I have always considered myself an analytical person and as an instructional designer, I consistently gave a lot of thought to how I presented training material to my students in an effort to engage them and help them to learn a skill. The foundation of how I structured my approach to learners was based upon the type of learners McCarthy (1981) identified pertaining to visual, auditory and kinesthetic or seeing, hearing and doing. Over the past weeks, after being exposed to different learning theories and learning styles, I have come to realize the simplicity of my ways. I understand that in a classroom environment I may have learners that want to sit and listen as I explain how to do something, as others may want to see the task as I talk about it, while another group wants to walk through it on their computer as I explain, but this is merely the beginning.
There are learning theories that can change your approach to how the material is presented and ways you can assist the learner in remembering what you taught them. Also the intelligence or abilities of your student, based upon the Multiple Intelligence theory (Armstrong, 2009), can help you to appeal to their potential strengths and weaknesses in learning. As a student and life-long learner myself, I realize that the type of learner I am fluctuates with the material that is being presented, but to some degree, that is expected. You can’t learn how to swim while laying on the carpet in your living room. When it comes to learning styles, one theory I can relate to is the Cognitive Learning theory which focuses on the conceptualization of students’ learning processes and addresses the issue of how information is received, organized, stored, and retrieved by the mind. Technology plays a role in my learning by helping me to organize my thoughts into chunks. I prefer thirds. Like a book that has an introduction, body and conclusion, I rank my sources in order of importance for retrieval.
Armstrong, T. (2009). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Available in the Walden Library databases. Chapter 1, “The Foundations of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences”, Chapter 2, “MI and Personal Development”
Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf