Fitting the Pieces Together

I remember struggling with the simple question, how do you learn? Well, no longer do I feel clueless and I now understand the implications of not knowing the answer.   I have always considered myself an auditory and visual learner, because I must hear it, see it and experience it to absorb it. I just didn’t make the connections between learning styles and how they affect learning.  Gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the different learning theories and styles did not change my view on how I learn, but it has broaden my awareness of how I can influence my own learning with the appropriate strategies applied at the right time. Frankly, it has eased my worries about my own intelligence.  Amy Cherwin put it simply when she said that learning style is the way we tend to learn best. It involves the preferred method of taking in, organizing, and making sense of information. Learning styles do not tell us about a person’s abilities or intelligence, but they can help us understand why some task seem easier for us than others (Amy Cherwin 2013).

 I have learned that there are three dominant learning styles, visual, auditory, kinesthetic. Most importantly and to my surprise, most people possess multiple learning style, and these styles will fluctuate depending on the context or lesson. It is imperative to know that one learning style is not the only learning style that is dominant with respect to an individual or discipline.  It is known, that one person can have several learning styles relative to a specific course or subject (Dunn et al., 1994).  Knowing my preferred learning style has afforded me the opportunity to learn new study habits and gain knowledge of how to plan appropriate strategies for the different learning challenges I will face in the future. I believe that an understanding of all learning styles will allow me to stretch beyond by my own preference and develop a more balanced approach to learning.  This will effectively improve my learning and will expose me to many different ways of perceiving new information. There are several benefits of thinking about and understanding my learning preference: people learn most effectively when strategies used are closely matched with their preferred learning style, learning can improve by knowing what our strengths are and then doing more of what works. Different situation and learning environments require different learning strategies, so it is best to have a large repertoire from which to draw.

Technology has influenced my learning in many ways. Social-networking tools such as the iPad and smartphone play a vital role in my learning process. I search and record needed information on a daily basis using search engines.  Internet communication such as blogs and podcasts are just a few of the sources that offer me radically new ways to research, create, and learn new information. The RSS feeds on my blog page is powerful toll that I use to follow organizations, link to certain sites, search videos and much more. With all these resource available, I have built a learning network that is constantly growing, which allows me access to the most up-to-date information on any topic.  The school database allow me the opportunity to easily access academic information and its source. Technology has also placed in a   Connectivist learning environment where I am able to learn independently, away from the educational institution and be engaged in aggregating, relating, creating, and sharing activities.

 

References:

Mind Tool blog site http://www.mindtools.com/mnemlsty.html

Student Development Centre, The University of Western Ontario

Web Article: Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences

American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.consorzionettuno.it/materiali/B/697/773/16/Testi/Gardner/Gardner_multiple_intelligent.p

Web Article: 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

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