagogy and students.

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