Nov 20, 2009

Re-Examining Learning Styles

We’ve always been huge proponents of finding your own learning style- we’ve recommended it as a means towards better test results, choosing the right class and teacher, and several other applications. But what does this term really mean?

The word “style” connotes a predisposition towards a particular presentation medium, when in fact, finding the perfect way to learn could change as quickly as what you would like to have for dinner. Learning is an extremely complex amalgamation of connecting thoughts and memory through hundreds of billions of nerve cells inside your head. What works once won’t necessarily work again in exactly the same way. Emotions, physical well-being, and other factors all contribute to how we learn, and blanket assumptions on the best approach to material are not always correct.

For example, it is possible that the material itself could determine the best method for learning. For example, some may find Math learning to be a visual process, while History could be more suited to an auditory presentation.

While tacking down the perfect method for learning varies so widely, the evidence at hand does support the utilization of numerous different presentation models. More variety equates to better engagement and retention.

As we learn and move through life, our brain is constantly re-shaping itself to adapt to the needs that we place upon it. The more we use certain connection inside the brain, the stronger they become. The inverse of this is also true, with old and unused connections fading in time. This could help back up any predispositions you may have towards learning preference- if you are used to using a certain sensory input (hearing, for example) to learn, it would make sense to fall-back to that format if you are struggling with a particular subject.

Additionally, it is important not to eschew other methods for learning- you may uncover a treasure trove of connections you didn’t even know was there!


Jonathan Lopez said...

Differentiating between a learning "style" and a learning "preference", courtesy of

Jonathan Lopez said...

More questions surrounding learning styles, courtesy of