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Learning Styles

There has been an explosion in research on learning styles in the past few decades. In short, the various theories contend that we all have different ways of learning. At its most basic these include a tendency to learn more visually or more through auditory input (i.e., through pictures and diagrams or through someone explaining a concept aloud). But there are many other ways researchers have identified varying learning styles. See the resources below for more.

Instructors from K12 through higher education have been encouraged for some time to adapt their instruction to students' various learning styles. Though there is a great deal of uncertainty about exactly how to go about this, the need for recognizing and adapting to different learning styles is generally accepted.

Learning Styles Online In online teaching, the ability to adapt is easier in some ways than in a traditional classroom. You might, for instance, provide written text, an audio file of the text being read, and a narrated PowerPoint for students to learn a concept. They could chose one, two or all ways to learn the material; thus allowing them to use the method that best suits their particular learning style.

Learning Style Readings

Here 's nice overview of various learning styles theories. It also includes an inventory.

Best Practices in Cyberspace: Motivating the Online Learner is an interesting article that focuses on teaching to different learning styles.

Recommended readings about learning styles.

Do learning styles really matter? This article suggests that it is more important to match your course design to the content than to students' various learning styles.

A nice explanation of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence.

An entire book online: Practical Approaches to Using Learning Styles in Higher Education.

Learning Style Inventories

In order to teach to a particular learning style, you have to know what it is. These inventories help identify students' learning styles.

This inventory tells takers if they are an auditory, visual, or tactile learner.

Learning style inventory

An inventory from Portland State University designed, the authors say, for assessing learning styles of online learners.

An Index of Learning Styles that provides assessment of four dimensions of learning (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global).