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How to accommodate different learning styles in the same classroom: Analysis of theories and methods of learning styles



Effective learning has always been a major concern for many educational associations. It is considered one of the most important learning processes that occur in the classroom. Teachers who are interested in understanding the process of the methods of achieving effective learning look hard for the appropriate pedagogical methods that enable them to improve classroom instruction and cover all types of students in the classroom. When the effective learning is achieved in the classroom, students can benefit from what they learn not only inside classroom but also outside classrooms. To achieve effective learning as well as effective teaching, it might be necessary for teachers to become familiar with students’ methods and theories of learning (Hunt, 2011; Kumar, & Chacko, 2010). This research paper sheds light on the theories and the models of learning and teaching styles and how they play an important role in the lives of students in classroom.
ISSN 1712-8056[Print]
ISSN 1923-6697[Online]
Canadian Social Science
Vol. 11, No. 3, 2015, pp. 26-33
DOI: 10.3968/6434
Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
How to Accommodate Different Learning Styles in the Same Classroom:
Analysis of Theories and Methods of Learning Styles
Baderaddin Mahmood Yassin[a],*; Mohammad Abdulmajid Almasri[b]
[a]Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction/ ESL (English as a
Second Language), Amman Arab University, Amman-Jordan.
[b]Assistant Professor of Measurement and Evaluation, Syria.
*Corresponding author.
Received 8 October 2014; accepted 24 February 2015
Published online 26 March 2015
Effective learning has always been a major concern for
many educational associations. It is considered one of
the most important learning processes that occur in the
classroom. Teachers who are interested in understanding
the process of the methods of achieving effective learning
look hard for the appropriate pedagogical methods that
enable them to improve classroom instruction and cover
all types of students in the classroom. When the effective
learning is achieved in the classroom, students can benefit
from what they learn not only inside classroom but also
outside classrooms. To achieve effective learning as well
as effective teaching, it might be necessary for teachers
to become familiar with students’ methods and theories
of learning (Hunt, 2011; Kumar, & Chacko, 2010). This
research paper sheds light on the theories and the models
of learning and teaching styles and how they play an
important role in the lives of students in classroom.
Key words: Learning style; Teaching style; Effective
learning; ESL
Yassin, B. M., & Almasri, M. A. (2015). How to Accommodate
Different Learning Styles in the Same Classroom: Analysis of Theories
and Methods of Learning Styles. Canadian Social Science
, 11
(3), 26-33.
Available from:
Nowadays, the learning style concept is widely used
in many educational associations worldwide. After an
extensive review of learning style literature to give a clear
and vivid knowledge about learning style concept, it was
difficult to locate the roots of learning styles, and articles
of the one who created the concept of learning style is
vague. However, the concept of learning style is used to
describe the idea of individuals having different learning
preferences that aid them with the preferred methods
needed to achieve effective and meaningful learning.
Sarasin (1999) defined learning styles as “the
preference or predisposition of an individual to
perceive and process information in a particular way or
combination of ways” (p.3). According to Sarasin (1999),
learning styles can be understood not only in terms of
learning preferences but also in terms of intelligence.
Learning styles can be explored through intelligence
or through primary senses of human beings. Grasha
(1990) described the idea of learning style as the way in
which students give preference for thinking, relating to
others, different experiences, and for different classroom
environment and experiences.
The idea of learning styles emphasizes that individuals
learn differently and prefer to be taught differently.
Several researchers such as Dunn (1983), Moran (1991),
Hunt, Rensulli, Gardner and Hatch, and Kolb (1976) were
interested in learning styles of students; they investigated
students’ learning style preferences, and the variables that
affect the preferences of those learning styles of students
(Gallaher & Nunn, 1998). Most of their research studies
support the idea that students can master the curriculum
if they are taught with different strategies or different
methods that complete what they lack in classroom
instructions. According to Dunn (1999); Tulbure (2011),
most students cannot internalize new and difficult
academic information without relying on their learning
styles. As a result, teachers will find it difficult if learning
styles are ignored in classrooms.
Jahiel (2008) discussed three types of learning styles:
visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning styles. According
27 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Baderaddin Mahmood Yassin; Mohammad Abdulmajid Almasri (2015).
Canadian Social Science, 11
(3), 26-33
to Jahiel, most of the misunderstanding, confusion, lack of
attention, or the students’ feeling of blaming themselves
for being not clever enough to understand the lesson is due
to the lack of communication between the students and the
instructors. The problem happens when teachers insist on
teaching using their own teaching methods without paying
attention to the students’ learning styles. As a result,
students will not comprehend the materials and will blame
themselves for not being able to understand the lesson.
Gardner and Hatch (1989) discussed the idea of
how people learn differently and have different kinds
of intelligences. If a student is not good in one of the
subjects, it does not mean that he or she is a low achiever.
Some students are good in some subjects but weak in
others. If teachers, however, are committed to match their
teaching methods with students learning styles, students
may become better in the fields in which they are weak.
According to Gallaher and Nunn (1998), “with the
explosion of the brain research done in 1990, it had
become known to instructors that learning is not the
simple clear-cut process that they associate with the one-
room schoolhouse” (p.77). Since 1990, more information
about the students and teachers learning preference has
been investigated. Teachers have been encouraged to
examine and test their learning styles before they start
teaching. They were motivated to learn the strength of
their learning styles and teaching styles as well. As a
result, matching teaching styles to students’ learning
styles increases teacher productivity and students’
comprehension level in classroom (Gallaher & Nunn,
Learning style was defined by several researchers such as
Dunn (1979), Reid (1998), Fleming (1998), Kolb (1984),
and others. The concept of “learning style” was also cited
in many popular research studies and books such as Dunn
and Griggs (2000), Nunn and Gallaher (1998), Gregory
(2005), and Sprenger (2003). It has been recognized
widely in classrooms in the United States for more than
two decades. Educators have been aware that individuals
learn in a unique way that improves the comprehension
process. Gallaher and Nunn (1998) compared a learning
style to human beings ’fingerprints. They argued that a
learning style is very unique and very individual, thus
they compared it to a human fingerprint.
According to Reid (1998), learning styles are
internally-based characteristics that are used by learners
to understand new information and discover how to
learn best. Learners prefer to boost their confidence and
consequently their performance. They do not follow the
teaching styles of their teachers because they retain their
learning styles even if they encounter different teaching
styles and different classroom environments.
Some researchers differentiate between learning styles
and learning strategies. They claimed that both concepts
are unique and different from each other. For example,
Reid (1998) argued that learning styles are internal skills
that were acquired unconsciously, but learning strategies
are external skills that can be learned consciously. Learning
strategies are adopted by individuals to improve and
develop their level of comprehension. On the other hand,
a learning style is an internal characteristic developed in
people since childhood. Children grow up with individual
learning styles which are difficult to replace with new
learning styles in the future.
Languis (1982) has a different point of view than
Reid. He believes that a learning style is a consistent
pattern of behavior that is formed deeply in the structure
of personality which is molded by human development
variables and cultural influences of experience in
the school and in the society as well. Learning styles
refer to methods that individuals used to process to
understand regular information and comprehend new
difficult information. When ESL students encounter new
information, they use their regular learning styles to
comprehend both the new information and new teaching
Dunn (1984) defined learning styles as the way in
which each person absorbs and retains information
and skill. According to Dunn, the process of absorbing
and retaining information is different for every student
regardless of how that process is described; it is still
different for every student. Learning style is the way in
which each person begins to concentrate on, process,
internalize, and retain new academic information. Because
each person learns differently from every other person, the
same instructional environment, methods, and resources
will be more effective for some learners and less effective
for others (Brand, Dunn & Greb 2002; Burke & Dunn,
Shaughnessy (1998) defined learning styles as a
method that students use to focus on, process, and
analyze new difficult tasks, information, skills, and so
forth. According to Shaughnessy, the learning styles of
individuals are controlled by age, achievement level,
cultural background, individual’s method of analysis, and
Jahiel (2008) defined learning styles as the way in
which individuals process information and analyze it.
According to Jahiel, individuals do not rely on one type
of learning styles but some of them have one primary
learning style and others have more than one learning
style. Individuals observe, process, and analyze the
information by using one or more learning styles in order
to have a complete comprehension process.
According to Gergory (2005), a learning style is “a
lens that we as educators can use to help differentiate
instruction to appeal, engage, and facilitate learning for
Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
How to Accommodate Different Learning Styles in the Same Classroom:
Analysis of Theories and Methods of Learning Styles
different types of students who have different needs”
(p.2). It is important that educators imagine that a learning
style is the gate that can give them a chance to discover
how students visualize, hear, understand, and learn from
teachers’ instructions. Gregroy asserted the policy that
asked teachers to do some modification to their teaching
methods in order to match students’ learning styles. If
teachers modify their teaching methods, they can create a
classroom environment suitable for all types of students’
learning preference, and they will present materials that
appeal to the visual, aural, read/ write and kinesthetic
learning styles of students (Gregory, 2005).
To conclude, learning style is the way in which
somebody approaches the acquisition of knowledge. There
are different types of learning styles. Some individuals
have more than one and some of them rely only on one
primary learning style. Factors, such as age, achievement
level, academic level, gender, and cultural background,
affect and control individuals’ learning styles.
Since the 1970s, the concept of learning styles has been
investigated profoundly (Cassidy, 2004). It has provided
valuable insights about enhancing leaning performance
and individuals’ learning preferences. There is also a
general acceptance that individuals’ learning styles have
impacted on the performance of their learning outcomes.
Learning styles of individuals are different and vary
among individuals. These differences are considered
important because of their influence on the academic
achievement of individuals. Therefore, choosing the
proper learning style is one of the critical factors that
affect the learning outcomes of students.
The learning style theory focuses on learning
preferences among students and how they prefer to
learn in academic situation. Most of the literature that
was written about learning style concept focused on the
immediate and long term results of teaching students.
According to Sim, and Sim (1995), the majority of
learning style literature research on learning styles
evolved from the psychological research on individual
differences. The research of how students prefer to
learn concentrates on the relationships of human senses
and the memory, and how they develop students’
comprehension ability. The importance of the concept of
learning preference motivated researchers to start looking
for a measure that can help individuals recognize their
favorite learning styles. For decades, different learning-
style inventories have been developed investigating the
learning preferences of individuals. Most of the learning
styles inventories and theories as well focused on the
procedures of teaching and learning and how to gain a
quality learning outcome. Therefore, researchers have
been working on a qualified learning style inventories
that will secure effective learning outcomes. According
to Campbell (1991), “at least 32 commercially published
instruments are being used by researchers and educators
to assess the different dimensions of learning style. “The
instruments vary in their length, format, and complexity”
(p.1). Three of these instruments are chosen to be
discussed in this research study.
Kolb published the first model of Experiential Learning
Theory in 1976. The model consisted of four processes
learning cycle: concrete experience (CE), reflective
observation (RO), abstract conceptualization (AC), and
active experimentation (AE). According to Kolb, the most
effective learning takes place when learning activities
embrace all four processes (Hawk, &Shah, 2007; Cassidy,
2004). David Kolb developed a widely used and simply
administered 9 questions in 1976 and developed them to
be 12 questions questionnaire in 1985. The 12 questions
survey helps individuals to measure their learning styles
and learning preferences.
The learning style inventory (LSI) is based on
preferred learning styles and stages. The LSI results
reflect the individuals’ focus on the four learning
processes and measure individuals’ preferences of
concreteness and reflection (Raschick, Maypole, &Day
1998). The model has been used on a comprehensive
learning theory that helps individuals recognize their
learning styles. Raschick, Maypole, & Day (1998)
explored ways that application of David Kolb’s learning
style model can improve the quality of field education.
In their research study, they first explain Kolb’s theories
concerning preferred learning styles, the need to complete
four learning stages in sequence (concrete experience,
reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and
active experimentation), and combinations of preferred
learning styles in quadrants.
Dunn (1990) defined learning styles as, “the way in
which each learner begins to concentrate on process and
retain new and difficult information” (p.224). When a
student’s natural tendency and style are triggered, his/
her ability to concentrate and make associations improves
his chances of transferring information to long-term
memory. The Dunn and Dunn’s Productivity Environment
Preference Survey model questionnaire offers 100
questions that cover the five stimuli and their elements.
The questionnaire is self-score and self-interprets (Hawk
& Shah, 2007). The researchers indicated that there are
five learning style stimuli and several elements within
each stimulus. The five stimuli have been identified in
helping individuals their process of learning. These five
stimuli are:
• Environmental
• Emotional
• Sociological
• Physical
• Psychological
29 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Baderaddin Mahmood Yassin; Mohammad Abdulmajid Almasri (2015).
Canadian Social Science, 11
(3), 26-33
Environmental stimulus includes: sound, light,
temperature, and design. Emotional stimulus includes:
structure, motivation, persistence, and responsibility/
conformity structure. The Sociological stimuli includes:
study/learn Alone, paired with another, study/learn with
a group Colleagues. Physical stimuli includes: perceptual
strengths (auditory, visual, tactile, intake, time of day, and
mobility). The Psychological stimulus includes: analytical
or global, left brain or right brain, reflective or impulsive
(Cassidy, 2004).
According to Dunn (1990), individuals differ among
each other. Some of them prefer to learn in quiet places
but others do not prefer quiet places. These kinds of
individuals may be affected if teachers ignore their
learning preferences. Light is important to some
individuals. Some people work well under bright lights,
but others prefer to learn under low lights. According to
Dunns’ LSI, the following factors can affect individuals’
learning process.
• Temperature
• Design
• Motivation
• Time
• Mobility
• Individuals’senses
Fleming’s VAK/VARK model is expanded upon the
earlier Neuro-linguistic programming VARK models:
visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic or tactile
learners (Lincoln & Rademacher, 2006). It is a perceptual
mode that focuses on different ways in which individuals
take in and give out information in order to provide them
with a profile of their instructional preferences.
According to Fleming (1998), “the VARK is in the
category of instructional preference because it deals with
perceptual modes (p.1)”. Students use their senses in any
academic setting. They use their sight, speech, and their
hearing with less focus on taste, touch or smell. According
to him there are some dominant preferences and some that
are close to zero.
The VARK inventory uses four modalities. The first
one is Visual (V). According to Fleming (1998), “this
mode includes information in charts, graphs, flow charts,
circles, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies
and other devices that teachers use to represent what
could have been presented in words. This mode does
not include these media:-pictures, movies, videos and
animated websites because they use a combination of
many modes (multimodal)-mainly kinesthetic, read/
write and aural” (p.1). The second modality is Aural
(A). This model describes students’ hearing and speech.
Students who prefer this mode learn best from lectures,
group discussions, or students’ seminars. Fleming (1998)
argued that students who prefer to this model learn best
from traditional lectures, group discussions, tutorials,
and seminars in which they have a chance to talk and
communicate with other students. The third modality is
Read/Write(R). According to Fleming (1998), “this modal
preference is for information displayed as text and printed
words” (p.2); and most teachers have a strong preference
for this modality. The fourth modality is Kinesthetic (K).
This modality refers to perceptual preference related to the
use of experience and practice. The key in this modality is
that students will be connected to reality.
Fleming (1998) presented several research studies
that proved that students can develop their academic
performance and get higher test scores when there is a
correlation between students’ learning styles, tested by
VARK instrument, and teachers’ teaching styles (Hawk &
Shah, 2007).
Teaching is about making students differently. What I
mean by “different” is making them unique. Educational
institutions always look for methods that can assist them
to make their institution more effective and more active in
regards to teaching students. Since students prefer to learn
by adopting specific learning styles, teachers also prefer
to teach students specific methods and strategies. Herman
Witkin (1977) reported that elementary teachers have
different teaching styles. According to Herman Witkin, the
elementary school teachers prefer to be socially oriented.
They observed other people for appropriate behavior
and they respond to different views and opinions. On
the other hand, the secondary school teachers prefer to
take decisions by themselves so they prefer to be more
independent. They are less social than the elementary
teachers and more self-motivated (as cited in Campbell,
Dunn (1979) discussed how teachers teach students.
Dunn argued that the efforts of teachers misdirect their
wrong assumptions and their superficial designs. They
choose to develop the students’ performance level but
sometimes they fail because they are misdirected by their
assumptions. According to Özkan,andUlutaş (2012),
teaching is not only telling and learning. It is more
than these limited concepts. Both concepts have deeper
meanings than the superficial assumption of a simple
word. The superficial assumption may lead to superficial
teaching and learning process which create difficulties for
both students and teachers.
According to Dunn (1979), the mismatch occurs
among students and teachers is due to some difficulties
in recognizing the positive characteristics of teachers’
styles and difficulties in using the appropriate measure
that scales the aspects of the teaching learning process.
Another difficulty is that teachers may not be good enough
to teach even if he/she is knowledgeable, and he/she may
not have the knowledge of learning styles when observing
Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
How to Accommodate Different Learning Styles in the Same Classroom:
Analysis of Theories and Methods of Learning Styles
students. According to Dunn (1979), the teaching style is
a result of the academic background of the teachers. It is
a result of how teachers learned. This what clarifies the
difference in teaching styles among teachers and who they
reflect on exercises using different teaching method that
imitates the way they learned.
Campbell (1991) argued that instructors usually
lean towards teaching the way they feel relaxed and
comfortable in a learning situation. They usually
encourage students to observe their ways of teaching.
Some teachers believe that students can learn and
comprehend the lesson if they imitate teachers. Some
teachers believe that their style or method of teaching is
the best and students can benefit and understand since
this teaching style is preferable by teachers themselves.
In this way, they teach the way they like and do not give
learning styles any attention. It is not always the case for
one reason.
According to Sarasin (1999), if teachers prefer to
perceive things in an auditory way, their teaching styles
will be likely to emphasize hearing. If they tend to
perceive things visually, their teaching strategies will be
likely to rely on visual picture. If they tend to perceive
things in tactile ways, their teaching strategies will
probably appeal to the touch and movement. To solve
this problem, instructors are encouraged to recognize the
learning styles of students and integrate them with class
activities. Relying on teaching styles only may create
obstacles for students in general and ESL students in
When teachers think of how and what they teach,
they will discover that their teaching style consists of
two parts. One is their learning styles and the second
their past successful learning experiences. Therefore,
teachers teach the way they learn and they tend to choose
the lessons according to their learning styles. Educators
and researchers cannot deny the fact of what works for
teachers might not work for students which may lead
to academic gap among teachers and students (Sarasin,
1999). When this gap occurs in class, neither teachers
nor students will feel comfortable in class. As a result,
the low comprehension level may expand and students
may become bored; teachers will not feel that students are
willing to comprehend the lesson. The motivation will be
in the lowest level for both teachers and students.
According to Campbell (1991), teachers need to be
aware of their own learning styles. They need to work
on their teaching styles to motivate students to be high
achievers. Teaching ESL students is not easy compared to
regular classes. It is sometime difficult to teach students
according to their learning styles but it is sometimes
worthy and necessary to be applied in these types of
classrooms. So teachers who teach to gain a stipend at the
end of each month will not be able to motivate students to
develop and be higher achievers. Teaching students need
more than a salary to teach them effectively. Teachers
need to be passionate for teaching students; they should
care for their students regardless of their origins and be
willing to teach them effectively.
It is known that teachers like to teach students the
way they were taught and some teachers believe that it
is the best way to teach. Teachers also tend to choose the
subjects they teach based on their learning preferences,
but they have to change and collaborate with students
who play the main role in classroom (Jaenke, 2012).
When teachers recognize how students learn, they will
be able to customize these learning styles to teach styles
that are most responsive to that style. Some teachers will
be comfortable using several different teaching methods
since they are used to use only one or two but they can
try to wait for the results to see if the students’ level of
performance is developed or goes lower.
Kayoko Yamauchi (2008) conducted her dissertation
on how adult ELLs (English language learners) learn
effectively according to their learning preferences and
their cultural backgrounds as well. The researcher used
descriptive statistics to understand the respondents’
background in relation to the results of the Productivity
Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS).
The comparison between productivity and learning
styles preference of ESL teachers and students showed
that similarities and differences among ESL students
and teachers were significant for understanding learning
style preference of diverse respondents. Similarities
from the result of standard score over 60 showed that
the majority of ESL students and teachers preferred to
learn in the afternoon and they produced better outcomes
in a structured and peer-oriented learning environment.
The higher preference for the afternoon is because the
difference of time between ESL students’ home country
and United States in which it affects the time learning
preference. This encourages teachers to adjust the time
for new ESL students to provide an effective learning
opportunity for ESL students.
The more the students reflect upon themselves in
learning process, the more they would be able to develop
self-awareness in developing their learning styles. The
result of this study showed that ESL learners’ level of
academics and country of origin controls the motivation
of these students, so teachers need to examine the
learning environment and the type of programs as well. In
doing this, teachers will be able to extend ESL students’
performance and pay more attention when they choose the
educational setting for their students.
Dunn and Dunn (1978) emphasized the need to recognize
the learning style characteristics of students and then
31 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Baderaddin Mahmood Yassin; Mohammad Abdulmajid Almasri (2015).
Canadian Social Science, 11
(3), 26-33
to assign them to methods and resources with which
they are most likely to achieve. The researchers argued
that the recognition of learning preferences of students
will likely lead teachers to consider an overall teaching
program that covers the major types of students in the
classroom. It will help instructors to facilitate student’s
comprehension level by dividing them into matching
groups which will facilitate students’ academic progress
in the classroom.
The fact that individuals in general and students in
specific have different learning strategies forces students
to use these kinds of strategies to observe, remember
and then learn new information and use it appropriately
in class. The students are the only ones who will be
responsible for using the appropriate learning strategies
for the sake of comprehension and problem solving.
According to Franzoni, and Assar (2009), “Students
go through a process where they recognize the new
knowledge, review previous concepts, organize and restore
that previous knowledge, match it with the new one,
assimilate it and interpret everything that was seen on the
subject” (p.19). When students receive new information,
they try to collect this information, organize it, and then
match it to their previous information. If the method that
was used to teach this information was different from
the one that is used by students, comprehension gab may
occur between the sender and the receiver of information
(Franzoni & Assar, 2009).
Teaching styles are somehow different from learning
styles in which teaching styles are used by educators to
facilitate the comprehension process of learning among
students. The design, organization, and the method of
delivering teaching styles in class are crucial to the
comprehension process. They play the role of connecting
teaching strategies to students’ learning strategies.
Teaching styles must be designed in a way that matches
learning styles of students. Matching teaching styles to
student learning styles help students to be motivated to
discover, observe, and learn the knowledge by themselves
(Franzoni & Assar, 2009; Yamauchi, 2008; Dunn, 1999);
Exploring the learning styles of students is important
and necessary to be investigated in any type of classroom.
According to Reid (1998), English as a second language
(ESL) teachers began to investigate the learning styles
of their students in second-language classrooms at the
beginning of 1990s. The way that students prefer to
learn is more important than the way teachers prefer
to teach. Accordingly, teachers need to investigate the
learning styles of their students to match their teaching in
classrooms. Some teachers teach their students according
to the method that they were taught by which sometimes
resulted in students’ lack of comprehension and absence
of motivation.
Boatman, Courtney and Lee (2008) discussed the
impact of faculty and student learning styles on student
performance, and how students and instructors were
asked to complete the VARK questionnaire to identify
which of the sensory modalities they prefer to use to
learn information. Hawk and Shah (2007) insisted on the
idea that teaching methods do not work with all types of
students. So teachers need to have more knowledge about
the learning styles of students. Layzer (2000) discussed
the role of classroom context in enabling the students’
academic success. The researcher observed classrooms
and interviewed several teachers to find out the
problematic contradictions that are embedded in beliefs of
teachers of adolescents.
The majority of teachers rely on lecture as primary
teaching methods. They think that students learn auditory,
but it is not the case all the time. Teachers need to teach
students using methods that complete the students
learning styles by using resources that are complement
to the students’ cultural background. In doing this,
teachers create a friendly environment for students that
can motivate them to accept the school and the new
environment at the same time.
Burke and Dunn (2003) stated that teachers in
the Freeport School District (FSD) began teaching
to individual learning styles to ensure that all of their
students performed well in school. According to these
researchers, the students’ academic achievement can
increase significantly if teachers teach students using
approaches and resources that complement the students’
particular learning styles.
The teachers can also create lesson plans that
motivate students and help them to know what exactly
instructional objectives are required in the class and how
they can achieve it. Backward design is very effective
in these kinds of classrooms. It supports students with
all information about the class in advance so they will
not be confused and they will work to achieve the
lesson objectives. Students also need to know when and
how mastery can be evidenced, so the teachers have to
develop a scope and sequence to help students and their
parents to prepare well for each lesson (Dunn et al.,
Jahiel (2008) also encouraged teachers to match
their teaching styles with students’ learning styles.
According to Jahiel, a teacher can teach appropriately to
the learning styles of the students if he or she matched
the teaching styles to the students learning styles. But
in order to provide a better way of learning to students,
learning style should be determined earlier. Variables
such as personality, perception, ability and intelligence
should be considered when teaching when teaching
students (Kazu, 2009). Effective teaching motivates
educators to realize that everyone in the classroom is a
teacher and is a learner at the same time. The wisdom
behind this is to give students the chance to learn and the
educators to step back and facilitate the learning process
(Sprenger, 2003).
Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
How to Accommodate Different Learning Styles in the Same Classroom:
Analysis of Theories and Methods of Learning Styles
The only obstacle that faces teachers in teaching students
based on their learning styles is the probability that a high
number of students have diverse learning styles. This
might create a conflict in the classroom since covering
those different learning styles in the same classroom
is challenging task for teachers and cannot be done at
all times (Willingham & Daniel, 2012). Researchers
cannot ignore the fact the students have different learning
preferences. For instant, some students like to learn
visually, some want to learn by listening, and others like
to learn by doing. Some students want to learn with peers,
but others prefer to work alone. To achieve effective
teaching, teachers have to consider and measure students’
learning styles at the beginning of each academic year in
order to save students’ time and efforts. According to Li-
fang (2010), a previous knowledge of learning styles will
save both the teacher and the student’s time and make the
education process effective and efficient.
Some teachers deal with the concept of learning styles
with some caution (Reid, 1998). They are more aware of
their teaching styles than the learning styles of students,
so they depend on their teaching styles to teach students.
This can create problems for teachers because it cannot
be a solution for teaching all kinds of students in all times
(Willingham & Daniel, 2012).
Gogus and Gunes (2011) investigated the students’
learning styles and effective habits in a Turkish university.
In their study, they aimed to investigate the relationship
between ESL students’ learning styles, effective
learning habits, academic performance, and their skills.
The researchers argue that knowledge of the students’
learning styles can help educators to design a learning
environment suitable for students with different interests
and preferences. They discovered that Turkish students
generally like to learn through practical application like
solving problems, trying to make correct decisions and
preferring to deal with technical works or problems as
opposed to working with social relations. The second
dominant learning style, in this study, was focusing
on abstract concepts, making reflective observation
and assimilating them into an integrated explanation.
According to these researchers, Turkish students rarely
prefer learning through carrying out experiments, taking
risks generating new ideas, observing situations form
different perspectives, or bringing different ideas together.
Nowadays, many educational associations apply
different educational methods in classrooms to cover all
types of students’ learning preferences. Effective teachers
know that students are different, so they have different
learning styles. Therefore, differentiating the teaching
methods is necessary in the classroom. Students need
some special type of teaching that takes into account their
learning backgrounds and learning styles. The teaching
methods play a vital role in the learning process of
students. The weaknesses of students can be alleviated if
there are a variety of teaching methods in the classroom
(Mondal, 2011).
Effective teaching practices can force teachers to
think about teaching students through using different
teaching methods. This technique enables educators
to cover different kinds of students in the classroom.
When teachers are empowered with a variety of teaching
methods, they will be able to make choices that affect
the teaching process in classrooms positively (Mondal,
2011). As a result, teachers do not always need to link the
students’ failure to the students’ lack of study. It might be
that these students were taught using undesirable teaching
styles. Some teachers underestimate their students’
abilities, and they do not consider the learning styles of
their students as one of the reasons for failure which may
lead students to fail, which may lower their self-esteem
and make them frustrated students (Jahiel, 2008).
Learning styles are considered to be effective, important,
sensitive, and serious factors in preparing students for
the academic and communicative professional practices
in class. Individuals’ learning styles are considered one
of the important factors that affect the comprehension
level of ESL students. According to Kruzich, Friesen,
and Van (1986), to increase the academic level of students
in schools, educators are urged to take into account
three important elements: the nature of knowledge and
skills that are taught to students in schools, the teaching
methods that are used in schools, and the learning styles
that students use to learn in classroom; therefore, learning
styles and teaching styles play a key role in developing
and enhancing the students’ learning process.
The process of learning styles needs to be discussed
in depth for the benefit of all students around the world.
The reason behind the profound discussion is that a better
understanding of the students’ different learning styles
can compel teachers to match their teaching styles to
students’ learning styles which may lead to a higher level
of students’ proficiency in learning in schools.
Boatman, Courtney and Lee (2008) conducted a
research on the effects of learning styles and the linkage
between them and teaching styles. The researchers
distributed the “VARK questionnaire” of 211 students at
Saint Mary College in California. Of the targeted students
49% were women and the rest were men. Of all students,
57 % of the students were Caucasian, 20% were Latino,
13% were Asian-American, 7 % were African-American,
and 2 % were Native American.
The study suggested that there was a strong preference
for visual learning styles. Therefore, teachers were
advised to use the visual teaching methods in order to help
students develop their performance level, help students to
33 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Baderaddin Mahmood Yassin; Mohammad Abdulmajid Almasri (2015).
Canadian Social Science, 11
(3), 26-33
feel that they are studying in an encouraging environment,
allow student to feel special and achieve self-respect, and
also help students to improve the level of comprehension
in classroom.
Brunner and Majewski (1990) conducted a research
study of the teaching and learning styles. They were
able to prove that teachers who changed their teaching
styles from traditional teaching to learning-style teaching
methods were able to help their students to have higher
comprehension level which led to higher achievement
levels in the classroom (as cited in Shaughnessy, 1998).
Most research studies encouraged the fact that
recognition of students’ learning styles can help both
teachers and students to achieve effective learning. The
students can gain more knowledge and comprehension
and teachers can know how to prepare their teachings in
classrooms (Claxton & Murrell, 1987). The knowledge
of learning styles is beneficial for both, students and
instructors. The knowledge of learning styles will act as
a gate that can help individuals recognize their learning
preferences and it will help instructors to design interactive
lesson plans which may result in creating a supportive
learning environment in classroom. As a result, students can
feel special and achieve better understanding of lessons.
Boatman, K., Courtney, R., & Lee, W. (2008). See how they
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Campbell, B. J. (1991). Planning for a student learning style.
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Claxton, C. S., & Murrell, P. H., (1987). Learning styles:
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Dunn, R. (1984). Learning style: State of the science. Theory
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Dunn, R., & Stevenson, J. M. (1997). Teaching diverse college
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Gllaher, J., & Nunn, R. (1997). Inspiring tranquility: Stress
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... Teachers perceive learner style differences everyday in the classroom; face complexities in dealing with the learners of different learning styles; be aware of the issues; and adopt certain knowledge and skills for the total learning management in EFL classroom (Harmer, 2007a(Harmer, & 2007b. The knowledge and awareness of learners' learning styles is beneficial for both, students and teachers to recognize their learning preferences and specially instructors to create and manage a supportive learning environment in classroom (Yassin & Almasri, 2015). Hence, learning styles have been the subject of discussion in the field of EFL teaching and learning. ...
... How to accommodate different learning styles in the same classroom: Analysis of theories and methods of learning styles (Yassin & Almasri, 2015). 6 ...
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... For some scholars (Nasreen, 2014;Xu, 2011;Zhou, 2012), learning style is meant as an individual learner's methods of absorbing or receiving information in which they feel most comfortable to learn effectively. Learning methods or styles among students are diverse and very complicated for teachers to understand (Yassin & Almasri, 2015;Wong, 2015). As Wong pointed, even students who are from the same cultural background and in the same educational system, have different learning preferences. ...
... 30)." Similarly, Yassin and Almasri (2015) view that learning style is meant by "the way in which somebody approaches the acquisition of knowledge, (p. 28)". ...
... By knowing students' preferred learning styles, teachers are able to design suitable instructional methods and encourage students to learn better and achieve the educational purposes (Gilakjani, 2012;Mulalic et al., 2009;Razawi, et al., 2011;Tai, 2013). Seemingly, Yassin and Almasri (2015) propose a view that teachers may encounter difficulties in their teaching practices because of diversity of students' needs and learning situations. From this issue, it might lead to mismatches in teachers' teaching and students' learning styles or it may be an obstacle for students to learn things effectively. ...
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This study examines the preferred English learning styles among Laotian university-level English majors. It is a qualitative research, using a semi-structured interview with 10 purposively selected participants involved in a face-to-face interview. The findings reveal that most participants have more than one preferred learning style in English learning. Most of the participants have the tendency to prefer visual learning style over the others. Males prefer to be more kinesthetic-tactile learners than females, whereas females have the tendency to prefer learning in groups. The findings also show that the present learning styles applied by most participants differ from the ones they did in the past. Teacher, peer, and technology correlate with the participants' English learning style preferences. An analysis of students' learning styles is strongly recommended for teachers. An effective learning can happen if the teacher teaching styles are adapted to student needs and styles of learning.
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8th International Seminar of Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2020) 22 November 2020
... Teaching material in just one mode inevitably leads some students to succeed and others to fail. According to learning style theories, the explanation for differences in success is that the mode of instruction matched the learning styles of some students but not others (Dunn, 1984;Yassin & Almasri, 2015). Therefore, the solution is to design instruction that accounts for all students' learning styles. ...
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Traditional e-learning systems fall short in many respects when it comes to delivering content to learners in the most effective way. Research shows that e-learning systems are not accommodative of learners’ thinking and learning styles, which leads to poor performance. This paper proposes a way through which this problem can be addressed. The researcher believes that the technology of Artificial Intelligence can be integrated with the learning and thinking styles (Psychology) of learners in an e-learning system to provide an enriched learning experience. No attempts have been made so far to integrate Artificial intelligence and Psychology in an e-learning environment, making this paper unique. The paper explores this subject by designing a system that will be termed a “smart e-learning system.” The paper sought to propose Artificial Intelligence algorithms that will be applied to the learning and thinking styles of learners to come up with highly adaptive models for each student that enhances their learning experience. The significant difference in the performance of the control group and experimental group confirms that if psychology and AI are integrated, there is a significant improvement in the student learning experience in an e-learning system. This shows that Artificial Intelligence can work well with Psychology to enhance the learning experience in the e-learning environment.
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This study investigates leartiing styles and effective learnitig habits in a Turkish University. Research based on a small private utiiversity in Istanbul found that the percentages of undergradu-ate students examined by Kolb's Leaming Style Inventory listed in rank order from most to least were convergers first, assimila-tors second, accommodators and divergers (almost equal percentages) last. Moreover, this pattern remained stable when gender, faculty, grade level, academic success, weekly time man-agement and study planning variables were at issue. On the other hand, it was observed that significantly higher levels of effective leaming habits were revealed in women, seniors, academically successful ones, and students who studied regularly as well as engaged in social activities; however, using different learning styles did not make any contribution to the level of the use of effective learning habits. The results were discussed from an applied perspective and in the current higher education admis-sion system in Turkey. Introduction the learner, but also on the individual's
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Research shows that instruction geared to common learning characteristics can be more effective than instruction focused on individual differences. Scientists and poets see the world differently. Scientists focus on predictability and order; they are therefore interested in how seemingly different entities are actually the same. Poets are more often interested in the individual, the unique. Carl Linnaeus looked at a butterfly and thought about ways that it was similar to other insects, even more similar to other butterflies, and interchangeable with butterflies of the same species. Robert Frost looked at a butterfly and saw something worthy of its own elegy. Both perspectives have value, but they highlight a challenge for educators: How are we to think about individuality among students? How to Think About Differences On the one hand, if we think like a scientist and focus exclusively on ways in which students are the same, we're likely to name "best practices" that we think are applicable to all students and mulishly apply those practices to students who are clearly not benefiting from them. On the other hand, if we think like a poet and focus exclusively on students' individuality, we won't benefit from prior experience. If every child really is unique, then when I contemplate how to teach Tiffany I can't be sure that she'll benefit from the methods I've used successfully with other students. When presented with two extremes, one often assumes that the wise course lies toward the center. But we suggest that's not the case here. We should not envision a sliding scale of uniqueness and similarity and then pick a point on which we think the whole child can be located. Rather, we suggest three classes of differences that might apply to different characteristics of the child.
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This article explores ways that application of David Kolb's learning style model can improve the quality of field education. It first explains Kolb's theories concerning preferred learning styles, the need to complete four learning stages in sequence (concrete experience, reflective observation, conceptualization, and active experimentation), and combinations of preferred learning styles in quadrants. It then reports on the authors' research involving 45 students and 40 field supervisors at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in 1995—96. Findings about the preferred learning styles of students and supervisors, along with variables that affect learning styles and student satisfaction with the field experience, have already improved student—supervisor relationships locally and have implications for social work field programs elsewhere.
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The purpose of this study has been that of identifying the categories of teaching strategies that lead to the best academic outcomes for students having a certain learning style. We used five categories of teaching strategies along two Educational Sciences classes in one semester. A sample of 85 pre-service primary and pre-school teachers participated in the study. Data was collected through a survey method and has been analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. Our results support the idea that students with different learning styles achieve better learning outcomes when confronted with teaching strategies that respond to their learning preferences.
“See How They Learn”: The Impact of Faculty and Student Learning Styles on Student Performance in Introductory Economics This paper reports the results of a recent study completed at Saint Mary's College of California, in which the TUCE was administered to introductory economics students. Students and instructors also completed the VARK questionnaire to identify which of the sensory modalities they prefer to use to learn information. Results suggest that a strong visual learning preference positively influences student performance. Our finding that neither ethnicity nor gender influence student performance confirms results of prior research, and suggests that ethnicity- and gender-based differences in student performance may be at least partially caused by differences in learning style preferences.
People differ from each other in the manner in which they process information from the world. These individual differences are called learning styles’. The purpose of this paper is to explore how research in this field can benefit from certain findings in cognitive psychology. Following a review of some difficulties which afflict research on learning styles (e.g. inadequate construct validation of measures), attention is drawn to two relevant findings in cognitive research: the influence of prior knowledge on learning and the potential value to learners of ‘metacognitive’ awareness. Some implications of these findings for learning styles research are then discussed.