Your Approach to Learning: Self-Assessment
What’s Your Style?
The notion that each of us has a particular style and approach to learning is appealing in that it offers some explanation as to why we are successful in some situations and not in others. This appeal has led to a booming learning styles assessment industry. However, at this point, very little empirical evidence seems to support the notion that learning outcomes improve when learning styles are matched to instructional methods. Further, researchers and others interested in learning styles theories and applications are divided among various camps, each with somewhat different concerns: theoretical, pedagogical and commercial.
Most would agree, however, on the following points:
- The process of learning is developmental. We learn differently in our childhoods, adolescence and in adulthood and, perhaps, as we move from novice to expert in particular areas.
- Approaches to learning are not static; they change over time and in different contexts depending on what you are learning, your prior experience with the subject and how and where you are learning it.
- Context for learning plays a critical role in how well you are supported. Context includes the fit between you and your instructor, your social environment, your own values, approach and preparedness for learning, the learning materials and activities, and the institution (and its values about learning and learners).