"Learning style is the way in which each learner begins to concentrate on, process, absorb, and retain new and difficult information" (Dunn and Dunn, 1992; 1993; 1999; cited in Dunn & Burke, 2008, p. 2). Simply put, learning style is the way a person prefers to learn or learns best.
"There is no currently existing overall, holistic theory of learning styles...which others have labeled cognitive controls, cognitive styles, or personality" (Santo, n.d., http://people.usd.edu/~ssanto/styles.html). Learning theories include those of Canfield, Dunn & Dunn, Felder-Silverman, Grasha-Reichmann, Gregorc, and Kolb. A related theory, Multiple Intelligences (MI), was developed by Howard Gardner to describe eight potentials or abilities that influence learning (Santo, n.d., http://people.usd.edu/~ssanto/multiple.html)
The Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles model has a research base that spans several decades and describes up to 21 elements in five categories based on the age of the student (Dunn & Burke, 2008, pp.3-4):
Several learning style assessment instruments are available, some of which are on-line, including one from the George Lucas Foundation. (See Assessment list below.)
According to Dunn & Burke (2008, pp.8-9), learning styles assessment benefits students in the following ways:
Research shows that "when students are taught according to their identified learning-style preferences, they display statistically increased academic achievement, improved attitudes toward instruction, and better discipline, than when they are taught without attention to their preferred styles" (Research on the Dunn & Dunn model, 2005, cited in Dunn & Burke, 2008, pp. 3-4).
The Florida Bureau of Educational Recruitment, Education and Retention mentions learning styles in three places in Professional Educator Accomplished Practices: Competencies for Teachers of the 21st Century, (n.d.):
Teachers can use information on student learning styles to increase student interest in learning as well as to redesign teaching strategies and the classroom itself (Dunn & Burke, 2008, pp. 18-27). Redesigns and strategies may include:
Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development and Retention, (n.d.) Professional educator accomplished practices: Competencies for teachers of the 21st Century. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Education. Available at http://www.fldoe.org/dpe/publications/professional4-99.pdf
Dunn, R. & Burke, K. (2008). Learning style: The clue to you. (LS and CY: Research and implementation manual). Available at http://www.learningstyles.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=31&Itemid=73〈=en
Santo, S. (n.d.). Learning styles and personality. Vermillion, SD: University of South Dakota School of Education. Available at http://people.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/stylest.html
Index of Learning Styles (ILS)
This Web page links to an on-line learning style assessment based on the four dimensions of the Felder-Silverman model: active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global. Additional links include validation studies, articles, and Dr. Felder’s home page.
Assessments based on the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles Model
This Web site contains ordering information for ELSA� (ages 7-9), LSCY� (ages 10-13), LIVES� (ages 14-18) and BE� (ages 17 and up) which include immediate activation, centralized administration, technical support, immediate results, and several types of report formats.
The Kaleidoscope Profile®
This Web site contains a number of resources from Performance Learning Systems including an on-line learning styles assessment, professional development courses, publications, and resources.
What’s Your Learning Style?
This on-line learning style "quiz" from the George Lucas Foundation has 24 questions, takes about five minutes to complete, and provides a summary report that links to information and "Tips for the Way You Learn." The Web site also contains articles and resources on multiple intelligences.
Institute for Learning Styles Research
This organization is "dedicated to fostering research and development of learning and teaching." The particular area of interest is the matching of learning styles knowledge with teaching strategies and techniques. There is a modest fee for membership. The site also contains abstracts of research related to learning styles.
This site contains information about learning styles and Multiple Intelligences (MI) including self-tests, links to related resources, tips on how to enhance learning for each learning style, and possible career interests for each of the seven MI types.
Learning Styles Community
Provides access to learning-style news, past, current, and future events, articles, resources, announcements, and more. Enrollment is free and open to the international community. Also contains self-tests at $5.00 per person, a discussion board for members, and online and onsite training.
This Web page from Dr. Thomas Armstrong contains a description of MI and practical examples of applying MI to instructional methods.
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).