Learning Inventories

Learning Inventories

This week, our Curriculum Designer, Caroline Slee-Poulos, continues our series on Lifelong Learning with her post on learning inventories.

When we speak of learning styles, most often we are referring to three primary categories: visual, auditory, kinesthetic. If you are a visual learner, you are thought to learn most effectively through images (or, you know, visual aids). For auditory learners – who, by the way, are technically aural or auditory-musical learners – it is thought that hearing information is the most beneficial delivery system. For kinesthetic learners, we consider the “learn by doing” method to be most effective, although incorporating movement in any way can be helpful.

Most of us don’t necessarily pay attention to learning and education in a “meta-” way: we don’t study how we learn.

The difficulty we face with learning styles is two-fold.

First of all, those three categories above aren’t actually all of the categories. The full list is seven learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, social, solitary, verbal, and logical. Considering there are seven of them, it’s pretty strange that many learning inventories cover only those first three.

Second, these learning styles have been thrown out the window as an effective way of teaching. Although the “know thyself” wisdom of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is always valuable – for the learners – an educator should not be seeking to sort students into neat little compartments. Or houses. This isn’t Hogwarts, after all…

With asynchronous education, we have to reach multiple styles and multiple forms. I think we can all agree that online learning isn’t necessarily geared towards movement, even though a standing desk (or, better yet, a treadmill desk!) can change that. Despite that, our classes do hit the visual, auditory, verbal, logical, and solitary notes.

Then again, since you have the flexibility to take a class at home, you may very well be surrounded by family. This wouldn’t be solitary at all.

The question is: do you know yourself? What would you say your own learning style is? This week, I would like to ask each of you to take a simple learning inventory quiz. Once you have your result, give it some thought. What surprises you in your results? What did you already know about how you learn? How can this information help you in your continuing education? Let us know in the comments!

The learning inventory can be found here.

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