learning - (v) acquiring knowledge, understanding or skill by instruction or study
styles - (n) various distinctive manners, customs, conventions or forms
Each individual is unique in the skills and resources that they use to learn. This individually unique approach to learning is a students learning style. While the definition for learning styles makes intuitive sense it has not been so easy to define sets of learning characteristics. There are a number of ways for describing learning tendencies or personal approaches to learning. Some learners are more successful in social groups, whereas others may prefer to work alone to master portions of a discipline. Some learners are described as impulsive or reflective. All the differences that students bring to the learning process have been categorized into various learning style schemes.
There is an abundance of recent educational research that has documented a number of different learning styles. Two of the most common are Gardnerís Multiple Intelligence Theory and the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. In fact, educators will find an abundance of information on almost any model for classifying learning traits that they may choose to adopt. Ultimately, the purpose of looking into learning styles is not to find another way to classify or explain student learning. Rather, studying student learning styles will remind educators of individual learning differences and the great need to develop strategies and activities that will help all students be successful learners.
Guild, P. (May, 1994). The Culture/Leaning Style Connection. Educational Leadership: 16-21.
Montgomery, S.M. and Groat, L.N. (1998). Student learning styles and their implications for teaching. Occasional Paper No. 10. Ann Arbor, MI: The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, University of Michigan. http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/ CRLT_no10.pdf.