Topic: Learning Styles
Instructor: Sean Aitken
• Active learners: Active learners prefer to study ina group rather than alone. Their learning is more effective when they can share and exchange ideas with others. Active learnersalso like to directly and physically interact with given material.
• Reflective learners: Reflective learners prefer to study or work by themselves. They tend to think for a while before taking actions when facing a problem.
• Sensing learners: Sensing learnersprefer concrete facts and data toabstract information. They make sense of such information by linking it to the real world.
• Intuitive learners: Intuitive learners prefer theories and interpretations of factual information and work well with concepts. They tend to explore the connections between new information and the world of ideas.
• Visual learners:Visual learners are more efficient at absorbing visual information than written or oral words.They like to work with charts, diagrams, pictures and videos.
• Verbal learners: Verbal learners prefer writtendescriptionsand spoken instructions when taking in new information. They study and work better with articles, audio clips, reports and speeches.
• Sequential learners: Sequential learners liketo be logical in their thinking process. They tend to make sense of things step by step with linear connections.
• Global learners: Global learners like to catch the whole picture before putting each piece into place. They are more likely to see and understand things in a random fashion. Theylearn in a flexible way in which there are some big leaps in their train of thought.
I agree with these four preferences about my learning style. I’m an active learner. For example, I like studying in a group or with a partner, and Ienjoy sharing and exchanging ideas with other individuals. That makes me feel excited and joyful during the conversation. Also, I’m a sensing learner because I mostly focus on facts. I tend to use a well-established method when facing a problem instead of discovering new potential possibilities. I feel confident when I use a fixed strategy to solve problems. Furthermore, I’m definitely a visual learner, because it is more acceptable to me if the data is directly illustratedinstead of being placed in a paragraph. For example, I clearly understand the future trend or the proportion relation of something if it appears in the form of a chart. However, it will be hard for me to remember everything if there are too many words or numbers in a paragraph. Additionally, I’m a sequential learner because I tend to use logic to think and behave. When I do an analysis, I would prefer to do it logically, step by step, which makes my mind clear. It is really difficult for me to jump between different ideas. I normally feel confused and distracted when doing so.
I talked to my best friend about the four preferences of learning of mine, since we spend a lot of time studying together and know each other well. He agreed that I’m a sensing, visual and sequential learner, but he argued that I could appear to be a reflective learner sometimes.Henoticed my sensing learning style because normally I can easily work with facts and data and like to talk to him about how these can be applied in practice, but I often have to ask him about the meaning of a theory of concept. He agreed that I’m a visual learner as I tend to draw charts and sketches when solving a problem, and he could see that I can get very impatient and confused if I have to read too many words.He also recalled that typically I would explain things to him in a sequential and logical way. However, he said that sometimes I can be very quiet when facing a difficult problem, and that is why he thought I’m a reflective learner.
(a):My area of low preference is verbal.
I’m a commerce student, and I intend to pursue my career as a business consultant. Apart from visual information, consultancy work is closely related to verbalmaterial as it involves a considerable amount ofreading articles and searching for important information.It is critical for a consultant to be able to identify useful information in documents and audio material. It is also important to have the ability to capture key elements in written instructions and conversations in daily communication with clients and others. A consultant can work much more efficiently if he can excel at verbal learning.
Firstly, I have to improve my verbal learning ability by practicing readingmorewritten material. I will try to write summaries for what I have read and ask my verbal-preferring friends if I am right. This practice can make me process verbal information more accurately and quickly. Secondly, as I prefer active learning, I canparticipate in more discussions, seminarsand presentations. I can enhance my verbal learning skill by listening more closely to other’s ideas and try to understand them. I can see whether I get their opinions correctly in real-time feedback. This method can also help me learn more verbally. In addition, I can use my visual learning ability to better understand verbal information, by extracting key elements and reorganizing them into diagrams and charts. While this certainly helps me understand verbal material, it does not directly improve my verbal skill so I will mainly focus on the first two methods.
In a group, it is highly improbable that all members share the same preferred learning style, which means applying one single method in groupwork could result in a dispute of opinions and poor performance.In order to avoid these issues and ensure high performance for each member, two measures can be applied in group work, namely the optimal allocation of tasks and team assistance. The optimal allocation of tasks assigns each individual with the task that is most suitable for his/her learning preference. It requires firstly communicating about each member’s preference, breaking down the groupwork assignment and allocating tasks to each individual accordingly. For instance, for analyzing a report, a visual learner should be assigned with tasks involving charts and diagrams, while a verbal learner can process literal information. An active learner can be in charge of communicating ideas with each team member, but he should not force the reflective learners to communicate and share unless necessary. The second approach, team assistance, refers to that team members should offer assistance to individuals struggling at their task according to their preferred style. For example, if a visual learner is struggling with reading materials, teammates can draw sketches and diagrams or show related videos to help this individual with the task. These two methods can greatly improve the collective quality of teamwork and avoid conflict.