Dunn & Price Learning style
Teachers must have a reliable and valid instrument to accurately identify students’ learning styles. They may also misinterpret students’ behaviours and misunderstand any symptoms such as determining students’ needs i.e. whether a youngster’s hyperactivity is an indication of the need for mobility, variety, kinesthetic resources, or discipline. Since 1967 Dr. Rita and Kenneth Dunn have been investing their time to compile and scrutinise educational literature and research concerning how people learn.
Through their observation, Dr Rita and Kenneth Dunn found differences in the way students responded to instructional materials. Some students showed interest in learning alone while some preferred learning in groups. There were five areas where student learning styles differed;
- Environmental: Elements include sound, light, temperature and seating design. In terms of environment, students respond differently to their best-suited environment to learn. It depends on whether the room is well lit or warm, with a closer seating arrangement to encourage interaction or a much quieter environment. This preference reflects their personality and comfort level in a learning environment. Dunn pointed out how both the choices can be incorporated in a single setting with different environmental climates.
- Emotional Support: Elements include motivational support, persistence, individual responsibility and structure. For the emotional area, students are either self-directed learners who can self-start a project or a task and efficiently time themselves monitoring their work themselves. On the other hand, some students have equal potential to work but require considerable assistance and support in completing their assignments and tasks. They also need smaller time frames to complete a given task and semester-long projects without periodic checks are a disaster for them. Understanding their needs gives you an edge over scheduling and making yourself available according to their requirements.
- Sociological Composition: Elements include individuals, pairs or teams and adults. Students also differ in terms of social interactions and around tasks that are in pairs or teams. Some love group projects and assignments and feel the thrust to work collaboratively. While others prefer working according to their priorities and their comfort levels. Based on these configurations a teacher is expected to vary their teaching techniques.
- Physiological: Elements include perceptual, time and mobility. Moreover, another dimension of learning styles is students’ physiological preferences. Teachers and instructors must identify the suited learning style from visual, auditory or kinesthetic (VAK).
The ability to move around or mobility is another important element here and so is time. Some learners prefer morning schedules while some might feel more energised in the evening. Since a normal class consists of varied learners their preferences of learning may vary so it is better to get a hold of dimensions to set for all learners and accommodate them accordingly.
- Psychological Elements: Elements are global, analytical, impulsive and reflective. Lastly, considering the psychological aspect of dealing with learning problems. Some learners attack globally while keeping in view the bigger picture while others prefer individual elements to be addressed differently. Similarly, some learners might directly go to the point and act impulsively while others need to plan their move according to the factors they need to address.
The major question around practicing any of the above learning styles is dependent on the teacher and instructor planning how they need to look into it. They can either choose to facilitate environments for each learner or cater to a holistic learning style to match different learning situations.