Why start with learning styles?

lstylesOne of the first things YouthWorks participants do in the Signaling Success work-readiness course is complete a learning style assessment. What’s the purpose of doing this in a soft skills program? While not everyone believes each of us has one particular learning style, understanding learning preferences can help us cope with situations that may feel outside our comfort zones. Find out how learning styles can be used to teach work-readiness skills.

Learning styles are popular with educators at all levels–from grade school to adult education. On the surface it seems to make sense.There are different ways of taking in information. Some people need to see a chart, others only need to hear directions once before they get it. Others need to touch or do something to learn.

The truth of the matter might be that we all use a combination of learning styles depending on what we are learning–and how and why we are learning it. In fact, some researchers don’t believe learning styles even exist. This perspective is actually useful both for facilitators, teachers and for learners.

Facilitators need to be able to give information in different modalities so that learners and absorb and explore the materials in ways that are meaningful to them. Learners like teens and young adults need to take in information in the most effective ways and understand what their preferences are. It’s also fun to take learning style quizzes and learn (or confirm) something about yourself.

Learning styles do come into play at work. Knowing how you process information can help you be more productive. It also can help you interact and communicate better with your supervisor and co-workers

We give YouthWorks summer job participants strategies for using different learning styles and practice in what to say and what to do if they are faced with a challenging scenario at work. For example, what can you do when your boss hands you a hundred-page manual for learning how to use a piece of office equipment. Teens and young adults need to know how to make their learning preferences work for them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk   Cognitive Psychologist Daniel Willingham on why he believes learning styles do not exist

http://www.cast.org/udl/ Great site for educators on how the brain works for learning

http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp  Information on learning styles and strategies for using them