Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
Instructors have presented information
by lecture since Socrates to the benefit only of linguistic learners.
If you're visual or hands-on you've been teacher disabled. Helping
students learn according to their learning styles and multiple
intelligence (LS/MI) preference is finally becoming accepted
as an instructional strategy.
Many students intuitively learn how to
learn when they realize they learn better from one resource or
strategy over another. For many learners, this concept is too
sophisticated or it flies in the face of the teacher authority.
Young children like to learn with hands-on methods, but the system
quickly moves them to learn by listening. Parents try to help
by pointing to "smart" students and suggesting that
their offspring emulate the learning strategies that work for
others. Following the path set by others won't work.
In fact, we all learn differently. It's
a wise parent and facilitative instructor who realizes this and
helps the student identify their LS/MI and resources/strategies
to meet it. A variety of materials on the TEC Web will help determine
LS/MI including an online authentic assessment that will assess
the earner's LS/MI (all ages).
As we work extensively in technology, we
see that learners now have access to a variety of instructional
strategies/resources. In many cases, the learner selects the
path to the strategy. The search for knowledge becomes the learner's
intrinsic reward, rather than an extrinsic reward provided by
external authority. This may make the learner more motivated
because they find it easier to learn.
Research in learning technologies may eventually
show us that students learn more quickly and deeply so that they
apply the information and solve problems. A school can be in
the worst neighborhood, but a satellite dish on the roof and
fast Internet access on ten classroom computers, positively impacts
learning. It could be that we're saving generations of children.
Many learning style models exist; my favorite
is Albert Canfield's. It has a strong research base, uses clear
language, reports in percentiles, and helps students and their
instructors understand learning preferences. Teachers who take
the Canfield frequently have an "ah haaaa" experience
as they realize why they haven't connected with students - their
teaching style is out of phase with their students' learning
Canfield divides learning styles into useful
applications for distance/distributed learning. Some (not all)
are level of independence, working with others, content (numeric,
qualitative, inanimate), and mode (listening, reading, iconic,
Multiple intelligences were identified
by Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard. Intelligences include visual-spatial,
bodily-kinesthetic, musical, inter- and intrapersonal, linguistic,
logical-mathematical, naturalistic, and spiritual. It's tempting
to equate learning styles and intelligences because there are
similarities, but until we have a much better understanding of
both; avoid that.
An LS/MI instructional design matrix was
designed by TEC to ensure the right mix of media to reach learner
audiences with every LS/MI. It's a new way to help you design
for what we know about how the brain learns.
from "Prism on
the Future," Teleconference Magazine, August 9, 1999, by
Carla Lane, Ed.D.