Learning Modalities

The last 20 years has witnessed a rising interest in the various learning styles and variations. Some of them have been listed below:

• Visual: This means more and more emphasis on observation and visually mastering the content.
• Auditory: This indicates the ability to follow the instructions being read out or broadcast.
• Kinesthetic: this indicates the learning which is based on the movement. Essentially this style focuses on activities to learn the skills.

There are many other styles and modulations such as musical, verbal, interpersonal, intrapersonal and logical methodologies.

Dunn and Dunn stressed on finding relevant stimuli which was likely to have an influence on the learning process and which would manipulate the environment of the school. Simultaneously Joseph Renzulli too suggested frequently changing the teaching strategies. Multiple modalities have been listed in the Multiple Intelligence Theories by Howard Gardner. Jung’s research has influenced the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter which stress on identifying the manner in which a person’s personality has an impact on their personal interactions and how this also has an influence on the way people respond to one another in the learning environment. David Kolb and Anthony Gregorc too have devised a much simpler Type Delineator which is quite effective and useful.

There is a divided opinion about the preferred learning styles and methodology. Some theories suggest that all the people gain from various learning modalities. On the other hand some other theories suggest that often individuals prefer selected learning styles and are more comfortable learning via visual and kinesthetic methodologies. As a result of this theory, it is believed that ideal and result oriented teaching needs to impart education using various teaching methods which focus on mastering all the learning modalities, thus giving all the students equal chances to master the skills in an effective and efficient manner. Guy Claxton has expressed doubts about the extent in which such learning styles like VAK are useful and beneficial, especially as they often tend to categorize students and limit their learning abilities. Research conducted recently has revealed that there is no specific proved to justify the need to incorporate various learning style assessments in the general educational practice.