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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Learning Preferences Emerge


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Do we need to adapt our teaching to suit the learning style of learners?


Instead, I would say that learning preferences emerge throughout the teaching and learning process, a process that is both iterative and reciprocal.


Designing an engaging and effective learning experience requires establishing desired results, various forms of assessment, and instruction, whether the educative experience is formal or informal. These three interrelated aspects of the learning experience evolve around a learner's interaction with conceptualizations, material, and people (i.e., PLN). In my view, the notion of a PLN is based less on one's socio-cultural background yet still depends highly on the choices an individual makes at any particular moment; it avoids isolating the individual from the material and concepts, isolating the material from the individual and concepts, and so on. The PLN is a context-rich ontological frame that connects the desired results of the individual, feedback loops (i.e., assessment and instruction via human interaction), conceptualizations, and material through open and ongoing negotiation.


Students experience a dynamic shift in learning preferences depending on the PLN and more specifically the learning experience at hand. Working with learning preferences by giving learners some level of choice leads to adapting the teaching and learning process at any given moment and not simply presuming that learners are visual, kinesthetic, etc. a priori (e.g., via curriculum, standard teaching methods, lesson plan, etc.).