Incorporating Learning Styles into the Curricula of Two Programs in a College of Health-Related Professions
Joyce A. Miller and Rose F. Lefkowitz
College professors! Hear the clarion call! Imagine, for a moment, that you are a student in your own classroom. The professor is lecturing for about two hours and you are bonded to your seat required to listen. By nature, you are a visual and tactual learner and prefer to have some hands-on experience when learning new and difficult information. You want to see some videotapes, slides, and/or transparencies and the professor provides none. Maybe you would like to get a feel for the new material by manipulating models or touching the keyboard of a microcomputer. In this scenario, the professor is teaching, but is the student learning?
Are you aware that learning-styles-based teaching significantly improved the academic achievement and attitudes of college students (see Appendix I)? Despite a plethora of supportive research, on the college scene, acceptance of diversity among learners and the need to accommodate various styles has not been the rule. In fact, after identifying the learning styles of 109 undergraduate college students Miller, Alway, and McKinley ( 1987) recommended that faculty teach the students skills so that they could adopt a better learning style! That style may be choice has been negated by Restak ( 1991), Thies ( 1979), and Milgram, Dunn, and Price ( 1993), who argued that almost four-fifths of learning style is biological and further embedded in cultural norms. Learning-styles interventions also have been found to be effective in maintaining college enrollment ( Nelson, et al., 1993) and for showing students how to study and do their homework through their style strengths ( Lenehan et al., 1994).
However, in our College of Health-Related Professions, two programs,