Psychology of Learning Styles


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In my Philosophy of Education class, we discuss what is best for students in an educational system. What is the best learning environment? What subjects should be required? One topic that has recently caught my attention is whether there should be a uniform way students are taught or if teachers should pay attention to individual learning styles. To me, this decision has a huge effect on a child's overall learning experience. 

In my gradeschool years, teachers expected us to learn things their way. Many times this was through sitting in silence and listening to them lecture. They never took into account that maybe we did not want to learn this way. Maybe there was a more efficient way to do it.

Little did I know back in gradeschool that there are three different types of learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Through research, I discovered that each type of learner has unique traits.

  • Visual learners tend to sit close to the front and take detailed notes. They benefit from illustrations or colorful presentations and often close their eyes in order to recall information they had memorized previously. 

  • Auditory learners do not tend to care where they sit in a classroom, as long as they can hear what is being said. They tend to acquire knowledge by reading aloud.

  • Kinesthetic learners use gestures and talk with their hands. They often remember actions that were done in the classroom but have difficulty recalling what was seen or said. They like to learn through hands on experiences and like to experiment. They also like to take breaks and move around every once in a while.

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After thinking about these different learning styles, I tried to picture a kinesthetic learner forced into an auditory learning environment. They would feel stifled, bored, and would definitely feel that they could not reach their full learning potential. The effect this could have on that student's self-esteem, attitude towards learning, and learning skills could be extremely detrimental. When you think into the psychology of learning styles, it is easy to see how not catering to a child's educational needs could be harmful. This is why I feel school's need to focus on integrating these learning styles so that each type of student can benefit. In addition, some students may be auditory learners in one subject and visual learners in another. Incorporating all three learning styles would make for a beneficial education all around. 

What was your educational experience like in terms of learning styles?

Discovering your own learning style may help you in your educational experience. Take this quiz to see for yourself!

Sources:
http://sunburst.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/
http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/a/vark-learning-styles.htm

2 Comments

This is so interesting! I would say that without a doubt I am a visual learner. I thought I always tended to sit near the front and take super intense notes was because of my type-A personality but after reading this it seems as though it is also because I am a visual learner. When I take tests, I never worry if it is just memorization because I can visualize my notes and where the info was and am good to go from there. I think it is important to establish what type of learner you are early on in your education so you can tailor your studying habits to best suit you. However, in this article by npr.org it discusses how teachers shouldn't try to tailor their lessons to specific types of learners but rather look for similarities in each type of learner. To read more about this, you can see the rest of the article here, http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/08/29/139973743/think-youre-an-auditory-or-visual-learner-scientists-say-its-unlikely.

I am a visual learner and do find myself sitting where I have a good view in my classes. But because I learn visually, I have a hard time with professors who just lecture and don't have power point slides. That's what I like about this class, so many figures and pictures, but at the same time, I find myself very distracted because of it.

This website talks about ways visual learners can learn better and gives tips to the learners and those teaching them!

http://www.phschool.com/eteach/social_studies/2003_05/essay.html

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