Tertiary teaching in New Zealand/Educational culture in New Zealand/How do people learn?/Learning styles

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Learning styles

Whilst the previous sections give us a general overview of how we people learn, it is important to remember that each learner is different. We all have our own preferences when it comes
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to learning that are influenced by the ways in which we think - our personalities, our backgrounds and our culture. In an attempt to capture and make sense of some of this, there are a large range of theories and models around learning styles and preferences. A popular model in the New Zealand context is the VARK – guide to learning styles. Neil Fleming has developed a tool to explore learning preferences that considers these in terms of the following modes of learning
  • visual
  • aural
  • kinaesthetic
  • reader/writer

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1. Complete the VARK questionnaire. (see the links below)

2.Print or download a copy if you don’t want to do this online.

3.Compare your results with the vark categories.

4.Read the page on understanding the results

Vark questionnaire

Download a copy

Vark categories

Understanding the results

Although they may have a preference, students will often utilise a variety of learning styles to enable their learning.

From a teaching perspective it is useful to be aware to students learning styles and make an effort to cater to a variety of these through using mixed teaching methods thus if teaching large numbers of students there is a greater opportunity to appeal to a wider range of learning styles.

If working with smaller numbers of students there is more opportunity to design teaching methods to better suit the needs of the smaller group.

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Do you think your learning preference impacts in any way on your teaching style? Post your thoughts to the Moodle forum and reply to at least three other postings.