Styles of Learning
“There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same” ~ Chinese Proverb
When I got my camera, I only used the manual to learn where to put the batteries, how to turn it on, and what button to press to take a picture.
Then, off I went to give it a try. When the pictures started coming out blurry, I turned to the manual to find out why.
One the first things I learned was how to adjust the Diopter Correction knob, which allows the camera to adjust to my eyesight without my glasses. My pictures greatly improved! Since then, I’ve returned to the manual many times, but always after I’ve gotten stuck.
My natural style of learning is called an active learner. I do best when I learn by doing.
This doesn’t mean I do everything without instruction or manuals, but I prefer this style. For example, if I wanted to learn to fly an airplane, I wouldn’t get into the airplane and take off. I would first seek out an instructor. I might be an “active learner,” but I also want to live:~)
So, what’s the point? We all have our own learning style. Your learning style isn’t good or bad; it just is. It’s kind of like being right or left-handed, you were born with it. It’s the way you prefer to take in new knowledge.
Do it my way
One big difficulty with learning styles is that your own style will feel right to you whereas another style may feel wrong to you, especially if you have a strong preference for a certain style.
If this is the case, a person with an opposite style might frustrate you and even drive you crazy.
Here’s an example: Imagine you and a friend are learning a new computer program. You sit down and read all the instructions first before you turn on the program. Whereas, your friend sits down and starts experimenting with the program, without bothering to look at the instructions.
You shake your head at his foolishness, thinking, “If you don’t read the instructions, you could do something wrong.”
He looks at you reading the instructions, thinking, “What a waste of time. I’ll see how far I can get on my own and use the instructions when I need help.”
Neither of you is wrong! Chances are both of you will learn the computer program in the about the same amount of time. You just approach learning this new skill in a different way.
Why is this important?
We don’t get to choose our natural style of learning. We can adjust it to some degree, like I did the Diopter Correction Knob on my camera, but we will prefer, and work best, in our natural style.
This is extremely important to realize when working with other people, helping your children learn, and any form of teaching.
If learning style is taken into account at home, work and school, it’s much easier for people to get along. You don’t get annoyed because someone is left or right handed, you adapt to it. The same is true of different learning styles.
So, take the time to discover how you, your children or fellow workers seem to learn best. Try to find ways to compromise when you run across a different learning style with a co-worker or family member. Make it easier for a child to feel good about learning by understanding their unique learning style.
With learning, there really are many paths to the same destination.
BTW The book in the cover picture doesn’t look quite this bad. I took liberty with this photo in order to make a point. My apologies go to the author, David D. Busch. I really do use your book…a lot:~)
Care to share
Here are some questions for you to consider in the comment box (remember you don’t have to answer them all):
- What do you know about your learning style? Think about how you might put together a book shelf.
- What conflicts have you experienced because of different learning styles, for example with a co-worker or a family member?
- If you are a parent, how do you deal with the learning styles of your children?
Would you like to know more about your learning style? If your answer is yes, check out some of the links below.
Resources: Learning Styles
Because there are so many different theories about learning style, I’m not going to tell you which to choose. Instead, I’m providing the following links of a few of the well-known theories. You can check them out on your own.
The Felder-Soloman Index of LearningStyles© (ILS)
The Felder-Soloman Index of LearningStyles© (ILS) Inventory
Kolb Learning Style
Right brain, Left brain
Right brain, Left brain Inventory
Three learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
Three learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic Inventory
Myers Briggs Inventory (this isn’t the full test, but it gives you an idea. The full test is much longer and you need to pay for it.)
Keirsey Termperament Sorter
Keirsey Termperament Sorter Inventory