Week 2 Readings and Resources

Learning Styles / Teaching Perspectives

The idea of "learning styles" (or, "preferences", as they are often called) is an interesting one. The main idea behind Learning Styles is a widely adopted and accepted idea in Education: people learn in different ways.

On one hand, it seems like one of those "motherhood" statements. For example, as Richard Felder notes, Students preferentially take in and process information in different ways...it's hard to disagree with that. And people believe it (how often have you heard someone say, "Oh, I'm a visual learner?")

On the other hand, it's not without controversy. In this week's readings, there are two "con" pieces that illustrate how learning styles may not hold up as promised under strict research scrutiny.

We wanted to provide this balanced view. The ideas behind Learning Styles are very useful to have in mind, but they aren't a solution to every teaching challenge. You don't, for example, want to spend a lot of time, "diagnosing" learning styles and changing everything, every time, for every learner. That's not the point.

The point is, to be aware of different ways that people can/do/prefer to take in information, and therefore the different ways you can make information available, online. Having the idea of learning styles in your mind, for example, may inspire you to seek (or create) a piece of audio, or video, or an image to communicate, instead of text-only resources.