The Benefits of Understanding Learning Styles
The Benefits of Understanding Learning Styles
The Benefits of Understanding Learning Styles
Learning begins at a very early stage in a person’s life. In most cases, the early childhood, which is between birth and six years of age, is very important because there are various things that help in the learning process. At an early stage, the young child finds everything to be new and the curiosity is high too. Parents and lower classes teachers know this and they try to educate the children on easy things to keep them interested in what is happening round (Allen et al. 2010). This means that the parents and the family present are the ones responsible with ensuring that the first step in learning begins. Various other reasons and factors also play a major role in this because the child is placed at a point where everything affects them and as growth and development goes on, new styles of learning take over. This paper will look at the factors that affect the ability to acquire a learning style, the benefits of these styles and the problems that affect them.
Factors affecting learning styles
The first and most important part of learning is the environment in which it happens. Learning is all about looking at what is happening around us and being able to do the same after sometime. Parents are expected to create an atmosphere that will encourage their children to start the learning process (Pritchard, 2005). After that, the friends that the children make and the teachers they meet in school will affect their ability to express themselves. For example, the way the school talks or the language used will have an effect on how well the students are able to express themselves and to react to new things. In certain classes, such as languages, the pronunciation of the teachers and the influence of other languages may affect how the students will talk as well (Tsai, 2008). If the environment encourages the students to lack confidence, then the student will not grow confident. If the teachers and parents are supportive however, the student adapts faster and learns from those around them easier.
The second factor is the ability to repeat and master the learning style. Many students have varying strategies that they use to learn. There are those that use revision books and there are those that learn faster in class (Pritchard, 2005). In addition, others prefer having a tutor while others prefer creating groups among their classmates. In general, each of these groups is using a different strategy to achieve the same goal, which is to learn. Once a student has identified what they are comfortable with, they can do it repeatedly and with time develop smarter ways to do the same thing. This is one way of understanding the best learning style and once it is figured out, it becomes easier to enjoy the benefits.
For most academic areas and lessons, it is important for a student to differentiate what they intend to do with the information they are acquiring. For instance, there are many things taught in school yet there are those that will be important for every part of life and those that will lose value with time (Tsai, 2008). This means that a student should know the learning style that will boost short-term memory and those that will enable long-term remembrance of the same. In many cases, if a student intends to keep something in their memories for long, they should device a way to learn a style that reminds them of what they learnt. This could be by writing and revisiting short notes or by creating a song that has all the information they want to remember making parts of the song.
The Benefits of Learning Styles
It has been proven that not all study patterns work for every student the same way when in the learning process. There are students that are fast learners and those that are slow. This is the same as saying that some students have the ability of attending a class and understanding everything the teacher says and others need to carry their work home and repeat. In the same way, there are classes that whatever is taught will be useful later which means that it has to be stored in the long-term memory. This means that understanding individual learning styles enables better relaxation in some students. Students who understand their learning styles tend to be more relaxed than those that do not (Pritchard, 2005). To understand all these therefore, it is important that teachers find a way of understanding their students and help them come up with learning styles that will be useful to each one individually. The teachers can do this by creating a safe environment for the students where they feel confident and free to participate in many areas.
Similarly, the use of additional information and different formats of presentation also have an impact on the learning process of a student. This is in reference to the use of diagrams and pictorial representation of information (Tsai, 2008). Images are always thought provoking and the reason they are used in telling stories in children books is that they improve the ability of the student to place a thought on a certain appearance and relate it to develop meaning.
The use of graphs and charts that normally show conclusive information of what is being discussed also create the ability in an individual to understand much faster. There are students who find that using different pens and colors to highlight their work when reading improves their ability to understand. The different colors could be used to underline key ideas, main points, and problematic areas (Allen et al. 2010). Once the classes are over, they can choose to research further or ask for explanations from their teachers. Generally, this shows that the learning style that involves highlighting, coloring and making the main points is yet another advantage of understanding the benefit in a learning style.
The way the lessons are put together such that students can attend classes and learn is another important aspect of identifying the benefit of other learning styles. For instance, there are different subjects in a school and some of them are best taught at different times in the day. Therefore, the harder subjects can be taught in the daytime when the minds of the students are fresh (Tsai, 2008). These are courses like mathematics and sciences. Languages and humanities, which are much easier, can be slotted in afternoon classes because they are understandable in both times. This means that a teacher identifying this will have the ability to keep up with the performance of the students.
At other instances, the teachers can create course rubrics that will help the students keep up with what they are expected to do and to know what they are required to study before or after the class. When the lessons are ongoing, teachers may give the opportunity to the students to ask questions concerning what they do not understand (Pritchard, 2005). This will make the learning system more systematic and deeper enough for the students to keep up with the teacher and the overall studies. All this means that, based on how well the students understand their work there are those that will work best when the teacher gives them hands on positions in the classes and those that will be less enthusiastic.
Finally yet importantly, improving the thinking ability of students by the teachers is another way that the teachers can improve the ability of students to develop their own learning style (Allen et al. 2010). For instance, emphasizing the importance of developing critical thinking skills is yet another major step for the students because they are able to analyze stuff on their own. In the same case, students are able to find ways of solving problems on their own and this applies mainly in the academic setting. The ability to have problem solving skills builds up the possibilities of improved learning and hence most of the issues that the students face are much easier. Once again, this point proves that the ability of students to understand their learning styles is very important and they will eventually handle many other areas with ease.
Problems that face learning styles
In the course of an individual’s education, many factors determine whether the student will benefit from the learning styles acquired. This means that despite the fact that there are many benefits to understanding the learning styles that work, there also problems that may come from depending on them (Allen et al. 2010). For instance, students benefit from using groups as a way of studying but at the same time, the ideas in the group may bring about confusion and influences that may not be beneficial. This generally means that the environment in which the learning process is taking place may have a great effect on the learning process.
On the other hand, as a student grows, there is the need to change the learning technique because of the advanced levels. This constant change may cause harm because the student may not realize which style works best for them. In addition, there in an increase in what needs to be studied and in how hard the work will be (Allen et al. 2010). Similarly, the pictorial presentations, images, graphs and charts are no longer as obvious as they were as times go by. This means that work and studies keeps getting complicated and everything requires more analysis. This generally means that instead of making it easier to learn, it may get harder and more complex that before making different learning styles unfruitful.
In conclusion, this essay shows that there are many styles used in the learning process. Similarly, it shows that the styles need to be repeated to become easier to understanding and to apply. The teachers, the parents and fellow classmates play a major role in this process. From the discussion above, it is certain that the type of learning style a student chooses is what they consider best for themselves (Pritchard, 2005). The same thing applies to the teacher who also gives advices that will have an effect on the student’s performance if they choose to take it or not.
Overall, learning styles have great value in the learning process of any student and in every level of study because they are considered crucial. However, if they are not carefully chosen and evaluated the effect may be different affecting the success of the learning style in a negative way. This will slowly affect the student’s ability to learn, as well as, the progress in class.
Allen, K., Scheve, J., & Nieter, V. (2010). Understanding learning styles: Making a difference for diverse learners. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
Pritchard, A. (2005). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. London: David Fulton.
Tsai, H.-H. (2008). Learning styles and online participation of practicing teachers in an online support group: A mixed method study of the influence of learning styles on online participation, conceptual change, and perceptions of problem solving and support. Columbia, Mo: University of Missouri-Columbia.
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