Learning Style

Learning Style Models

Different people learn in different ways. This is the basis of the study of learning styles. People have different learning styles based on personality types. Some people tend to pick up information better when it is presented numerically, others when it is presented through pictures or verbally. There are four main learning styles: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Kolb's Learning Style Model, Herrmann Brain Dominant Instrument, and Felder-Silver Model Style.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on the teachings of Carl Jung. According to this learning style model, there are four areas of personality that affect learning. These areas are how a person directs their energy (introverted or extroverted), processed information (senses or intuition), makes decisions (thinking or feeling), and organization preferences (judging or perception). The Meyers and Briggs Foundation website has information and tools for training, including a personality test. More information about this learning style model can be found in the article Myers-Briggs Personality Type on the Team Technology website. Student Learning and the Myers-Briggs Indicator Type discusses how the information available from this personality test can be used in classrooms.

Kolb's Learning Style Model also uses four areas to determine a student's learning style. It judges between active and reflective learners, sensing and intuitive learners, visual and verbal learners, and sequential and global learners. Each different area is based on how a student prefers to be taught. For example, a sequential learner prefers to learn by following steps in a logical order. A global learner will learn by looking at the big picture, and putting bits of information together in a seemingly random fashion. Business Balls' Kolb's Learning Style, North Carolina's State University's Matters of Style, Infed.com's David A. Kolb on Experiential Learning has more information about this learning style.

The Herrmann Brain Dominant Instrument is a learning style based on the idea that one side of the brain is dominant over the other. The two halves of the brain are then divided into a front and back half, making four sections in the brain. Individuals are dominant in one of these four areas, which is evident by their personality type. This is very popular for use with organizations and teams. By determining the strengths of team members, they can be assigned tasks that fit their personality. This will result in better results because the members are well suited to their tasks. This Herrmann Brain Dominant Instrument FAQ page has information about how a company can benefit from using this learning style model, as well as a link to the assessment tool itself.

The final learning model style is the Felder-Silver Model, also called the Felder-Silverman Model. This model is very similar to the Myers Briggs and Kolb Models. There are four areas of personality that contribute to learning in this model. They are active or reflective, sensing or intuitive, visual or verbal, and sequential or global. A combination of these styles makes up the individuals learning preferences. The Felder-Silverman Learning Styles Model article from Carleton University provides a detailed look at this learning model.

Understanding the learning models, and how they can be applied to both students and in the workplace, provides an efficient tool for making sure students are being taught in a way that fits their needs and that employees or team members are working in ways that allow them to use their strengths. These four learning style models are all used to better understand individual strengths and weaknesses. By utilizing this knowledge, it is possible for people to work in ways that fit their type, which benefits their performance.

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