Educators and parents often wonder why some students learn easily while others struggle. There are many factors that contribute to this situation. Students’ aptitudes for learning, their motivation to learn, and their styles or preferences for how to learn are some of the major variables that impact on the learning processes and produce individual differences in learning rates. Another factor, which has not been a major topic in this volume is learning outcomes or tasks. Various tasks require different thought processes, resulting in an interaction of learner variables with learning outcomes (Jonassen & Grabowski, 1993). This volume focuses on a specific learner variable—learning style or learning preference. The two terms are used synonymously. However, the term learning style has been used extensively by Dunn and Dunn in their work on children’s preferred learning environment in the classroom, and the term learning preference is used here to refer to children’s preferred learning environment when doing their homework.
That each child has his or her own learning preferences is no longer a subject for debate. There is disagreement, however, as to whether efforts should be made to change or expand students’ learning preferences to conform to classroom instructions, or to adapt instructions to match students’ preferred modes of learning (i.e., teach to students’ strengths). Some educators may disagree as to how to treat these learning differences in classrooms and in home learning situations, but all appreciate