Learning Styles

Learning Styles

When discussing learning styles, the most familiar component is preferred sensory modality.   In fact, when people talk about learning styles they usually mean which of the VAKT sensory receptors does the learner prefer.  (VAKT stands for Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Tactile). We have already discussed that this model is too simplistic (see Step 3: Verbalize).

Many of you are also familiar with the idea of “left brain” vs. “right brain” learners or conceptual vs. detail oriented learners.  This idea as presented is also too simplistic.  For a learner to own their knowledge at the level where they can troubleshoot they need to understand both the concept AND the details.  Understanding how a particular learner approaches information tells the teacher how to prepare the lesson.  But what should we do when we teach a class with both of these learning styles being taught to simultaneously?  I propose you teach in a circular fashion.  Begin with the concept, for the detail oriented learner can wait for the details.  However, if you begin with the details the conceptual learner has no way of organizing the details so they get lost.  Think about the way people approach doing a jigsaw puzzle.  One approach is to look at how the individual pieces connect.  A person who does this may even be able to put the puzzle together on the reverse side, with no picture cues.  Another approach is to look at the picture on the box, so that you have a frame work by which to place all the individual puzzle pieces.  The former is your detail oriented learner and the latter is your conceptual learner.  If your lesson is prepared by first explaining the concept your conceptual learner will now have the framework in which to put the upcoming details.  Your detail oriented learner will need to be reminded of the concept after they get the details since the concept meant nothing to them without first having the details.  To them the concept is the glue holding the puzzle together, rather than the framework guiding them in placement.

As an example,  when you are teaching phonics what is the concept? Is it explicitly taught?

The next component to learning style we discussed in Engaging Materials part 2.  While most people know these concepts, we do not think about how they contribute to learning and need to be incorporated into the lesson planning.  I am referring to level of concreteness.  Imagine (abstract right there 😊) if geometry was taught by description only, no graphics shown.  I am sure you can see how people would have a much harder time learning with such an abstract method.  The airplane was a concept that Aristotle struggled mightily to get people to understand.  This is because while to him it was concrete enough to draw, to his generation it was as much an abstract idea as me trying to convince people that my time travel machine can work, if you just help me tweak it, because I have drawn diagrams of it.  You see how I made an abstract idea more concrete by giving you an example you could relate to and thus understand what I am trying to communicate?  You’ll also note how the burden is on me, the speaker to help you understand?  While it may be frustrating to me if I could not come up with a relatable example I think you can see how unfair it would be for me to tell you that you aren’t trying hard enough, are lazy or worse, stupid because I have failed to take my audience into account and made sure to speak to their level of understanding.

To be continued…

Related Post


  1. After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a
    comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment.
    Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. You should not get more than one notice. I will have to look into it.

  2. It’s remarkable for me to have a web site, which is valuable in support of my knowledge.
    Thanks admin

  3. It is not my first time to go to see this website, i am browsing this web site dailly and take good data from here everyday.

  4. I’m pretty pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!!
    I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new things on your website.

  5. Great items from you, man. I have take into account your stuff previous to and you are just too excellent.
    I actually like what you have brought here, certainly like what you are stating and the way wherein you assert it. You’re making it enjoyable and you still take care of to say it wise. I cant wait to learn far more from you. This is really a great web site.

  6. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing for your feed and I hope you write once more soon!

Leave a Reply