Learning Styles: Personalize Your Online Education

Since studying online is mostly done at home, it makes sense for students to make their home learning environments as comfortable and as conducive to study as possible. It’s sort of a castle within, your personal stronghold for all your learning needs. This is because people ascribe to different types of learning – individual patterns of studying and thinking – and our main task is actually to mold our surroundings according to our learning styles.

One such approach to the study and management of one’s personal learning space is that of the Dunn and Dunn’s Learning Styles model. This model assumes the existence of 5 main factors that affect one’s preferences when engaged in learning tasks: (1) environmental, (2) emotional, (3) sociological, (4) physiological, and (5) psychological. This learning styles model also tell us that how we study is as unique as who we are: no learning style is better than another. Knowing this, you could find ways to make the most out of your online education. Let us tackle each in turn and understand the main points of each category.

Environmental factors – Are you comfortable working in quiet solitude, with an uncluttered table in front of you and the air conditioner in full blast? Or do you study while sitting on your bed, stereo blaring and with just a hint of the evening breeze blowing from your window? These variations speak of only one thing: that there is a combination environmental factors that makes it conducive for you to study. Your environmental preferences could be tweaked according to the type of sounds you hear, the type of light you study by, the temperature of the place you’re studying in and the actual design or lay-out of your place of study. No preference is deemed more effective, only that it follows what you are comfortable with when you do your studying. Whether you like to study on your bed, in the study room or just outside your front porch, your place of study is all up to you.

Emotional factors – Other factors are also in play when customizing our learning styles, one of which is the emotional component of a learning task. For example, do you like rewarding yourself after finally finishing a hard project, or is it important that you find a project interesting before you start on it? How you answer this question reflects your preferences about how you motivate yourself with regards to learning tasks. One’s learning style is also varied in terms of how responsible a person is and in terms of how much structure they would want when being assigned a task. Do you want to have step by step instructions to the project you were assigned to, or would you prefer that you be given enough leeway to experiment on the procedure? We also have to consider how persistent are we when it comes to finishing projects: do we finish something all in one go or piece-wise over a couple of days? Knowing one’s learning style in terms of emotional preferences could go a long way in one’s online education.

Sociological factors – One’s learning preferences might also vary in terms of how many people we are comfortable with when engaged in a task. Do we prefer group work over solitude, or is it more enticing to be working in pairs? Online education is a very mixed lot in terms of sociological factors, and it pays to know how we would like to go about in studying online. For example, if we’re the type who wants collaboration, then we could join online communities that are in line with the topic we are doing. For people who like working by themselves, online work would be just fine as it is.

Physiological factors – People say that eating while studying is not really recommended, and that we should stay put in one place when finishing a task. Not so with the Dunn and Dunn learning styles model: every variation is an accepted learning style. Case in point, there are 7 physiological elements that we could vary in terms of our study preferences: hearing, touching, viewing, experiencing, intake, time, and mobility. If we like to hear music, what kind of music do we want for our studying? Do we prefer watching videos over reading about a subject? Are we the type to munch on chips (i.e. intake) while studying? Do we like moving around when engaged in a learning task? Are we night owls or morning people? These are the physiological variations to one’s learning style, and one thing we have to remember if you are to maximize your distance learning benefits.

Psychological factors – Last but not the least are the psychological factors that affect our study. Are we global thinkers (i.e. seeing the forest before the trees) or are we detail-oriented, analytical thinkers? Do we like planning before starting on a task or are we the type to just plunge in? Psychological factors deal with the how we frame any kind of learning task, and are very important in how we motivate and structure our learning schedules.

Knowing our learning styles is the first step in creating a conducive environment for online study, and is also well worth the investment. Can you see yourself in the examples we provided? Be sure to share your particular learning style in the comments page, your contributions are welcome!

4 Responses to “Learning Styles: Personalize Your Online Education”

  1. […] seeking an education online. Aside from providing different options that capitalize on different learning styles, these educational alternatives also show the varying degrees that people could devote to their […]

  2. […] try to search for Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, and Ning networks. If you’re the type to personalize your online education with social interaction, then this is the way to […]

  3. […] of any educational task. Though we could find ways to make lecture notes more interesting, or personalize our education with learning styles, if we can’t have the capacity to memorize content then all will be for nothing. To start your […]

  4. […] Personalize your online education y customizing your study space. Be aware of the learning styles you employ and capitalize on them to make the perfect learning environment. As much as possible, reserve a room or a table just for online study; the way it is, if your children see you there, then they’ll known you’re doing some serious school work. Your study area will also need some sort of shelving space for your books and manuals so these will always be at hand. Decorate your study space with motivational quotes or a favorite poster; how you personalize your learning space is limited only by your imagination. […]

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