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Learning Styles and Theories Essay

There are multiple learning styles and theories that apply to individuals in multiple ways. The VARK learning style that my analysis revealed is read/write according to the questionnaire by Fleming (2001-2014). This categorization of my learning style compliments me well and I definitely agree that actually seeing the information spelled out in front of me allows me to better understand the information. The two learning theories that relate to my VARK learning style are behaviorism and constructivism. Behaviorism focusing on a clear goal with an automatic response and constructivism affording me the ability to problem solve. Being an andragogical learner I’m able to apply what I’ve learned during my pedagogical phase to my educational experiences. Let’s take a closer look at what behaviorism entails.

Behaviorism focuses on the observable changes in behavior. Moreover, it’s the act of doing something new several times until it’s second nature. A prime example is while completing schoolwork the instructor provides continuous positive reinforcement; depending upon the grade the student will constantly modify their behavior until they receive positive reinforcement. According to Watson (n.d.) behaviorism’s goal is to explain relationships between precedent conditions (stimuli), behavior (responses), and consequences (reward, punishment, or neutral effect). Without the positive reinforcement the learned responses that the student exhibits will diminish. My VARK learning style relates to behaviorism by me receiving positive reinforcement through written praise; additionally, with good grades I will continue performing at the same level. Once I’ve developed an understanding of how a task needs to be accomplished I will tailor my actions towards that behavior to continue to receive that positive reinforcement and it becomes second nature. Along with observable changes in behavior, one-step further looks into constructivism and it’s aim on brain-based learning.

Constructivism relies on what the learner already knows and the understanding of the subject at hand. Moreover, building new ideas or concepts are based upon current knowledge and past experiences and amplifies when actively engaged. According to Brunner (n.d.) the three stages of intellectual development are enactive, iconic, and symbolic. Enactive is learning through actions on physical objects and the outcomes, iconic learning is through models and pictures, and lastly symbolic learning is the ability to think in abstract terms (Brunner, n.d.).

Constructivism relates to my VARK learning style in the aspect that learning is ongoing and by reading and writing I’m constantly improving my skills and perception. There can be multiple interpretations of an excerpt of literature, therefore by having someone facilitate the learning process with the knowledge of my baseline understanding of the topic at hand that person can build upon it. Thus, my VARK learning style suggests I write out words repeatedly or read them to myself, which goes along with reviewing information multiple times, and learning takes time according to the principles of constructivism.

As an adult learner my identified VARK learning style affects my educational pursuit positively. Falling into andragogical learning realm I have more experiences and therefore I can apply those experiences while learning. Adult learners take on the responsibility to be self-directed, and have a wealth of experience that enables them to transform information into meaningful cognitive and reality-based applications (Minter, 2011, p. 9). In retrospect the pedagogical concept requires the instructor to be more directive, placing students in a more passive role, and that students don’t have the motivation or maturity to be self-directed learners (Minter, 2011, p. 9). Applying active learning concepts such as reading and writing allows me to actively be categorized under the andragogical concept. Moreover, by writing and speaking the words to myself and reflecting to solve problems I’m practicing the concept of self-directed and problem-centered aspects of andragogical learning. Therefore, I will be able to apply my VARK learning style to complete my educational endeavors and continue on my path of success.

The three learning theories of Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism can be applied to any of the four learning styles (visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic). I feel that we cannot generalize that a student will be classified solely under one learning style, they will adapt and apply what is more appropriate given the information or circumstances. The learning theory used depends upon the learning situation. Being identified as an andragogical learner I’m able to apply life experiences, need to know, relevance of the subject matter and how it applies to me, and use my motivation to further my educational goals with the guidance of instructors that are more like facilitators. Malcolm Knowles paved the path for educators and students alike that entail specific learning principles to enable learners to thrive educationally and without his significant contribution who knows where we would be today.

Bruner, J. (n.d.). Constructivism & Discovery Learning. Retrieved from http://www.lifecircles- inc.com/Learningtheories/constructivism/bruner.html Fleming, N. D. (2001-2014). Retrieved from http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp Minter, R. (2011). The Learning Theory Jungle. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(6), 9. Watson, J. B. (n.d.). Behaviorism. Retrieved from http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/behaviorism/Watson.html

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