Learning Strategy for Different Student Groups

Introduction

Varying student needs often complicate the learning process. Stated differently, one learning strategy could not successfully work for different student groups (Reid, 2005). However, just as students have different learning styles; teachers also have different teaching styles. The most common styles are the kinesthetic teaching style, tactual teaching style, auditory teaching style, and the visual teaching style (Haggart, 2011). For these teaching styles to meet their goals, instructors have to know how they appeal to different student groups (Reid, 2005). Therefore, it is pertinent for instructors to know which learning style best suits a student group (Haggart, 2011; Allen et al., 2010). This paper identifies four groups of learners (visual learners, aural learners, learners who like to read and write, and doers) as the main learning groups. It also shows different learning strategies that appeal to them and outlines the implications for implementing these learning strategies. First, it shows the learning styles that would appeal to visual learners.

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Learning Experiences that appeal to Visual Learners

Visual learners are different from other types of learners because they have a good understanding of the “big picture” (LeFever, 2011). Therefore, it is useful for an instructor to provide them with comprehensive information, as opposed to small and incremental information (Willis & Kindle-Hodson, 1999). Part of this strategy also involves using visual clues or landmarks to convey important learning information to this student group. This recommendation aligns with the results outlined in the questionnaire sample because it shows the importance of physical demonstrations for visual learners. Indeed, my questionnaire results show the preference for maps, demonstrations and learning through observations (questions one, three, and four) for visual learners. These characteristics are appropriate for this type of learner because they prefer to consume information in large chunks (at once) (Allen, Sheve, Nieter, & Kaiser, 2010). Therefore, feeding them with information through the gradual accretion of isolated facts slows them down (Allen et al., 2010). There is scientific evidence that demonstrates the preference for this learning style. For example, SGS (2015) says visual learners are adept at working with visual images in their minds. Their preference for visual learning comes from their desire to bring order by constructing arranging and coding information (visually). Therefore, using visual media, such as films and plays, is instrumental in helping this group of students to learn new information.

Learning Experiences for Aural Learners

Contrary to visual learners, aural learners prefer to consume spoken, or heard information. Based on this characteristic, ILSA (2015) says questioning is an important learning strategy for this group of learners. Therefore, instructors are likely to have a high success rate by having one-on-one communications with learners who have this learning preference. Introducing panel discussions, monologues, and oral discussions are useful strategies for helping this group of learners to understand new information (ILSA, 2015). Engaging this group of learners through debates, interviews, and dialogues are also useful learning experiences that an instructor would provide aural learners (Sims & Sims, 1995).

Learning Experiences for Learners who Prefer to Read and Write

Learners who learn best by reading and writing have a high attention to detail (Haggart, 2011). In the questionnaire, I highlighted situations where learners prefer to use this strategy. Usually, such students prefer to use learning materials that emphasize on clarity of information. For example, in the fifth question, the questionnaire shows that I would choose this learning strategy when making purchasing decisions. Here, I would read the product details and use the information collected to make such decisions. Increasing the number of quizzes and learning experiences in the learning curriculum is an effective learning experience that instructors could introduce into the curriculum when teaching this student group. For purposes of appealing to students’ needs to read, an instructor could give them handouts and recommend several books for them to read in their free time. Collectively, these factors illustrate learning experiences for learners who prefer to read and write.

Learning Experiences for Learners who learn best by doing

Increasing the level of active learning in the school environment is a viable strategy, proved by many researchers, to teach students who learn best by doing (Thompson, 2015). Instructors could provide many learning experiences for such students. For example, they could create brainstorming sessions where students share ideas about different learning issues (Thompson, 2015). Researchers have also proved that working in small groups is among the most effective methods for directing these learning sessions because students find it easier to share ideas this way (Haggart, 2011; Allen et al., 2010). Role-playing is also another effective learning experience for this group of learners. Particularly, allowing learners to play an active role in their school engagements is important in boosting learners’ confidence (Allen et al., 2010). For this reason, Thompson (2015) encourages instructors to “Prepare a set of guidelines that encourage them to take the lead in designing effective conferences and allow them to assume responsibility for their role as conference facilitators (p. 1). Comparatively, encouraging students to solve mysteries, as part of the learning program, is essential in helping them to learn better (Haggart, 2011; Allen et al., 2010). This learning experience allows them to have a fun experience when learning because it involves students more than watching or listening to their instructors (Thompson, 2015). The learning experiences outlined in this section of the paper appeal to one innate attribute of students who love to learn by doing – their need for active learning.

Implications of Recommendations on Effective Training

Effective training is an important attribute in helping students to grasp new information. However, it could not happen if instructors are ignorant about the learning needs of different student groups (Haggart, 2011; Allen et al., 2010). This paper has shown that learners have different learning characteristics. The recommendations outlined in this paper appeal to these needs. For example, this paper has shown that role-playing appeals to the needs of active learners. Similarly, this paper has proposed that most instructors should expose their aural learners to one-on-one communications as an important learning experience. These recommendations create a focused nature of the learning experience. The focused nature of learning could mean that learning institutions allocate more resources for teaching because using different learning strategies means redesigning the learning curriculum to include different strategies (Dunn & Griggs, 2000). Therefore, it may be more expensive for instructors to use the focused approach because a general learning approach is cheaper and easier to implement. Nonetheless, instructors should be aware of the different learning styles that suit different groups. Thereafter, they should know the experiences to provide each group. This is the only way they would increase the effectiveness of their learning process.

References

Allen, K., Sheve, J., Nieter, V., & Kaiser, G. (2010). Understanding Learning Styles: Making a Difference for Diverse Learners. New York, NY: Shell Education.

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Dunn, R., & Griggs, S. (2000). Practical Approaches to Using Learning Styles in Higher Education Greenwood. New York, NY: Publishing Group.

Haggart, W. (2011). Discipline and Learning Styles: An Educator’s Guide. New York, NY: Worthy Shorts Inc.

ILSA. (2015). Auditory Learning Strategies for People Who Prefer to Begin by Listening. Web.

LeFever, M. (2011). Learning Styles. New York, NY: David C Cook.

SGS. (2015). Visual/spatial learning. Web.

Thompson, J. (2015). 40 Active Learning Strategies for Active Students. Web.

Reid, G. (2005). Learning Styles and Inclusion. London, UK: SAGE.

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Sims, R., & Sims, S. (1995). The Importance of Learning Styles: Understanding the Implications for Learning, Course Design, and Education. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Willis, M., & Kindle-Hodson, V. (1999). Discover Your Child’s Learning Style: Children Learn in Unique Ways – Here’s the Key to Every Child’s Learning Success. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group.

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