Do Learning Styles Even Exist?

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Have you heard of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Over the weekend I completed a learning style inventory assessment, and it provided me with some useful insight on my learning preferences. Below you will see my scores. Do you notice that my strongest modalities are Logical and Social? What does that really mean?  Before the end of the day, take this assessment and see how you stack up. Do your results make sense, or are they a complete surprise?

Visual 11
Social 16
Physical 12
Aural 6
Verbal 6
Solitary 12
Logical 16

Visual/Spatial — Visual learners learn better when information is presented to them visually using an image or graph/chart.

Bodily/Kinesthetic - Bodily/Kinesthetic learners will benefit from hands on learning, and acting things out. Students will benefit from participating in real world/hands on activities.

Musical — Implementing music and rhythm into instruction will help reach students that is learns best from the musical learning style. When teaching 8th grade math, I had my students write  a song about simplifying fractions. Many of them are seniors in high school now, and can still repeat the song on command.

Interpersonal — Group projects work best for this category. Interpersonal learners tend to generate ideas from group discussion, where the content is ingrained into the minds of the student.

Intrapersonal - Independent study is a great way to reach interpersonal learners. It is important to provide this type of learner with the opportunity to engage in independent study.

Linguistic — This type of learner uses reading and the written word to express their knowledge and understanding of the content.

Mathematical — This is my favorite way to learn. I love reasoning my way through things, and developing a logical/rational answer to questions. If I have to solve a puzzle, I will get it done! If I have to write an essay, it will take me a while.

It is important to be aware of these learning styles and their use when differentiating instruction or running tutoring sessions. What happens when someone tells us learning styles aren’t real? Watch this video, and take some time to leave a comment below. I have my own opinions, but I will wait to voice them until you have had the chance to watch the video, and comment. Questions you should ask yourself while watching the video:  Does the presenter make a valid point? How does he justify his statement? How would you rebut his statement?

As always, I invite you to chat with me on Facebook and Twitter!

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About Eric Clark

Eric is a proud husband and father who grew up in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont. After high school, Eric attended Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. After teaching middle school math for two years, he took over as the Assistant Director of Academic Services at Eastern Nazarene College. On July 1st 2011, Eric because the Director of the Center for Academic Success at Eastern Nazarene College.

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  • Interesting topic. As in most cases the truth is most likely in the middle. To disregard learning styles is careless but I believe their use in schools is often overstated. For example, having a student write a song/rap or playing a topic related song in class is seen as appealing to musical learners. When I use these assignment, however, I find students interested that have not “tested” as musical learners. Their interest is most likely driven by the mental stimulation of a different method of instruction. Some students with a true musical learning style may benefit greatly but all students benefit some. Whether it’s a learning style or not is irrelevant to me. Variety equals engagement which leads to learning. Engagement is everyone’s learning style.

    Comment by Bill Mann — October 16, 2011 @ 5:51 am
  • Bill, thank you for taking the time to comment. We are totally on the same page, and I think engagement is the key. As educators, we need to do whatever we can to get our students engaged in learning. When we get our students to engage, great things will happen.


    Comment by Eric Clark — October 19, 2011 @ 9:58 am

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