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A Summary of 80 responses in LinkedIn to “Learning Styles and Instructional Design, do they go hand in hand?”

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I have posted the discussion question, “Learning Styles and Instructional Design, do they go hand in hand?” in LinkedIn groups earlier this week. There were more than 80 responses. I thought the combined wisdom of 80 of us should be shared.

Here is a snapshot of the responses:

Each response was great, reflecting the unique expertise of the respondent and his/her willingness to share it. Here are some responses in verbatim:

In Favor of Learning Styles:

  • Learning Styles and Instructional Design – They should go hand in hand and yes it is practical to accommodate major learning styles while designing a course.
  • When I design a course, I make sure that my lesson plan includes the different learning styles. I also go through the learning types in my class introductions when possible. This helps me alter my content to adjust to different learning styles if time and topic allow.
  • Dr. Sarah Church lays out a great learning style summary which points out some differences in learning styles based on age, gender, etc. It can be found at: http://www.teresadybvig.com/learnsty.htm
  • As an instructional designer with 20+ years of experience, I do believe that there are three principal methods of gathering and processing knowledge that are always found in any group of students: learning by seeing it done, learning by hearing how to do it, and learning by doing it yourself.
  • Yes, it is practicable to accommodate learning styles, and based on the findings of a Learner Analysis, when designing a course, instructional designers should indeed consider varied learning styles of their target audience and design accordingly. There is data to support these theories; you can find plenty of information by doing a scholarly literature review.

Against Learning Styles:

  • I am extremely skeptical about learning styles. There’s no data to support any of the various learning style theories, and as a matter of just plain common sense, many of them seem pretty far-fetched. In my opinion, a designer is much better advised to consider approaches that are supported by actual research findings.
  • When you start thinking about “learning styles” when designing e-Learning, you’re usually heading in the wrong direction.
  • I agree about the various theories, but I am more inclined to question whether our learning styles are a function of nature or nurture. As adults, we may have modified our learning style based on the ways we have been taught. Rather than design a course for specific learning styles, we design materials to reach as many as possible.
  • Actually, they don’t have to; too much attention to the LSI will slow both you and the students down.

It depends on a few parameters:

  • I have actually taken learning style surveys of prospective audiences prior to developing courses. And in fact, have based decisions on the majority rules. Even though learners have a learning style preference, everyone can benefit from any learning regardless of the style; it may not just be their particular preference.
  • In addition to various learning styles, trainers also need to keep in mind generational differences.
  • A designer of course content like an author of anything needs to recognize that they will never appeal to everyone at this time but that as long as their material is good, delivered well in whatever format they are comfortable in and they are passionate about getting the message across, the learners will come.
  • The key is not designing to a supposed perceptual modality, developmental stage or ability, but making the content relevant and engaging to the learner, so they see the need and the application.
  • I think it depends on what you are preparing students for. If it’s highly specific and targeted, you can focus on a particular learning style.

The complete analysis is a 6-page PDF. Click here to download the complete report.

Thank you for reading my blog.

RK Prasad

CEO

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  • Very interesting prasad. No matter what your audience I have posted an easy acronym to help anyone remember principles of adult learning very easily. Feel free to link to my blog.

    A Ahmed

  • Hi R.K.

    Enjoy your posts and as a trainer and E-Learning courseware developer, I found the 4-Mat system to be a useful methodology to accommodating all learning styles and try to structure my courses around this method.

    Will connect directly with you on LinkedIn to discuss other opportunities.

    All the best,
    Mark

  • Unfortunately the Wisdom of the Crowds are sans knowledge of actual research – which thoroughly disputes designing instruction for “learning style preferences.” You can search on my Blog or many other places to see what the data says.

    Guy

  • Thanks for posting your views.