Learning Styles

Research learning styles and define the characteristics of activist, pragmatist, theorist and reflector. Evaluate how these different learning styles affect learning in music.

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw extensive academic study of how we learn, more specifically in how we perceive information, how we process information and how we organise and present information.   It became widely accepted that there are several different types of learning styles, naturally as we all have different approaches to how we learn and remember information. Dunn and Dunn (1978) proposed that teachers should assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student's learning style. Today teachers are encouraged to develop a multifaceted approach to their teaching to include all learner types.

Academic research suggests that the most effective method of learning is experiential learning. Rogers and Freiberg (1994) described experiential learning as equivalent to personal change and growth. They felt that all human beings have a natural inclination to learn and the role of the teacher is to then facilitate such learning. The most influential work on experiential learning was by David Kolb (1984) who determined that the four combinations of processing and perceiving information lead to four different learning styles. David Kolb's work drew heavily on the work of John Dewey and can be traced back to a famous proverb of Confucius around 450 BC "Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand."   Chapman (2005) comments that Kolb’s work is acknowledged by academics, teachers, managers and trainers as truly seminal works; fundamental concepts towards our understanding and explaining human learning behaviour.   According to Kolb’s model, in order for learning to be effective, all four of these approaches (see diagram below) must be incorporated. Kolb (1984) argued that to optimise learning all four of...