Learning Style– A learning style is a student’s consistent way of responding to and using stimuli in the context of learning. There are various instruments used to determine a student’s learning style. The first style to be discussed is VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic), which is derived from the accelerated learning world, and seems to be about the most popular model nowadays. Its main strength is that it is quite simple, which appeals to a lot of people. Its main weakness is that the research does not really support it.
Kolb’s learning inventory describes a learning process and a style, which makes it quite interesting. It can be thought of as a simpler version of the MBTI which is based upon determining the personality type. Kolb’s version uses two dimensions, while the MBTI uses two similar dimensions, plus two additional ones. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences seems to provide the most promising outlook for diversifying learning.
These various learning styles or intelligences are points along a scale that help us to discover the different forms of mental representation; they are not good characterizations of what people are (or are not) like. We should not divide the population into a set category (e.g. visual person, extrovert).
What these various instruments are doing is allocating the person along some point on a continuum (similar to measuring height or weight) In other words, do not pigeon-hole people as we are all capable of learning under any style or intelligence no matter what our preference is.
Kolb Learning Style
David Kolb developed this learning styles model in 1984. Kolb’s learning styles model is based on two lines of the axis (continuums): our approach to a task – (preferring to do or watch), and our emotional response (preferring to think or feel). The theory sets out these four preferences, which are also possible different learning methods:
- Doing (active experimentation)
- Watching (reflective observation)
- Feeling (concrete experience)
- Thinking (abstract conceptualization)
These learning styles characteristics are normally shown as two lines of axis. The east-west axis is called the Processing Continuum (how we approach a task), and the north-south axis is called the Perception Continuum (our emotional response, or how we think or feel). This also describes four different learning styles (and also methods):
The combination of where our preference lies on each axis produces four possible learning style types:
- Activist (doing and feeling preferences, or concrete-active)
- Reflector (watching and doing, or concrete-reflective)
- Theorist (watching and thinking, or abstract-reflective)
- Pragmatist (thinking and doing, or abstract-active)
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