Unit One: Learning Styles

The 4MAT Learning Styles Model, By krgarts (Own work) CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

Overview and Purpose

In our first unit, we'll look at ourselves as learners and determine our individual learning style preferences. While there is some controversy among educators as to whether learning style preferences should be considered in the design of instruction, the primary purpose of discovering or reviewing the related concepts here is to inform creation of advance organizer approaches to instruction, which we will do later in the course.

Advance Organizer approaches to content design are useful in supporting a variety of learner styles and preferences. By acknowledging that our own personal learning preferences influence our instructional design, we can increase our awareness of other learning preferences and attempt to accommodate them in our design approaches.

Primary Objective

Learners will be able to identify their own learning style and preferences from among a variety using the activity provided.




Identify Your Style and Preferences

Complete a short survey from Penn State University on Learning Styles. Once you have completed the survey you can read more details about your learning style preferences below. Penn State Learning Styles Inventory

Penn State's Survey is limited to the 3 most common types of learning styles: Auditory, Visual, and Tactile/kinesthetic. These styles refer to the presentation of information and how we prefer information to be delivered. There are typically considered to be 7 or more styles, and there is usually overlap among them, but Penn State's survey is useful in its simplicity. The questions in this survey - if nothing else - are good reminders that our students process and prefer to receive information in different ways, and that as instructors, we can better understand our learners when we understand how we ourselves learn.

If you rated as a Visual Learner, chances are good you prefer visual representations as a mode of understanding; likewise with Auditory learners preferring sound and tactile learners preferring touch or physical interactivity.

Because learning is a dynamic process that doesn't occur in a vacuum, there are other aspects of learning that aren't represented by these 3 basic preferences, and over time, different models for understanding and distinguishing learning styles have been created. Consider the 4MAT model.

Watch the following video, which explains the 4MAT model of learning styles: What Defines your Learning Style?


Discuss the results of the Penn State Survey and your conclusions from the video. How does your survey result "place" on the 4MAT continuum? Is this a useful way of understanding yourself as a learner? Also, discuss with your peers some learning style preferences that you believe/know to be difficult to accommodate in an online environment.

Next Unit

Return to Course Home

References and Resources

Kingsbury, A. and Kathryn Lay. (2012). Types of Learning Styles. EduGuide.com. Found at: http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/2094/%7C

McCarthy, B. (1990). Using the 4MAT System to Bring Learning Styles to Schools. Educational Leadership, 48(2), 31-37.

Penn State University. (2001). Learning Styles Inventory. Found at: www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm

4MAT4Business. (2010). Video: What Defines Your Learning Style? Found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iP9W9RxlOg