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Learning styles


Content


01 Introduction
02 Overview
03 General learning styles
Honey and Mumford  /   Felder and Soloman
04 Sensory learning styles
VAK

01 Introduction

The term 'learning style' has become increasingly common in education, but what does it mean?

One of the problems you might have encountered if you have already tried to determine your learning style or 'preference' is that there are a number of models to choose from, some of which seem very similar, but some of which appear to be very different. There is also great variation in the quality of these models, as some have a sound methodological basis and are based on rigorous research and testing, whilst others are not. It can be very difficult to determine which is which, however.

The rest of this webpage will distinguish the main models by type, before identifying the best ones to use and where to find them on the web.



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02 Overview

The majority of learning styles models fall into one of two categories. Firstly, there are the general learning styles models, which take into account many different factors, many of which could be described as personality-based. Secondly, there are sensory learning styles, which focus more on the natural biases we have in the way we like to collect and process information. However, these two types of model are not mutually exclusive, as there is often a lot of overlap. By trying more than one learning styles model you will only broaden your perspective and your self-understanding, not confuse yourself.

Remember, the purpose of these methodologies is not to determine which single type you are, but to help you to understand your natural biases and your unique mix. You will probably identify with some types more than others. Although it is not impossible to be an evenly balanced blend of all of them, the chances are you will have a mixture of all 'styles'. The key to getting the most from your learning style is to use it to develop weaker areas and fully exploit stronger ones, rather than confine yourself to a single type.

Learning styles may also help you to have a better understanding and appreciation of the differences in others.



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03 General learning styles

Two of the most common learning styles models are (i) Honey and Mumford and (ii) Felder and Soloman.

    • Honey and Mumford

This model is widely used and was developed by educationalists Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. There are four basic types: an 'activist' (who is enthusiastic and motivated), a 'pragmatist' (experimental and practical), a 'theorist' (logical and objective), and a 'reflector' (thoughtful and analytical). These types are seen as extreme points on a number of continuums, rather than four completely distinguishable categories.

To find out more and to take a short test to determine your own unique mix, try the Brain Boxx website by clicking on the link below:

Try the main website for other similar resources.

    • Felder and Soloman

This is an alternative model to Honey and Mumford that is quite similar. To take an online test and find out more, click on the link below.



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04 Sensory learning styles

The most common model that has a sensory-based methodology is the VAK system, which is an abbreviation of 'Visual-Auditory-Kinaesthetic'. In brief, learners tend to have a strong bias towards either visual learning (i.e. seeing and reading), auditory learning (i.e. listening and speaking), or kinaesthetic learning (i.e. touching and doing). Understanding how your senses affect your personality, not to mention the way that you process information and learn, can be very empowering, and enjoyable.

To take a free self-assessment test and learn more background information on VAK, visit the Business Balls website using the first link below. Alternatively, if you would like a more automated test, visit the Brain Boxx website using the second link.

If you are a member of staff, there is a printable test sheet that can be used as a teaching resource on the Business Ball website.



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