Learning Theories Essay

2314 words - 10 pages

How can the information gathered from learning styles assessment aid a learner to ensure they reach their full potential?

The aim of this essay is to investigate how the information gathered from learning styles assessment can aid a learner to ensure they reach their full potential. Learning can be seen as an acquisition of knowledge and according to Carroll (1963) “given time and good instruction almost all pupils will be able to ‘master’ what they are asked to learn (cited in Gardner pg13). By looking at the different learning styles assessments this author will consider whether they could benefit the learner of today. Two main learning theories investigated for this essay were, ...view middle of the document...

For example it could be argued mathematical talented people are interested in music, as the latter contains numerous patterns and sequences which would appeal to the logical mind, however this does not mean the logic-mathematical learner would have the ability to play a musical instrument or the talented musician would have logical intelligence. However according to Gardner’s theory this does not necessarily make one more or less intelligent than the other.

Support for Gardner’s theory is in form of a study ‘SUMIT Project’ (2000) by Mindy Kornhaber et al, 41 American schools and 1 Canadian who were using the Multiple Intelligence Theory for 3 years were studied. The study showed 78% of schools reported positive standardized test outcomes, 78% improved performances by students with learning difficulties, and 81% reported improvement in students discipline, along with other improvement to the school. Although the SUMIT Project (2000), shows support, it is important not rely on the strength of the results of a single study for a single research approach.

There have been a number of critics John White (1997), has argued that there are significant issues around the individual criteria of the learning styles, expressing a concern in how the criteria is applied and why are they relevant. Where by more traditional intelligence followers, who may be seen to believe in more measured intelligence tests, deem it could be argued musical and Bodily-Kinesthetic could be seen more as a talent.

The main problem with Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence (1983) is the difficulty in testing each of the intelligence, the factors involved, and the methods used to measure. Gardner stated “I once thought it possible to create a set of tests... an intelligent fair version... I now believe that this can only be accomplished if someone developed several measures for each intelligence and then made sure that the people were comfortable in dealing with the materials and methods used to measure each intelligence” (cited in Smith Mark K (2002, 2008), although Gardner believed this may lead to labelling and stigmatization.

In comparison David A Kolb focus more on the individual or holistic and social changes in relation of learning, Kolb states “learning is the person where by knowledge is created through the transformation of experiences” (1984 pg38). Kolb bases and links his work with John Dewey (1859-1952), an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer and Kurt Lewin (1890-1947); a German-American psychologist and some may say a pioneer of modern of social psychology.

In the 1970’s Kolb composed four elements creating the Experiential Learning Model (ELM), and where by learning is a cyclical mode of stages the components being, Concrete Experiences, Reflective Observation, Abstract Conceptualization, and Active Experimentation. The first stage Concrete Experiences can be explained as what the learners actively...

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