Friday, January 12, 2007

Learning Styles: A New Perspective

It's been a while since I have focused on education and training, what with all the exciting news from Apple about their new iPhone. But I came across a really neat article in Google Scholar search that I thought I would review for you here:

Learning and Teaching Styles In Engineering Education

Most instructors and learners deal with the "simple three" when it comes to learning methods, i.e. tactile, auditory, visual. These methods deal more with how to address a learning method rather than the learning method itself. Because it's easy to take away and implement, it's therefore easy to accept as the norm. But this article by Richard M. Felder covers a different approach to learning that I think should be recognized. Not only does it revolutionize the idea of learning styles and techniques, but it gives greater insight to the learning process. And, as with any insight, it makes implementation less of a complex process.

Karl Jung and Learning
Many of us know Karl Jung for his great insights to the human mind. His phychological analysis is well known, as it breaks up the human phyche into several archtypes with the ability to exibit any given archtype at any given time. That being said, the human phyche has it's preferences, which makes a lot of it's actions more predictable in it's behavior. This is where various concepts of personality traits come about (i.e., the number or color scheme).

For those of you who are not familiar with Karl Jung's work, try to think of it as an extension Quantum Physics. At any given time, anything can happen, but the universe is more likely to perform based on the most likely outcome. The human mind would be roughly the same, but far more volatile. That, in essence, is the basis for this article. Learners have 10 total possible reactions that they could give in a learning situation presenting 32 total combinations of learning styles at any given time. That being said, they are only likely to exibit 5 at any given time, and will most likely exibit the same 5 more often than not.

The five categories are as follows:
Perception
Input
Organization
Processing
Understanding

This is far from the common three that we see on a regular basis. Why is that? Because they are merely aspects of the five listed here. But how do we get 32 total possible combinations from these five? Because each of the five gives us two additional types, and those in combination make 2^5, or two to the fifth power. We will look at these five options, and the two additional types in each later.

Needless to say, this was a new perspective that I have been looking into, and will provide a full accounting once I fully analyze it.

1 comment:

Tall Paul said...

I would describe the selected categories more as "functions" of the learning process - activities required in order to maximize the neurological branching of the accepted data/behavior. The learning "methods" typically referred to then are still applicable, and become the avenue through which any of the particular functions is expressed - thus to compare the functions with the methods is incompatible (apples/oranges). Quite complementary to one another, rather than conflicting.