Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We are all Different - EDUC8845 Module 1

Four learning styles correspond with four ways to take in information. These learning styles are visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic. Visual learners prefer reading and writing in order to learn, while auditory learners prefer to hear information, tactile learners prefer hands-on activities and kinesthetic learners learn best through movement. In college, I learned that most teachers are visual learners although striving to teach to all styles is best for students. What I didn’t learn was whether preferred learning styles can change with age. I have noticed that although I will never learn well kinesthetically, I am starting to prefer an auditory learning style. I have found a text-to-speech translator to convert any text to spoken words [http://www.readthewords.com/ ] and find myself attentively listening to words I once would have preferred to read.
Closely related to learning styles are multiple intelligences listed by Howard Gardner in 1983. He originally listed seven intelligences in his learning theory and since a few more have been suggested. Gardner’s MI Theory describes ways people learn. Schools focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, while Gardner’s theory includes so many other ways of knowing.
The original seven intelligences listed by Gardner were:

1. Linguistic intelligence
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence
3. Spatial intelligence
4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence
5. Musical intelligence
6. Interpersonal intelligence
7. Intrapersonal intelligence

I like to begin every year by announcing to the students that no matter what anyone has ever told them, they ARE intelligent, it is my job to find out how they are intelligent. Then we create pictures of our intelligence at http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/mi/w1_interactive1.html Is there one best way of learning? I would have to say no, there are many ways to learn and all these ways have value. While I might not personally prefer a bodily-kinesthetic way of knowing, others may not find any value in musical intelligence.
The purpose of aligning with a learning theory for the educational technologist has to do with building on a sure foundation. Whether one aligns with behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, or connectivism, one is joining with major thinkers who have peer-reviewed works published on these theories. One aligns with a school of thought by adopting a learning theory that explains how learning occurs and what influences that learning. The learning theory to which one subscribes will influence how the educational technologist will use the technology and what sites will be recommended.
A behaviorist for example would be more likely to use a site that is at the knowledge level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. A constructionist would be more likely to use a site that is at the creation level of the taxonomy (Bloom’s Revised). In the words of Chris Lehmann, which I first heard him say at Educon, “Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.”
Photo courtesy of ntr23 covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license and available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/65919269@N00/536402496
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This is a reposting on graduate work from 2010. I have noticed my learning styles have shifted during this latest degree. I do wonder what the research on learning styles and aging would indicate?


featheredflowers said...

In the makeup of our educational system it has been discovered that most educators are analytical thinkers, while few are global thinkers. In addressing all learners do you see our current education system focusing on one theory over others? Should there be a balance to best serve all learners? As a global thinker it is often brought to my attention the fear factor toward technology related to thinking styles. I wonder if there is any relation between theories and technological fear.
Thanks for sharing,
~Laurie Korte

Mike said...

Hi Lisa...

You stated in your post: "I like to begin every year by announcing to the students that no matter what anyone has ever told them, they ARE intelligent, it is my job to find out how they are intelligent." I think that this is fantastic!

Gardner has done a lot of great work when it comes to intelligence and learning. Some of his papers and books are listed at http://www.howardgardner.com/index.html

To add to your list of intelligences, Gardner officially recognized 8 1/2 intelligences. The newest intelligence is the "naturalist" intelligence. I believe that he formally recognized this intelligence in his book "Intelligence Reframed" in 1999. He also discussed the existential intelligence. This is the "1/2" intelligence in the sense that the jury is still out but there is a growing case for adding it to the list. I do like the fact that Gardner is open to the fact that the list is not necessarily complete, but he is careful to add new intelligences by weighing the evidence against the criteria that he established for defining an intelligence.

I think that what is also interesting about Gardner is that he is careful to state that an intelligence and a learning style are not one in the same thing. An intelligence (Gardner, 1983) is defined as "…a set of skills of problem solving—enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to create an effective product—and…the potential for finding or creating problems—thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge" (Gardner, 1983, pp. 60-61). Learning style, on the other hand, is more of a combination of different variables that influence how a students learns. Multiple intelligences definitely contribute to learning styles but are not the styles directly.

Can you share a little bit about how the result of you MI assessment at the beginning of the year is reflected throughout the school year? What do the students think about the results of the assessment?


Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind. The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books.

Stephen Raymond said...

We have a similar outlook on learning theory and how it relates to educational technology. I like the quote about serving pedagogy because it succinctly states what I also believe is the appropriate relationship between the two.
Trying to match a student's "intelligence" to the subject can be a challenge as far as finding the resources.