Just as every teacher has an individualized style, every student has a preferred way of learning. As an instructor, understanding the range of styles and keeping them in mind while you are planning will help make your classes more successful.
One of the most popular approaches to learning styles, the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model2, breaks learning into four categories: Active vs. Reflective, Sensing vs. Intuitive, Visual vs. Verbal and Sequential vs. Global. The table below gives an explanation for each and the percentage of students who prefer that approach.3 It is important to keep in mind that most people are a combination of all of these qualities!
|learn best by doing something physical with the information||prefer data and facts||prefer charts, diagrams and pictures||easily make linear connections between individual steps|
|do the processing in their heads||prefer theories & interpretations of factual information||prefer the spoken or written word||must get "big picture" before individual pieces fall into place|
What's your learning style? Take the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire.
3Susan M. Montgomery, "Addressing Diverse Learning Styles Through the Use of Multimedia" ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education '95 Session 3a2 - MULTIMEDIA 1. <http://fie.engrng.pitt.edu/fie95/3a2/3a22/3a22.htm>