Thursday, March 20, 2008

LEARNING STYLES

by Hafilia Riniati Ismanto

The importance of being aware that people have different learning styles especially to teachers is that a teacher who know that different elements affect learning will make accomodations in his or her teaching to provide various elements in the learning conditions. While it would be impossible to provide all, giving little doses of as many elements as possible will help the different types of students in the classroom.
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Studies have shown that every person has his/her own learning style. Researchers have identified eighteen different factors that affect learning. These consist of elements that permit individuals to receive, store and use knowledge or abilities.

A person's learning style has nothing to do with his intelligence. The elements present under the conditions in which a person carries out his learning tasks often play an important role in determining how much that person would be able to learn.

These element fall into five categories:
1. Environmental
2. Emotional
3. Sociological
4. Physical
5. Psychological

1. ENVIRONMENTAL ELEMENTS

Some people need silence to learn while others seem to be able to block out sounds and can concentrate in the midst of confusion. On the other extreme are those who need noise in their environment in order to learn something new or difficult.

Many students find that they can only concentrate in bright light whereas others find that low light calms them and permits them to learn more easily.

Few people can learn in extreme temperatures. Studies have shown that people react differently to the same temperatures.

Some people learn best in informal surroundings where they can lounge around, lie prone, or seated on the floor. Others can concentrate only when they are seated upright at a desk.

2. EMOTIONAL ELEMENTS

Highly motivated students are better able to overcome learning style preferences than those who are unmotivated.
Persistent students have longer attention spans so they can focus. Students who are not persistent often look for "breaks" while they are learning. This generally indicates short attention spans.
The element of responsibility correlates with conformity. Students who do not conform have been shown to learn more easily when they are permitted several options.
Some students cannot do anything unless they are given explicit directions. Others need only general outlines and manage to continue the work on their own.
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3. SOCIOLOGICAL ELEMENTS
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Sociological elements refer to learning styles an individual applies in relation to other individuals. Some students learn much better alone, others need to work in pairs or teams. Some like to learn with people who are younger or older, while others prefer to be with peers. A certain percentage cannot work if anyone else is present while others may not have the skills to work alone; and still others will work best with different kinds of media. Some can work well with any combination and are often referred to as those who learn in varied ways.
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4. PHYSICAL ELEMENTS
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An auditory learner usually remembers about 75% of what he/she hears in a40-50 minute lecture. A young child, however, would not be able to remember that much of what is said.
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More people are more visual than auditory in style and visual learners will normally remember about 75% of what he/she read or sees during a 40-50 minute session.
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Most children do not become visual until they are in the third or fourth grades. The younger the learner, the more tactile and kinesthetic he/she may be in style. Perceptual preference seems to evolve for most students from psychomotor (tactile-kinesthetic) to visual as they mature.
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Some people have to drink, eat, chew, smoke. or bite on objects as they concentrate while others do not.
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Some people are early birds while others are night owls and people show either high or low energy levels at different times of the day or evening.
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Some learners cannot sit still for long periods of time while others cannot sit even for short periods. Highly active learners should be allowed some mobility during the period of instruction. Given this option they can usually concentrate for longer periods of time, learn, and reacall more thatn when they are required to remain still.
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5. PSYCHOLOGICAL ELEMENTS
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Some students learn best given items sequentially in a well-ordered continuum while others cannot begin to concentrate on content without first being given an initial overall picture of the meaning and use of what will be taught. The first type of learning is called analytic; the second, global.
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Studies have shown that some people are left-brain-preferenced while others are right-preferenced. Both types learn differently. Right-preferenced students are less bothered by sound, prefer dim illumination, require informal settings and are less motivated and less persistent than left-preferenced students. They also prefer learning with peers and prefer tactile stimulation rather than auditory or visual.
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Impulsive students often call out answers withous first considering different possibilities. Reflective students rarely volunteer information although they may know the answers.

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