Learning Styles Literary Review

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Theories and Principles of Learning (TPPL) Assignment

Part A – Literature review analysing theories and principles of learning.

Learning Styles

A student’s individual learning style is their normal reaction to information or experiences. For example, Keefe (1979) defines learning styles as the "composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment.", or more succinctly, Stewart and Felicetti (1992) define learning styles as those "educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn.", as quoted in Clark (2004).

The concept of learning styles is well publicised,
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There are many critics of Gardner’s theory including Carroll (1993), Sternberg (1988), and Klein (1997), highlighting three areas of criticism, namely its objectivity, there appears to be no clear objective of his theory, its practicality, how can teaching be adapted for so many perceived differing intelligences, and there is no empirical data to support his arguments.
There are many other theories surrounding learning styles, including Sternberg’s “Thinking Styles” (1997), which tries to understand why testing in school fails to identify true ability (1997) and many assessment tools including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (1962) (MBTI). However, a more widely accepted concept are the Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic models (VAK) such as the VARK model developed by Fleming to include learners with a preference for reading and writing. Fleming (2001) claimed that visual learners think in pictures, welcoming teaching aids such PowerPoint, diagrams, and handouts, auditory learners learn through listening, tactile and kinaesthetic learners preferring experimentation, or a hands-on approach. Having an awareness of these traits allows teachers to provide lessons covering all these aspects. This model also allows students to identify with their own learning style and hence maximise their
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