21st Century learners – Learning Styles and Strategies
With the shift from an instructional to a learning paradigm, there is growing acceptance that understanding the way students learn is the key to educational improvement. To achieve a desired learning outcome, one should provide teaching and counselling interventions that are compatible with the students’ learning styles. Thus, ‘learning style’ is a concept that is important not only in shaping teaching practices, but also in highlighting issues that help faculty members and administrators think more deeply about their roles in facilitating student learning. This article discusses some prominent research on learning styles and the implication of learning styles in teaching strategies. What is Learning Style?
Learning styles can be defined as a set of cognitive, emotional, characteristic and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment (Keefe, 1979). A student’s style of learning, if accommodated, can result in improved attitudes toward learning and an increase in thinking skills, academic achievement, and creativity (Irvine & York, 1995). Past research on learning styles attempted to categorise learners by ability has produced some convincing results. For example, Kolb (1984) identified four learning styles (i.e. accommodation, assimilation, converging, and diverging) and four learning modes (i.e. concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation, and active experimentation). Dunn and Dunn (1978) developed a comprehensive model dealing with environmental, emotional, sociological, physical, and psychological learning style elements and claimed that these elements could provide information directly to teaching strategies. However, increasing research in this field is producing burgeoning sub-categories of styles as more and more differences...
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