How would you describe yourself as a learner? One way to do so is to consider characteristics that learning styles inventories describe. Read about—and take one or more of—the following learning styles inventories to help identify characteristics and tendencies of your own learning.
Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory
- Read about and take Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory.
- Read a description of the outcomes by Saul McLeod.
VARK Learning Styles
- Read an overview of VARK (visual, auditory, reading/writing, kinesthetic learning styles) from VeryWellMind.
Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences
- “9 Types of Intelligence” is a summary of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.
- “In a Nutshell” is Chapter 1 of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons.
Learning styles inventories have been more or less popular since the mid 20th century, although the concept of learning styles has existed for much longer. Educators have used the concept of learning styles to stress engaging students in different ways. The assumption, for adult learners, was that if they knew their learning styles, they could adapt their strategies to better learn. More recently, research has shown that even though adults have identified the multiple primary and supporting learning styles that characterize their learning preferences, they don’t necessarily apply them to the acquisition of new knowledge. Instead, according to researchers, successful students use more global learning techniques.
Read the article “Evidence-Based Higher Education – Is the Learning Styles ‘Myth’ Important?” and watch the video below.
Initial Learning activity
Who are you as a learner? Create an overview of yourself as a learner, drawing from this page’s reading and viewing you have just done.
Draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper, or use mind mapping software (such as bubbl.us or any free mind mapping tool). Put your name in the center. Draw lines out from the circle (like spokes on a wheel), and add additional circles and labels for each aspect of yourself as a learner. You can add descriptions or action verbs on the lines. Each secondary circle can also have spokes and the circles can be connected.
After you complete your map and can see the connections, ask and answer the following questions:
- How do you like to learn?
- What types of learning activities do you like?
- What learning strategies do you employ consistently?
- Looking back on times when you were successful, what helped you?
- What made/makes learning difficult for you?
After you ask and answer questions about your learning engagement, complete a learning portrait that offers a comprehensive explanation of you as a learner, making sure to address all of the questions above. You may create your learning portrait in one of the following ways:
- a reflective essay (4-5 pages)
- a visual explanation using a free visual/oral presentation tool (such as VoiceThread) or PowerPoint slides with accompanying detailed narration that explains you as a learner
After you complete the learning portrait, do an additional piece of writing (3-4 pages) identifying some steps you might take, in general or in specific situations, to aid your learning in both educational and life settings.
- your learning portrait reflective essay (4-5 pages)
- additional writing identifying steps to aid learning (2-3 pages)
in-depth learning activity
Analyze and research a concept related to learning styles or you as a learner more fully. Here are a few ideas to spark your thoughts:
- Research and analyze one of the learning theories listed, and write a short research essay (5-7 pages) offering your analysis. Your essay should not be simply a description or history of the learning style, but should be an analysis, including journal articles that offer pros and cons of the methodology and application.
- Analyze the article “Evidence-Based Higher Education – Is the Learning Styles ‘Myth’ Important?” What, if any, assumptions are inherent in the research? What, if any, biases are in the research and processes described? What additional research would you like to see in this area and why? Analyze the quality of this research in a short essay (5-7 pages), based on your own insights and other sources as appropriate.
- Plan an experiment on learning styles. As a result of reading two differing perspectives on learning styles, what questions do you have? How would you conduct an experiment of your own to research one of your questions? (Note that you do not actually have to do the experiment; this activity is asking you to learn about and articulate experimental methodology.) Look up, read, and adapt stages of research (social science research; scientific research – the stages are similar). Write out the stages you would follow in your experiment and offer a brief analysis of both how and why you would use these stages. A couple of useful sites might be a chapter on Sociological Research in an open textbook (it’s relatively lengthy, but is very clear and offers important aspects to consider in any research), and/or a site on Scientific Method. (This one uses some examples of a science fair, but also has clear, accessible information.) There are many other sites as well. Submit the following: 1) your comprehensive list of questions, 2) your chosen question with explanation of why you chose it, 3) a bibliography of the sources you consulted re: scientific research, 4) explanation of the stages you would follow in your experiment, with analysis of how and why you would use these stages.
- Any other project related to you as a learner that involves analysis and research, and is approved by your instructor.
Submit: one of the above projects
Related college Learning Goals
Active Learning: Assess and build upon previous learning and experiences to pursue new learning, independently and in collaboration with others.
For more information, see the College Learning Goals Policy.
Interested in Learning more about learning?
Note that there are fuller courses offered in:
- Learning Styles
- Reflective Learning
- Adults as Learners