Comments on learning styles

June 7, 2003

I’ve gotten a couple of email feedbacks on my learning styles posts, and I thought I’d post a quick note here, both to serve as a reminder to myself (since I’m focusing on finishing the initial draft of my initial learning style paper today) and to possibly stir up some more discussion.

First, Alan Richardson wrote about learning styles being a learned aspect of our personalities. Thus, culture is a big factor in each individual’s learning styles. This isn’t just at the western vs. eastern culture level though. There are many levels of culture that affect a person including his peers, family, locale, and nation in addition to the larger levels.

Alan also mentioned learning difficulties and how Dominic O’Brien overcame his dyslexia by using memory improvement techniques. I think both points may prove to have some relevancy and definitely intend to look into them more in the near future. Right now, the learning difficulties piece is particularly resonant for me — part of figuring out how to train people in these skills is knowing where they might have difficulties and providing ways to help the people get through those difficulties. Knowing which methods a person might prefer is only half the story, since there will be times when a person will need to know a non-preferred method, so they should have training in these methods as well.

Brian Marick also sent a comment on parenting styles, which ties in well with Alan’s multiple cultural levels. He’s seen some references lately to how culturally different methods of child-rearing may have some explanation for how children then do in school. He gave me a URL to a NY Times article on some research that shows that in the years before school, white parents spend more time reading to their children while black parents spend more time singing and playing.

I haven’t had a lot of time to thoroughly check out either of these lines of thought. I had no idea that when I went back to graduate school, I’d be studying learning and development in addition to computer science. I never really thought of myself as having any kind of psychological bent, yet I’m as passionate on this subject as I’ve been on anything for a long time. Kind of funny how things change like that. 🙂

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