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Annotated Reference List

Cognitive Science

Learning Styles

Learning styles are of increasing importance as Brain Science yields an increasing amount of information in this area, and as our educational system works to cope with differences in learning styles.


Center for New Discoveries in Learning [Online]. Accessed 12/6/01: http://www.howtolearn.com/.

This Website includes a computer-scored assessment of one's learning styles. Quoting from the Website:
The Center for New Discoveries in Learning provides information, learning strategies and a variety of educational resources which insure that all children will be successful in school. This information is based on exciting new discoveries about the nature of learning and individual learning styles. Our newsletters, books, videos and audio tapes give specific strategies for use in all subject areas to insure total success in school and immediately raise your child's self-esteem. Teachers who visit our site will be excited about earning unit credit for taking our video courses and applying the proven strategies with their students in the classroom.

I have two children, ages 19 and 21 and have been a teacher for over 25 years. I have a Masters Degree in Education and am totally committed to helping all children be successful. After teaching nearly every grade in school, I am now an Instructor of Education at California State University, Hayward, Continuing and Extended Education Division. I train teachers throughout the country and offer on-site workshops backed by over 13 years of successful pre and post test student data showing that over 50,000 students have raised their grades to A's and B's.

Center for Teaching and Learning: Learning Styles Site [Online]. Accessed 4/13/01: http://web.indstate.edu/ctl/styles/learning.html. This site contains the article:

Using Learning Styles to Adapt Technology for Higher Education by Terry O'Connor Indiana State University. The Table of Contents for the article is:
  1. Having a Personal Point of View
  2. Learning Styles in Higher Education
  3. Types of Learning Styles
  4. Using Styles to Teach
  5. Applying Computer Technologies

Hutinger, Patricia. The Issues: Learning Modalities [Online] (Noverber, 2001). Accessed 11/21/01: http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/
prek2/issues/index.shtm .

A short article on learning modalities, with a discussion of how they fit in with Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Learning Modalities, Styles and Strategies [Online]. Accessed 4/13/01: http://www.fln.vcu.edu/Intensive/
LearningStrategies.html. This site includes links to a variety of learning style inventory instruments.Quoting from the Website:

Nobody can teach you anything. You learn on your own, in your own particular, individual way. Learning depends upon many factors, many of them personal. In order to be a better learner, then, you need to learn about your preferred learning modalities. Forearmed with this knowledge you will be better able to set up learning situations that suit you, including teaching teachers how best to guide you. In this Age of Information where our lives depend more and more on being adept learners, our educational goals must include becoming effective lifelong learners.

Included in learning modalities are physical, environmental, cognitive, affective (emotional), and socio-economic factors. To improve your learning performance, it is worthwhile to think about how these factors impact upon you. For this reason, it may be helpful to assess yourself. Below you'll find some inventories for such assessments.

In no way does my inclusion of these instruments here mean that I subscribe to their underlying philosophy, not even to their efficacy. For some people these approaches may stimulate worthwhile metacognition about learning, for others they may prove worthless. Needless to say, thinking about how you learn and learning how to learn are important. How you get there is as individual as your learning process. We should not ignore, however, that learning is also conditioned by social, cultural, economic and even haphazard circumstances. You need to account for that, too, as you plot your course of study.


Williams, Lawrence. Learning Styles [Online]. Accessed 10/30/01: http://www.oakmeadow.com/Library/

This short article includes a simple Learning Styles Evaluation based on Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Quoting from the article:
Learning styles is a popular issue in education these days. In previous generations, learning styles were not even acknowledged, much less accommodated. From one perspective, one could even say that the very concept of "learning disabilities" arose (and continues to arise) from an inability of some teachers and administrators to recognize and deal effectively with the different learning styles of children. In the midst of this, however, there exists a growing number of educators who recognize that children learn in different ways, but there is considerable disagreement over the exact nature of these differences.

The concept that prompted much of the current debate over learning styles arose in the 1970s, with the left-brain/right brain theory of neurological functioning. This prompted educators to view students as either left-brained learners (those that tend to approach things in a logical, linear or verbal manner) or right-brained learners (those that approached things in a more creative, spatial or holistic manner). Gradually, however, this view began to lose favor, as further research indicated that the learning process involves a very complex interaction of both hemispheres simultaneously. Nevertheless, educators recognized that the left-brain/right-brain concept, though incomplete, was true to a certain extent, that children do learn differently, and that teachers had to move beyond the purely logical-verbal approach traditionally used in schools and learn how to teach in ways that could appeal to a broader range of learning styles.

Over the past ten years, research on learning styles has increased considerably, and our understanding of these differences has grown. Two of the most prominent theories are those of Robert Sternberg of Yale and Howard Gardner of Harvard. In The Triarchic Mind (1988), Sternberg proposed that there are three types of intelligence. He calls these componential (the mind that is tested by IQ tests), contextual (the kind you use in creating new environments), and experiential ( (a practical or "street-smarts" kind of intelligence). Conventional school activities tend to focus upon componential intelligence, while contextual and experiential intelligence is what we tend to use in the everyday world. This causes a problem for many children.


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