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Learning Styles

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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fanatic
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 Message 25 of 55
25 September 2006 at 7:24pm | IP Logged 
Farley wrote:
There have been many remarks on the forum about different learning styles, but what are they? I found the following links below very interesting. Richard Felder, a professor at North Carolina State University, has some of his research listed on different learning styles, including a paper on learning styles on second language education.

Learning Styles

The URL below includes a description of "the learning styles" and link to a quiz to determine your learning style.

INDEX OF LEARNING STYLES (ILS)


I think we discussed this topic in another thread as well but I can't find it. It had to do with the difference in learning styles between those who like FSI and those who prefer Assimil.

I just completed the test again and the results were a bit different to the first time I did the test about 9 months ago. I got
reflective 3 as opposed to active
Intuitive 11 as opposed to sensory
Verbal 1 as opposed to visual (mid way)
Global 11 as opposed to sequential

I think the important result is global being the maximum score. I like to get an overall look at things. Assimil definitely encourages this approach whereas FSI is the opposite, being sequential. Teaching sequentially is the standard method of teaching and probably the way that most people prefer. I know I have frustrated a lot of teachers (and just about anyone who wants to explain something to me) because I see implications of what they are saying and I have questions as we go.

Whereas, when I teach I take one step at a time, but I do try to give an overall picture of what is coming before I begin.

I recommend that eveyone on the forum do the test to find out your own approach. After you complete the test you can the click on to a page of explanations about the strengths and weaknesses of each learning style and suggestions as to how you should adapt your learning methods to cater for them.

Quote:

·     If your score on a scale is 1-3, you are fairly well balanced on the two dimensions of that scale.

·     If your score on a scale is 5-7, you have a moderate preference for one dimension of the scale and will learn more easily in a teaching environment which favors that dimension.

·     If your score on a scale is 9-11, you have a very strong preference for one dimension of the scale. You may have real difficulty learning in an environment which does not support that preference.


This is why I am slow to criticize a learning program that I don't like. I will point out shortcomings like limited vocabulary but I will also look for the program's good points. For instance, Pimsleur is overpriced ($1800.00 in Australia for all three volumes) and teaches a very limited vocabulary for the price, but I see Pimsleur as an excellent introduction to languages that are completely foreign to me. I don't like the style personally, but there are many language students that owe a lot to Pimsleur.

I enjoy reading everyone's different methods, even with the same language course, and I don't judge one method as being better than another. I just judge whether the method is good for me. Even then, I like to try the method first before I reject it.

I especially like to read the methods of people who have excelled at learning languages. It has worked for them; will the methods work for me? Not necessarily. But I will still try to learn from their methods.

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Farley
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 Message 26 of 55
25 September 2006 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
fanatic wrote:

reflective 3 as opposed to active
Intuitive 11 as opposed to sensory
Verbal 1 as opposed to visual (mid way)
Global 11 as opposed to sequential


Thanks for bumping the topic again, because there has been a lot of discussion recently about learning styles. We discussed this somewhere in the middle of the Assimil topic last year. I mentioned in the thread that Assimil fans seemed to be Intuitive-Global, FSI/Pimsleur fans tend to be Intuitive-Sequential, your test scores seem to confirm that. I’m not a trained education expert, but I have watched the same trends over the past year and I’m more or less convinced that the Global versus Sequential learning styles is the main difference fuelling arguments about fluency versus proficiency and Assimil versus FSI. Of course the test score is just a guideline, not a perfect predictor. It would be interesting to hear from those who dislike Assimil.

fanatic wrote:
I recommend that eveyone on the forum do the test to find out your own approach. After you complete the test you can the click on to a page of explanations about the strengths and weaknesses of each learning style and suggestions as to how you should adapt your learning methods to cater for them.


I would defiantly recommend that too, especially if you are having problems with a particular method or are curious about what method to use. Look for scores with 9+ as they seem to indicate the strongest learning preferences. For example a strong visual score might mean that Pimsleur is not for you.

When I first looked at this material I took it to mean choosing the learning method closest to your learning style. Now looking back it seems to be a better indication of potential strengths and weaknesses and how to choose a balanced plan.



Edited by Farley on 25 September 2006 at 10:27pm

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SamD
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 Message 27 of 55
26 September 2006 at 8:21am | IP Logged 
Here's what I came up with:

1 Active
9 Sensory
3 Visual
3 Global

This makes sense. When I learn a language, I find that I want to learn vocabulary and plug it into the grammar as I go.
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biki2
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 Message 28 of 55
27 September 2006 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
fanatic wrote:

I just completed the test again and the results were a bit different to the first time I did the test about 9 months ago. I got
reflective 3 as opposed to active
Intuitive 11 as opposed to sensory
Verbal 1 as opposed to visual (mid way)
Global 11 as opposed to sequential


Your results were pretty similar to mine:

5 - Reflective
11 - Intuitive
3 - Visual
11- Global

fanatic wrote:

I think the important result is global being the maximum score. I like to get an overall look at things. Assimil definitely encourages this approach whereas FSI is the opposite, being sequential.


It's interesting that only since I've been using Assimil courses (for both French and Spanish) have I been able to stick with my study routines. FSI does work for me too, but I seem to have a hard time continually chipping away at it and get bored quickly.


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fanatic
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 Message 29 of 55
08 October 2006 at 11:52pm | IP Logged 
I have just read avery interesting piece on learning styles that seems to accurately summarise the difference between language-learners who prefer FSI and Assimil learning programs.

You can find it at [URL= http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Visual_Spatial_Learner/vsl. htm] http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Visual_Spatial_Learner/vsl. htm[/URL]

Here is the passage that summarises the difference, keeping in mind that those who prefer Assimil are likely to be visual-spatial learners.

Visual-spatial learners are individuals who think in pictures rather than in words. They have a different brain organization than auditory-sequential learners. They learn better visually than auditorally. They learn all-at-once, and when the light bulb goes on, the learning is permanent. They do not learn from repetition and drill. They are whole-part learners who need to see the big picture first before they learn the details. They are non-sequential, which means that they do not learn in the step-by-step manner in which most teachers teach. They arrive at correct solutions without taking steps, so “show your work” may be impossible for them. They may have difficulty with easy tasks, but show amazing ability with difficult, complex tasks. They are systems thinkers who can orchestrate large amounts of information from different domains, but they often miss the details. They tend to be organizationally impaired and unconscious about time. They are often gifted creatively, technologically, mathematically or emotionally.You can tell you have one of these children by the endless amount of time they spend doing advanced puzzles, constructing with Legos, etc., completing mazes, counting everything, playing Tetris on the computer, playing chess, building with any materials at hand, designing scientific experiments, programming your computer, or taking everything in the house apart to see how it operates. They also are very creative, dramatic, artistic and musical.Here are the basic distinctions between the visual-spatial and auditory-sequential learner:


AUDITORY-SEQUENTIAL        ;       VISUAL-SPATIAL
Thinks primarily in words       Thinks primarily in pictures
Is a step-by-step learner       Is a whole-part learner
Learns by trial and error        Learns concepts all at once
Learns languages in class       Masters other languages through immersion

A/S May need some repetition to reinforce learning Learns concepts permanently; is turned off by drill and repetition

V/S Learns well from instruction. Develops own methods of problem solving


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frenkeld
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 Message 30 of 55
09 October 2006 at 12:28am | IP Logged 
fanatic wrote:
I have just read avery interesting piece on learning styles that seems to accurately summarise the difference between language-learners who prefer FSI and Assimil learning programs.


It may be interesting to try to classify those who don't like either of those programs.

We've had people in this forum who liked learning with a reference grammar, a dictionary, and authentic sources. I've wondered if they are to be considered leapers or plodders.


Edited by frenkeld on 09 October 2006 at 12:21pm

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Iversen
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 Message 31 of 55
09 October 2006 at 12:34pm | IP Logged 
frenkeld wrote:

It may be interesting to try to classify those who don't like either of those programs. We've had people in this forum who liked learning with a rerference grammar, a dictionary, and authentic sources. I've wondered if they are to be considered leapers or plodders.


Well, I'm one of those persons, I hate preprogrammed courses, and I never use them as intended. I had really not thought about doing the test, but here is the result:

Reflective 9
Intuitive 3
Visual 9
Global 9

The result on the active - reflective scale is rather extreme, but I do in fact prefer to learn the stuff before I use it, and I don't like interference from anybody during this process, least of all from teachers.

On the scale sensing - intuitive I'm somewhere in the middle, but I don't really like that scale. The issue is whether I like facts or theories. I have a slight tendency towards intuitive, but probably because of my leisurely attitude to (in my eyes) unimportant details. However my preferred learning method is digging down in a mountain of details, but without ever forgetting the theory.

Visual as opposed to verbal is also extreme. I learn grammar as schemes where a certain verbal form will be "two steps from the left and 3 cm down", at least until I have internalized all the different forms. And I learn new words from reading and writing word lists, not from listening and speaking (those two are in my book mostly there for fluency training). But I had not expected the result to be that extreme.

And finally global as opposed to sequential is also extreme, but I had expected that. I hate being told to do things, and doing things in a certain sequence prescribed by a teacher is in my opinion just plain silly. The strange thing is that I had good relations to almost all my teachers, even if I never did what they wanted me to do in the way they had expected me to do it.



Edited by Iversen on 02 March 2009 at 5:53pm

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Farley
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 Message 32 of 55
12 October 2006 at 10:24pm | IP Logged 
fanatic wrote:
I have just read avery interesting piece on learning styles that seems to accurately summarise the difference between language-learners who prefer FSI and Assimil learning programs.

Here is the passage that summarises the difference, keeping in mind that those who prefer Assimil are likely to be visual-spatial learners.

...

AUDITORY-SEQUENTIAL
May need some repetition to reinforce learning
Learns well from instruction.


VISUAL-SPATIAL
Learns concepts permanently; is turned off by drill and repetition
Develops own methods of problem solving



I did not get a chance to respond to this one a couple of days ago.

The description is consistent with all those Assimil debates on the forum; it is amazing how well the paragraph above summarizes all those debates. From what I gathered in the article, we all have the ability to learn using A-S or V-S modes of thinking; it is just that most of us are predisposed to use one or the other. The distinction becomes important when you have an imbalance between the two -- either you are markedly better or worse in one style or the other. This leave me curious, if you lean towards one style of learning, what is the best way to balance your learning method?



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