How Do I Learn about Learning Styles?
- 2008 16 Jul
Over 20 years ago I had college classes which introduced me to “learning styles.” It seemed so simple to categorize students or anyone into three main groups – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – based on tendencies displayed when approaching learning. Research, over the past 2 decades, has shown this process to be very complex in determining one’s style and approach to incorporate the individual’s strengths while shoring up the weaker areas in the over-all learning process.
It helps us if we, as home schooling parents, have a general working knowledge of the learning styles, multiple intelligence and applications as it pertains to our children. Remember, you do not need to hold a college degree to familiarize yourself with the aspects that will better equip you to train and understand the way you or your child think.
Where should I begin?
Parents are often unsure about assessing their own child so start with yourself. On the internet, you can find the “Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire,” 1 provided by NC State University. The results will appear immediately after you answer the questions and hit “submit.” Links will also provide you with strategies to use in your own learning style approach. This questionnaire may be printed out as well as the results if you want to give it to your children. I took the test to determine if my style has changed over the years. I am sure you will gain good information, as I did!
Another great resource is Howard Gardner’s theory of the 7 Multiple Intelligences [MI]. “Howard Gardner proposed at least seven relatively autonomous intellectual capacities that individuals employ to approach problems and create products: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences.” He has since revised the list to include an 8th – naturalist.
LdPride (Learning Disability) has another test which provides you with a questionnaire and assessment for learning styles.2
Walter McKenzie has created a helpful site which provides interactive information for each of nine different learning styles.3 From core characteristics and information specific to each style, the site show how to support this style in your teaching. You will also find technologies which stimulate each different intelligence. Very interesting and helpful for parents, and especially homeschoolers.
SNOW (Special Needs Ontario Window)4 appears to have good resources to assist you in developing an educational plan for your child or just to help you determine how you learn. As with all Internet usage, take time to preview the site before your child does. Some of the sites also offer products and materials for sale, so it’s best to research and make informed purchases.
Kym Wright has previewed, researched and gathered information on learning styles. In her seminars, she teaches how to recognize the style(s) which best fit your child(ren). How to best teach each style, supports to help them learn best in classroom and home situations, and tips on specific curriculum to help each learning style learn best. You can download ten pages of notes from Kym’s research at her site.5
For more information on learning styles: www.KymWright.com/Learning_Style_Notes.htm
1. www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html. The tests at all websites listed are free.
Laura and her husband Jonathan began home schooling their daughters, Stephanie and Mary in 1990. The family is very active in the home schooling community.