Quick and Cursory Look at Learning Styles


This article argues, and I agree, that individuals do indeed process information differently. There are a variety of reasons for those differences, however, only some of which are rooted in personality.

Others are rooted in process. Someone who has less experience with processing information verbally is often less good at doing so, in the short term. This difference can go away if you target their verbal learning.

Someone who has little experience with a new set of concepts may need to start thinking about things concretely, building up to abstractions. Unmentioned in the article, some may prefer to stay “abstract” because working out concrete implications feels difficult. I used to be that student.

People will have distinct strengths and limitations. But these limitations are best revealed only after someone has consistently tried, with effective instruction, and failed. Even if they persist in failing, however, they will learn and grow in the process. It can be, in the language of Robert Bjork, a memory researcher, a desirable difficulty.


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