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Learning Styles Essay

Having studied a small number of learning styles I will evaluate my own personal learning style and how I can use this through the next three years of my life at Bucks New University. I will look at the most popular theories in use today and their value in today’s world. The theory of individual learning styles began in the 1970’s and developed thoroughly in the 1980’s becoming more and more popular in recent years. The use of MRI scan data was added to already developing theories to understand how the brain processed information.

(Revell, P, May 05) A learning review carried out in 2004 by the ‘Learning and Skills Research Centre’ revealed that there are 71 established learning style theories, a number of these are very similar in style. I am going to focus on 3 widely used theories methods, David Kolb’s learning style model, Honey & Mumford’s Learning Style Questionnaire and Fleming’s VARK. (Image) This diagram shows the ‘cycle of learning’ created by Kolb. David Kolb, began developing his Learning Style model in 1971, he then published his learning style model in 1984.

The model is made of 4 learning styles; experience, reflection, reflecting and planning. In his cycle of learning Kolb describes that we will experience something, reflect on what happened, think how we can change or what we can use again and then act upon this and do it again changing any mistakes we made first time round, therefore repeating the cycle. For example when learning to ride a bike you may fall off due to hitting a tree (the experience,) look at what why we hit the tree, not looking up?

(reflect,) think about how we can change why we fell off, look forward as we are riding (plan) and then finally try again to ride looking forward. This cycle may repeat itself many times before we get right what we was trying to learn. Honey & Mumford’s questionnaire (IMAGE) In 1992 Peter Honey and Alan Mumford created a questionnaire for learners to identify their learning style. The questionnaire originally consisted of 80 questions but this has been shortened and made available with only 40 question’s. Honey and Mumford’s model is based heavily on the Kolb model but focuses in on the in-between stages of the cycle.

They agree with Kolb that all stages are crucial to learning, they suggest that some people tend to be happier with one stage of the cycle over others. (Cameron, S 1995) Honey and Mumford determined four learning styles that people may prefer to use than trying to use the whole cycle of Kolb’s model. The four stages are, activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists. Activists are very open minded, will try new things without much thought, are very sociable and probably prefer group work. However they are likely to get bored very quickly and find it hard to sit still for long periods of time.

Activists will most likely be the planners within the marketing industry as they have lots of experiences and enjoy overcoming obstacles, they will most likely be watched closely by the manager due to their tendencies to jump in, act and think afterwards. Reflectors are much more passive and will think in much more depth before reaching any decision’s, they will tend to take more of a back seat role and observe others. A reflective member of staff would make be good in a manager role because they think with their heads, not their heart and would therefore make decisions that are more informative.

Theorists enjoy approaching problems logically and having information to back up theories. Theorists are very good at analysing data and researching in depth. They can struggle to work with activists as they act first then think whereas theorists will think (a lot) before acting. Theorist would be best at doing marketing research and analysing the information as this something they excel at. Pragmatists like the freedom of creating something new, they don’t like being restricted to set ideas. They enjoy problem solving and are very practical but they do get bored very quickly.

Pragmatists would be fantastic in a creative environment and therefore perfect for creating advertisements using their initiative. Flemings VARK VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinaesthetic. Fleming developed his theory based on previous VAK modes but added the read/write in 1987. ‘From what I read and observed, it seemed obvious that some students had a distinct preference for the written word whilst others preferred symbolic information’ (Fleming, N. 2006) Fleming’s questionnaire has 16 question, so that people take it more seriously and do not get bored while filling out the questionnaire.

Visual learners prefer to look at images and the use of colour. When making notes a visual learner will use images, symbols and highlight key words with colour. When planning a piece of work visual learners may use mood boards and mind maps for them to get inspiration from before forming into words. Audio learners prefer to listen to lectures or having things explained to them, they enjoy group discussions and are very good at describing visual things in great detail. Audio learners can benefit from reading aloud their notes while recording themselves.

When planning for a piece of work an audio learner may find it better to speak through their ideas with a friend. Read/write learners much prefer to write down notes and take information from text books, when breaking down statistical information they will describe any trends instead of drawing them. Read/write learners will excel at essay writing and when planning a piece of work they will write lists and notes. Kinaesthetic learners prefer to just try new things and touch things to help them learn. Field trips for the ideal for kinaesthetic learners as they can take in all the information around them, without getting bored.

When completing a piece of work they will just use trial and error until they get it right. Without acknowledging your own style you may encourage your team to focus on issues from a certain perspective and miss the opportunities that result from different approaches. A team has a collective learning style all of its own. (Haygroup) My learning style After completing the 1982 version of the Honey and Mumford questionnaire I scored: Activist 6 Reflector16 Theorist15 Pragmatist 8 From these results I now understand that I prefer to step back and observe others, I require more time and information to make decisions.

From previous experience I would say that I totally agree with this for example when making a decision about any expensive purchase I will always look at information about and research the best prices before making a decision. So I do regularly use the reflector and theorist styles. From completing the 13 question VARK questionnaire I have scored: Visual1 Audio0 Read/write4 Kinaesthetic 7 From these results I can see that I am kinaesthetic learner, this contradicts my findings from the Honey and Mumford questionnaire where I found id rather observe and take in information.

Where as from this VARK questionnaire I have found that id rather use trial and error and learn using hands on methods. This contradictions surprise me as the styles are so different but I do understand that this is true to me, I do prefer to learn on my own and take in a lot of information before creating an essay but when it comes to learning how to use something new I prefer to just hold it and try it out. Conclusion From my research I have found that many of the learning styles are very similar but are constructed in their own way and helps the learner to establish their style in its individual way.

Kolb’s learning theory would not be able to be broken up into sections but the Honey and Mumford theory is based on Kolb’s so I can be compared to the VARK theory I have also looked at. I do believe I can pair these up as follows because they have very similar tendencies. Active and Visual learners like images to stimulate them. Reflectors and Audio would prefer to look back at a lecture and re-do their notes to suit them. Theorists and Read/Write learners prefer looking at information in texts. Pragmatists and kinaesthetic learners are both creative and get bored quickly.

From what I have learnt form this essay and have found out about how I learn will help me study through the next three years without me struggling or getting bored. Learning style is the way human beings take in new and/or difficult information, how they process, store and retrieve it. (Prashnig, B: Debating Learning Styles) Having studied a small number of learning styles I will evaluate my own personal learning style and how I can use this through the next three years of my life at Bucks New University. I will look at the most popular theories in use today and their value in today’s world.

The theory of individual learning styles began in the 1970’s and developed thoroughly in the 1980’s becoming more and more popular in recent years. The use of MRI scan data was added to already developing theories to understand how the brain processed information. (Revell, P, May 05) A learning review carried out in 2004 by the ‘Learning and Skills Research Centre’ revealed that there are 71 established learning style theories, a number of these are very similar in style. I am going to focus on 3 widely used theories methods, David Kolb’s learning style model, Honey & Mumford’s Learning Style Questionnaire and Fleming’s VARK.

(Image) This diagram shows the ‘cycle of learning’ created by Kolb. David Kolb, began developing his Learning Style model in 1971, he then published his learning style model in 1984. The model is made of 4 learning styles; experience, reflection, reflecting and planning. In his cycle of learning Kolb describes that we will experience something, reflect on what happened, think how we can change or what we can use again and then act upon this and do it again changing any mistakes we made first time round, therefore repeating the cycle.

For example when learning to ride a bike you may fall off due to hitting a tree (the experience,) look at what why we hit the tree, not looking up? (reflect,) think about how we can change why we fell off, look forward as we are riding (plan) and then finally try again to ride looking forward. This cycle may repeat itself many times before we get right what we was trying to learn. Honey & Mumford’s questionnaire (IMAGE) In 1992 Peter Honey and Alan Mumford created a questionnaire for learners to identify their learning style.

The questionnaire originally consisted of 80 questions but this has been shortened and made available with only 40 question’s. Honey and Mumford’s model is based heavily on the Kolb model but focuses in on the in-between stages of the cycle. They agree with Kolb that all stages are crucial to learning, they suggest that some people tend to be happier with one stage of the cycle over others. (Cameron, S 1995) Honey and Mumford determined four learning styles that people may prefer to use than trying to use the whole cycle of Kolb’s model.

The four stages are, activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists. Activists are very open minded, will try new things without much thought, are very sociable and probably prefer group work. However they are likely to get bored very quickly and find it hard to sit still for long periods of time. Activists will most likely be the planners within the marketing industry as they have lots of experiences and enjoy overcoming obstacles, they will most likely be watched closely by the manager due to their tendencies to jump in, act and think afterwards.

Reflectors are much more passive and will think in much more depth before reaching any decision’s, they will tend to take more of a back seat role and observe others. A reflective member of staff would make be good in a manager role because they think with their heads, not their heart and would therefore make decisions that are more informative. Theorists enjoy approaching problems logically and having information to back up theories. Theorists are very good at analysing data and researching in depth.

They can struggle to work with activists as they act first then think whereas theorists will think (a lot) before acting. Theorist would be best at doing marketing research and analysing the information as this something they excel at. Pragmatists like the freedom of creating something new, they don’t like being restricted to set ideas. They enjoy problem solving and are very practical but they do get bored very quickly. Pragmatists would be fantastic in a creative environment and therefore perfect for creating advertisements using their initiative.

Flemings VARK VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinaesthetic. Fleming developed his theory based on previous VAK modes but added the read/write in 1987. ‘From what I read and observed, it seemed obvious that some students had a distinct preference for the written word whilst others preferred symbolic information’ (Fleming, N. 2006) Fleming’s questionnaire has 16 question, so that people take it more seriously and do not get bored while filling out the questionnaire. Visual learners prefer to look at images and the use of colour.

When making notes a visual learner will use images, symbols and highlight key words with colour. When planning a piece of work visual learners may use mood boards and mind maps for them to get inspiration from before forming into words. Audio learners prefer to listen to lectures or having things explained to them, they enjoy group discussions and are very good at describing visual things in great detail. Audio learners can benefit from reading aloud their notes while recording themselves. When planning for a piece of work an audio learner may find it better to speak through their ideas with a friend.

Read/write learners much prefer to write down notes and take information from text books, when breaking down statistical information they will describe any trends instead of drawing them. Read/write learners will excel at essay writing and when planning a piece of work they will write lists and notes. Kinaesthetic learners prefer to just try new things and touch things to help them learn. Field trips for the ideal for kinaesthetic learners as they can take in all the information around them, without getting bored. When completing a piece of work they will just use trial and error until they get it right.

Without acknowledging your own style you may encourage your team to focus on issues from a certain perspective and miss the opportunities that result from different approaches. A team has a collective learning style all of its own. (Haygroup) My learning style After completing the 1982 version of the Honey and Mumford questionnaire I scored: Activist 6 Reflector16 Theorist15 Pragmatist 8 From these results I now understand that I prefer to step back and observe others, I require more time and information to make decisions.

From previous experience I would say that I totally agree with this for example when making a decision about any expensive purchase I will always look at information about and research the best prices before making a decision. So I do regularly use the reflector and theorist styles. From completing the 13 question VARK questionnaire I have scored: Visual1 Audio0 Read/write4 Kinaesthetic 7 From these results I can see that I am kinaesthetic learner, this contradicts my findings from the Honey and Mumford questionnaire where I found id rather observe and take in information.

Where as from this VARK questionnaire I have found that id rather use trial and error and learn using hands on methods. This contradictions surprise me as the styles are so different but I do understand that this is true to me, I do prefer to learn on my own and take in a lot of information before creating an essay but when it comes to learning how to use something new I prefer to just hold it and try it out. Conclusion From my research I have found that many of the learning styles are very similar but are constructed in their own way and helps the learner to establish their style in its individual way.

Kolb’s learning theory would not be able to be broken up into sections but the Honey and Mumford theory is based on Kolb’s so I can be compared to the VARK theory I have also looked at. I do believe I can pair these up as follows because they have very similar tendencies. Active and Visual learners like images to stimulate them. Reflectors and Audio would prefer to look back at a lecture and re-do their notes to suit them. Theorists and Read/Write learners prefer looking at information in texts. Pragmatists and kinaesthetic learners are both creative and get bored quickly.

From what I have learnt form this essay and have found out about how I learn will help me study through the next three years without me struggling or getting bored. Reference List 1)Cameron, S. (2005) The business students handbook. March 2005. Essex. Pearson educated limited 2)Prashnig,B. (n. d) Debating Learning Styles http://www. creativelearningcentre. com/downloads/Debating%20LS. pdf 3)Revell,P. (May 2005) Each to their own:The Guardian http://www. guardian. co. uk/education/2005/may/31/schools. uk3 4)Fleming, N. , and Baume, D.

(2006) Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree! , Educational Developments, SEDA Ltd, Issue 7. 4, Nov. 2006, p4-7. http://www. vark-learn. com/documents/Educational%20 Developments. pdf 5)Haygroup http://www. haygroup. com/tl/Downloads/Why_People_Learn. pdf 6)Chapman,A (2005) Kolb learning styles http://www. businessballs. com/kolblearningstyles. htm 7)Kolbs learning cycle diagram http://www. ldu. leeds. ac. uk/ldu/sddu_multimedia/kolb/static_version. php 8)http://www. vark-learn. com/english/page. asp? p=hel[sheets


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