Learning styles


The paper has important insights. I learn inductively – from complex
examples, I try to figure out principles and ideas. However, classes
tend to be structured deductively – neat, organized, and bewildering.

Important excerpt:

Teaching Techniques to Address All Learning Styles

– Motivate learning. As much as possible, relate the material being
presented to what has come before and what is still to come in the
same course, to material in other courses, and particularly to the
students’ personal experience (inductive/global).

– Provide a balance of concrete information (facts, data, real or
hypothetical experiments and their results) (sensing) and abstract
concepts (principles, theories, mathematical models) (intuitive).

– Balance material that emphasizes practical problem-solving
methods (sensing/active) with material that emphasizes
fundamental understanding (intuitive/reflective).

– Provide explicit illustrations of intuitive patterns (logical
inference, pattern recognition, generalization) and sensing patterns
(observation of surroundings, empirical experimentation, attention to
detail), and encourage all students to exercise both patterns
(sensing/intuitive). Do not expect either group to be able to exercise
the other group’s processes immediately.

– Follow the scientific method in presenting theoretical material.
Provide concrete examples of the phenomena the theory describes or
predicts (sensing/ inductive); then develop the theory or formulate
the mod(intuitive/inductive/ sequential); show how the theory or
modcan be validated and deduce its consequences
(deductive/sequential); and present applications

– Use pictures, schematics, graphs, and simple sketches liberally
before, during, and after the presentation of verbal material
(sensing/visual). Show films (sensing/visual.) Provide demonstrations
(sensing/visual), hands-on, if possible (active).

– Use computer-assisted instruction—sensors respond very well to
it. (sensing/active).

– Do not fill every minute of class time lecturing and writing on the
board. Provide intervals—however brief—for students to think about
what they have been told (reflective).

– Provide opportunities for students to do something active besides
transcribing notes. Small-group brainstorming activities that take no
more than five minutes are extremely effective for this purpose

– Assign some drill exercises to provide practice in the basic methods
being taught (sensing/active/sequential) but do not overdo them
(intuitive/reflective/ global). Also provide some open-ended problems
and exercises that call for analysis and synthesis

– Give students the option of cooperating on homework assignments to
the greatest possible extent (active). Active learners generally learn
best when they interact with others; if they are denied the
opportunity to do so they are being deprived of their most effective
learning tool.

– Applaud creative solutions, even incorrect ones (intuitive/global).

– Talk to students about learning styles, both in advising and in
classes. Students are reassured to find their academic difficulties
may not all be due to personal inadequacies. Explaining to struggling
sensors or active or global learners how they learn most efficiently
may be an important step in helping them reshape their learning
experiences so that they can be successful (all types).