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Learning styles

A set of behaviours and attitudes that influence how students learn and interact with teachers and peers. Learning styles are cognitive, affective, and physiological behaviours that serve as indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment. For example, for David Kolb (1984) learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. In Kolb’s model, learning is based on two continuums, namely: (a) processing continuum, e.g. approach to a task, such as preferring to learn by doing (active experimentation) or watching (reflective observation); (b) perception continuum, e.g. emotional response, such as preferring to learn by thinking (abstract conceptualisation) or feeling (concrete experience). The four combinations of processing and perceiving determine one of the learning styles (or learning preferences) of how individuals prefer to learn. According to the VAK (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic – movement –, sometimes known as VAKT, Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Tactile) model, learners use these three/four modalities to receive and learn new information, one or two of these being normally dominant. An individual may have several learning styles which can change over time and according to the learning task.

There are also more elaborate models.

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