The Importance of Learning Styles: Understanding the Implications for Learning, Course Design, and Education

By Serbrenia J. Sims; Ronald R. Sims | Go to book overview

4
Toward a Framework for Matching Teaching and Learning Styles for Diverse Populations

James A. Anderson

Several frameworks exist that have been utilized to discuss and classify human styles of learning. Some are very generic and speak to a broad range of learning behaviors and dimensions. Other frameworks are more focused and highlight certain dimensions. A model proposed by Curry ( 1983) suggests that learning styles is a generic term under which three general levels of learning behavior are subsumed. These levels are as follows:

cognitive personality style: the individual's approach to adapting and assimilating information;

information processing style: the intellectual procedures used by individuals in assimilating information; and

instructional preference: the individual's preference for learning environments and activities.

A more specific model is proposed by Kolb ( 1984) and focuses primarily on how persons receive and process information. In particular, learning style activity is described in terms of the dimensions of perception, input, organization, processing, and understanding. Many of the seminal discussions about learning styles could fit under the umbrella of one of the two aforementioned approaches. What moved the discussion away from the general platform was the assertion by several authors that the existing models and frameworks did not account for the learning strengths and assets of populations that were diverse by race and culture. Later, the issue of gender differences also became prominent in this discussion.

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