Learning Styles

The exact definition of learning styles is a bit muddled, but Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007, pg. 407) try to make some sense of it. When we think about our learning styles we typically think about we learn. A common phrase you hear from students are “I’m a visual learner.” However, when discussing learning styles we also need to consider the environment that learning is taking place. This understanding of what a learning style is leads us to question of their roles in the classroom. Students are diverse in their learning styles. Merriam et. al. (2007, pg. 408) discuss how experience, social interaction, personality, intelligence, perceptions, and needs are influences of learning styles. Cultural differences should also be considered. This diversity affects how the instructor runs their class since they cannot “teach” towards one learning style. An initial blunder in my teaching was that I thought my learning style was the best and that everyone should follow it. I was quick to find out the errors in that approach. Now I design my classes to reach out to as many learning styles as possible. It is definitely a challenge and still not everyone can be satisfied, but it is progress.

So what type of learning style reflects me then? I learn mechanically, logically, and rigorously. I am not a picture person. Maybe that explains why I completed two degrees in mathematics. To really hone in on what my learning style is I could use Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory. The figure below summarizes the instrument. Based on my comments in regards to my learning style my learning style in abstract conceptualization which I agree with.



Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.



About simoncrothers

I am an Australian who moved to British Columbia, Canada with my family in 1998. After completing my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science at Simon Fraser University, I moved back to Australia for several years. During this time I completed a Masters in Computational Mathematics and began my teaching career in mathematics at the University of New South Wales. In 2010, I moved back to Canada and taught computer science at Douglas College for three years. I am currently regular faculty in the Computer Business Systems department at KPU. I have also taught some courses in the Business and Quantitative Methods department at KPU. In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife Jami, who I met in Australia, our three year old daughter Lillian, and our newly born son Aiden. I also like to indulge in the occasional video game and I am involved in various self-employed web development projects.
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