In order to organize effective teaching and learning processes, it is necessary to take into account the learning styles of all participants of these processes. A balanced system of teaching methods which addresses the learning needs of all types of learners is likely to enhance student progress and motivation.
One of key models of learning styles is Felder-Silverman model (Learning styles, n.d.) which includes four dimensions of learning preferences: sensing-intuitive dimension, which shows the approach to perceiving information, visual-verbal dimension which characterizes the methods of presenting information, active-reflective dimension which relates to the ways of processing information, and sequential-global dimension, which relates to understanding (Felder and Soloman, n.d.). The purpose of this paper is to analyze the results of the Index of Learning styles test in the context of Felder-Silverman model, and to identify how these results can be used to help myself improve online learning.
My results of the Index of Learning Styles are the following: REF-3, INT-3, VIS-3, GLO-5. Overall, the scores of 1-3 point out at good balance of learning styles within the specific dimension, and 5-7 scores mean that there exists a moderate preference towards the specific learning style; hence, it will be easier to study in an environment where this dimension is favored. In my case, the balance is quite good for sensing-intuitive, visual-verbal and active-reflective dimensions (with preference for intuitive, visual and reflective styles, accordingly), and there is a moderate preference for global learning style in the sequential-global dimension.
The preference for global learning style means that it is easier for me to study in large jumps, and that I can solve complex problems or issues using new creative approaches, but these flashes of insight are likely to be sudden and the solutions might be hard to explain. Therefore, learning in the environments where the big picture is revealed prior to learning the details and where the assignments are provided after accessing all materials will be more favorable and encouraging for me. On one hand, the preference for global learning style offers a variety of opportunities for creativity and new solutions, but, on the other hand, traditional learning systems as well as online learning systems provide the information along with assessments step by step, and are therefore better adjusted for the sequential learning style.
There are several approaches which can be applied for online courses in order to make learning easier for me as a global learner. It is recommended to link the new topics with already learned material, and skim the topic material prior to learning it in more detail in order to create the global picture. Moreover, it is ok for global learners to study in large blocks, so it would be useful for me to stop trying to adopt the sequential approach to learning, and arrange my learning time in accordance with course blocks.
With regard to reflective dimension, it would be useful for me to think on applications of the studied material, and summarize the material for better recalling it in future. As I am also inclined towards intuitive learning, I can improve performance in courses where a lot of memorization is required by writing down the theories, points of view or interpretations which link the facts or phenomena which should be memorized. Preparing diagrams, maps or sketches of the new material will be also extremely helpful for me, because I am a visual learner. Overall, the knowledge of own learning styles allows choosing the best learning environment which matches my needs, and also allows adjusting the approaches to learning to the course specifics, specifics of learning program and to the lecturer’s teaching style.