Teaching & Learning Styles
Individuals have their own varied and preferred ways of learning. In every course that you teach, whether on campus or online, you should look for opportunities to connect to and use each of these styles to help students be successful.
This section looks at:
- Teaching Styles
- Thinking Styles
- Learning Styles
No one model of instruction will be the best for all situations. These two contrasting teaching styles are basic models for instructor/student interaction.
|Instructor-centered Teaching||Learner-centered Teaching|
|The underlying philosophy is that students learn best by not only receiving knowledge but also by:|
You can select one or combine these two teaching models when designing or facilitating a course.
In general, a learner-centered approach works best when the learners are relatively mature and possess significant related knowledge, or where sequencing of material is less critical.
Instructor-centered presentation is more appropriate when learners are less mature and lack necessary prior knowledge. Learners who are immature or lack necessary prior knowledge frequently make poor instructional choices if left on their own (e.g., they are unlikely to estimate correctly whether practice is needed, when sufficient mastery has been attained, etc.).
Different learners have different thinking styles. While these are generalizations — some people use more than one style — each individual usually has a preferred style. Your course will be most successful if you vary your style to meet the variety of thinking styles among your students.
Most students gravitate to one of these main learning styles, but they can usually adapt to another style if necessary. However, learners tend to look for their preferred style in each learning situation because they associate that style with learning success. When designing or teaching a course, you should look for opportunities to incorporate learning experiences and activities that appeal to each learning style to increase the likelihood of learner success.
|Learning Style||Characteristics||Teaching Strategies|
|Visual Learners||Process new information best when it is visually illustrated or demonstrated|
|Auditory Learners||Process new information best when it is spoken|
|Kinesthetic Learners||Process new information best when it can be touched or manipulated|
|Environmental Learners||Process new information best when it is presented in surroundings that match learner preferences (room temperature, lighting, seating, etc.)|
Individual or group projects that allow learners to define the form of their final learning product let them create learning experiences that appeal to their personal learning style.
If you would like to talk with an Instructional Design Consultant about learning strategies and methods that connect with different types of learners, contact Teaching & Learning Services.