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Sites about learning styles


Our amazing minds and bodies can get information from around us in many different ways - seeing things, hearing things, doing things. Then our brains work with that information, organizing it, storing it in our memories, rearranging it, making connections to information we already have. This 'remembering and organizing' process can also take different routes - are we thinking in pictures or words? Do we remember details in isolation or 'big ideas'?

When we're trying to learn things, it helps to know which 'channels' of learning are the most efficient. For example, an auditory learner might have to look at something 15 times to get the information into her memory - but had she read that into a tape and played it cruising down the highway, listening three times would have sufficed. Her friend Verna Visual the Picture Thinker would do well to make a diagram or drawing, because when she reflects back pictures come up faster than words. Their buddy Kinesthetic Kim, now, learns much faster when she's *doing* something with the information -- whether it's words or pictures or a physical skill. The act of drawing or writing information helps; just moving while she thinks helps!

As some of the articles below point out, moving from the 'stronger' channels into other areas has definite benefits in helping the learner really remember, process and understand the material. Once the words are there, if you can also express ideas in pictures, you've got command of that stuff... and vice versa.

Read "learning style" articles with a grain of salt firmly in hand. Different sources will claim that "x percentage" of people are visual or auditory learners... the percentages are different in different articles and it's not clear where the information came from. Likewise, one source may say "kids have trouble in school because they are visual learners and so many of the tasks are auditory," and another will say exactly the opposite.

Generally, these inventories are not scientifically designed. Nobody's gone and wired up people's brains to see whether or not people who 'test out' to be visual learners really process information more rapidly or more often using the 'visual processing' areas of the brain. Some of the articles below have some very valuable commentary about what to do with the information we get from a 'learning style inventory,' including the important note that we can strengthen our 'weaker channels' by using them, and that we can use different channels for different tasks. You might also want to try several different inventories to see just how consistent the results are for you.

LD Pride's Learning Style and Multiplie Intelligence Information: an excellent summary of the "seven intelligences" and practical suggestions for capitalizing on your strengths.

Learning Style Inventory: A Multiple Intelligences ApproachA lot of space in educational journals is spent on "the seven intelligences," and how schools tend to focus on two of them - logical/mathematical and verbal/linguistic. While all that journal space hasn't much changed what students are required to do in classes, this inventory can get you thinking about the other kinds of learning and thinking that go on in life (read the article to find out what they are ;))-- and can uncover some strengths you may not have realized you had.

Learning Style Inventoryand Compensating for Weakness in Learning StyleThe Learning Style inventory has frames and takes serious time to come up on your screen, but don't miss the "Compensating" article for some very good practical advice for how to develop those 'weaker' channels... and how to handle learning situations where your strengths don't match the task.



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