Learning Styles Workshop Meg Sargent [email protected] Adam Goldberg [email protected] Learning Styles “Specified patterns of behavior and/or performance according to which the individual approaches a learning experience; a way in which the individual takes in new information and develops new skills; the process by which an individual retains new information or skills” (Sarasin, L.C, 2006) The manner in which individuals choose, or are inclined to approach, a learning situation (Cassidy, 2004). The way an individual perceives, organizes, processes, and remembers information (Beebe, Mottet, Roach, 2004). How do we Learn? By Seeing (visual) By Hearing (auditory) By touching (tactile) Why is an Understanding of Learning Styles Important? Diverse learning communities Determine what’s best for your students Mismatch between instruction and learning styles disastrous Purpose of this Workshop Introduction to Learning Styles!! Specifically: Instruments for Measurement Instructional Strategies Resources and Assessment Tools Steps of Teaching Effectiveness: Understanding Learning (both of self and student) Understanding Teaching Assessing Learning Accommodating Differences Understanding Learning How do your students learn best? How do you learn best? Understanding Teaching Consider how you teach in terms of how your students learn: Teaching strategies reflect learning preference Reflection Activity Think of a recent class. How did you present new material? What methods did you use to help students learn (lecture, discussion, group work, etc)? Assessing Learning How do you determine whether your students are actually learning? Accommodating Differences Using a knowledge of different learning styles to drive instruction Ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn Examining the 3 Learning Styles Visual Learners: Defined (global, affective, abstract, random, concept-oriented): Learn by reading and observing others Visual: Learning • Holistic focus: need to see how pieces fit together • Need to visualize what they’re doing (may stop, look into space and visualize what they’re learning) • Learn best in interactive format: role play, modeling, groups, etc. • Become impatient with extensive listening Visual: Teaching • Use multiple visual formats: charts presentation software, video, notes, worksheets, flip charts, diagrams, etc. • Write goals/objectives of lesson on board • Open-ended creative questions encouraging multiple interpretations and solutions Visual: Teaching • Leave white space in handouts for note taking. • Invite questions to help them stay alert • Emphasize key points to cue when to takes notes. • Webbing (mind mapping) Visual: Assessment • Need open-ended assessment • Assign groups problem-solving activities (focus on process and product) • Individual research projects to show mastery of material • Objective tests should include short answers • Individual oral presentations (explore, explain and present material) • Demonstrations (applying material in real contexts) Auditory Learners: Defined (concrete sequential, independent, perceptual, field-independent, competitive). Learn through hearing and speaking Auditory: Learning • Most commonly rewarded in postsecondary classrooms • Skill-oriented & Achievement-oriented • Memorize well • Clarify learning through articulation • Learn from hearing others speak • Prefer processing the spoken versus written word • Precise, logical, definite Auditory: Teaching • Traditional lecture; independent work • Group discussion: feedback, paraphrasing from peers • Individual conference/interviews with instructor • Allow “thinking time” to process information • Use the Socratic method of lecturing by questioning Auditory: Teaching • Tasks calling for specific answers/solutions • Phrasing information several different ways • Begin new material with “what is coming” Conclude with “what was covered” • Auditory activities, such as brainstorming, buzz groups, or Jeopardy • Give time to debrief in order to make connections Auditory: Assessment • Objective, specific questions orally or written (true-false, multiple-choice, matching, fill-in) • Summative evaluation requiring individual, specific pieces of information • Independent research projects Tactile Learners: Defined (random learners, behavioral, both dependent and independent learners). Learn by touching and doing Tactile: Learning • Most neglected at post-secondary levels • Needs rarely addressed outside of laboratory-required classes • Need opportunities for creative, handson learning; interactions with concrete materials • Learning accommodated through movement Tactile: Teaching • Experiential learning activities: labs, modules, educational games • Simulations (interact with/apply concepts) • Interaction via technology: audio, video, computers • Demonstrations/ Role play/ Case Studies Tactile: Teaching • Internships/Practica/ Field trips • Give frequent stretch breaks (brain breaks) • Have students transfer information from the text to another medium such as a keyboard Tactile: Assessment • Respond least effectively to traditional methods of testing, papers, etc. so need to modify conventional assessment • Demonstrations of learning • Role playing • Simulations, replicas, exhibits, models Working in groups, how could you revise your earlier lesson from incorporating different learning styles CONCLUSION Implications Strategies How Do We Do It? • Familiarize yourself with research on Learning Styles • Organize informal discussion or focus groups to share understandings/gain additional perspectives • Analysis of Student Behavior • Develop & Implement Teaching Strategies • On-going Assessment • Commitment: time, resources, administration, faculty Workshop: A great first step!