Learning Styles - much more than many think
It's a privilege to be one of the first bloggers on the new website of the ILSN – what a fabulous improvement btw. I do hope that this blog will develop and thrive in the time to come, for learning is undoubtedly the most important fuel of the knowledge society. Without learning no knowledge and without knowledge no progress. The days of rote learning and ‘comatose’ routine work are long gone, and all the time we have to adapt to a world in constant change. Learning makes the world go round – a cliché, admittedly, but nevertheless true.
Of course, learning happens in all educational contexts. And the concept of learning styles is, as commonly known, conceived within the framework of the school. Most of the ground breaking research on the Dunn and Dunn model is based on experiments in classrooms all over the world. And only people who see it as their vocation in life to be against learning styles will deny that learning styles à la Dunn and Dunn work and that the model represents a most manageable, down to earth and appreciative pedagogical tool. There are many very good examples of what can be achieved by the use of learning styles in the pedagogical practice. The Lakeland District – our first Demonstration School District of Excellence – with its impressive thorough implementation being one of them, and from my own necks of the wood, the Aarhus Municipality project in which 10,000 teachers K-12 are offered a learning styles course in the period from 2009 to 2013 – and then of course all the other marvelous initiatives from all parts of the world.
However, it is crucial not to forget that learning is a part of post school and post educational life. Learning is transforming information into knowledge, and thus we learn all the time: when we work on our own or with colleagues, when we communicate, when we make decisions and solve problems, when we are in charge of or part of change processes, when – what not. Therefore learning styles can be used and should be used in companies, institutions, organizations etc. etc., for learning styles creates not only personal insight, but also mutual respect. In Denmark this understanding of learning styles is spreading, not at a tearing speed though, but we do see an increasing interest. The same thing goes for the US.
The more children and adolescents get acquainted with learning styles, the more natural the lifelong use of learning styles will be – no doubt for the benefit to all mankind. A bombastic and pompous utterance? Well, perhaps – but trust me, I'm right.