A Review of Learning Styles and Motivation

Topics: Learning styles, Educational psychology, Motivation Pages: 7 (2082 words) Published: April 12, 2012
A Review of Learning Styles and Motivation

In this assessment I am going to speak about different learning style and motivation and how I use the learning to help motivation in the classroom.

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand." Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

When I read this quote I immediately thought of learning styles, and decided to use this as my starting point.

If Confucius was speaking about himself in the above quote, then I would suggest that he is a visual learner. “Involve me and I'll understand." From a students point of view this could mean using my learning style will make me a part of what is being taught and this is how I will understand what is going on.

Advocates of learning styles such as Honey and Mumford suggest that most people have a preferred learning styles/learning preference. Their questionnaire labels learners as:

a)Activists - learn best by; working with others, anything active, enjoy taking the lead but not following things up. They think first and act later and get bored easily

b)Reflectors - learn best by; observing, thinking things through, before they make opinions of their own
c)Theorists - learn best by having; complex situations questioning structured situations with a clear purpose. Thinking things through logically can be detached and analytical.
d)Pragmatists - like situations where they can try out techniques with feedback such as role play. They are down to earth and like to know how theory relates directly to them.

Individuals can however have more than one learning style. When confronted with different task a learner may adopt different learning styles for different task.

Honey and Mumford’s four styles are based loosely around the four stages of Kolb's cycle.

The Kolb Learning Cycle

“Learning is a process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (Kolb 1984: 38)
Kolb’s learning cycle describes the interaction between the “learners” and their experiences, and by doing so change their behaviour. The cycle is based on the idea that the more often we reflect on a task, the greater the opportunity to modify and refine our efforts. The logic of the learning cycle is to make many small and improvements, which leads to major improvements over time.

The idea is that you can start at any one of the four points but you need to work on the other three to make the learning ‘stick’.

If starting with the experience phase, you will then move to reflective observation where you need to reflect on the experience phase, asking yourself questions eg. ‘what was involved?’, ‘what was the outcome?’ You would then move to the next phase, Analysis (Abstract Conceptualisation). Where you would try to work out why things happened the way they did, how you can change it if need be. Once you have found your answers you would move to the next phase Active experimentation, to put your theories or changes into practice.

The cycle would then start again until you are happy with your learning outcome. This can happen over days, weeks, months, depending on the topic.

There are however critics of David Kolb’s learning cycle. Here’s a few of the main criticisms: 1.The model has been criticised for being stronger conceptually than as an accurate representation of the way people actually learn through experience. The idea of stages or steps does not sit well with the reality of thinking (Dewey 1933); a.''In reality, these things may be happening all at once.'' (Jeffs and Smith, 1999) at http://www.infed.org/foundations/f-explrn.htm “ b.Rogers, for example points out that "learning includes goals, purposes, intentions, choice and decision-making, and it is not at all clear where these elements fit into the learning cycle." (Rogers, 1996, p. 108)

2. The model takes very little...

References: Minton. D, (2002) Teaching Skills in Further & Adult Education. Thomson Learning.
Petty, G. (1998) Teaching Today: a Practical Guide (2nd Edn.) Cheltenham:
Nelson Thornes
Reece, I and Walker, S. (2007) Teaching, Training and Learning Sunderland:
Business Education Publishers
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