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

5
Learning Styles and the Changing Face of Community Colleges

William Purkiss

A western man saw his Asian friend putting a bowl of rice on his grandfather's grave and asked, "When will your grandfather get to eat the rice?" To which his friend replied, "At the same time that your grandfather gets up to smell the flowers you put on his grave." Different means different, not better than or worse than. ( Cuch, 1987, p. 65)

During the past election, candidate Bill Clinton said that, during their lifetimes, current high school seniors will face the probability of seven different professions, six of which have not yet been invented. He has challenged the nation's educators to develop learners who are not only literate, numerate, and prepared for some professional endeavor, but who also are capable of synthesizing developing information structures into evolving competencies for yet undefined tasks in the information-oriented world of the twenty-first century. Building on this theme of the need for increasing learner sophistication is the growing challenge of unskilled manufacturing positions leaving the country for places south and far to the east.

This chapter examines our community colleges, the most appropriate social institution to respond to these issues. Looking first to the role of this unique American educational experience in the current postsecondary milieu and the need for a range of new curricular and pedagogical strategies to meet the emerging challenges, the chapter goes on to review the range of literature directly relating learning style inquiry with both the area of adult learning and the community college. A recently completed study will be explored, providing some startling information about community colleges in what appears to be a clear

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