Learning Styles

Learning Styles and Behaviour theories:

Within self reflection I have discovered that I work in a more hands on approach (kinesthetic) as well as a visual too meaning I learn from watching; demonstrations, tutorials and methods. There are four scientifically recorded learning style which can be simplified down into VARK (Visual, Audio, Reading and Writing finally Kinesthetic) with each style of gaining information being different and more suited to each individual person. This can be tricky in working and learning environments due to the range in ways people learn it can be hard to tailor to an entire class or workforce’s needs in order to teach and facilitates key information.

Two main ways of educating known and practiced within history would be Behaviourism and Cognitivism.


Behaviorism is based on the foundation of positive and negative reinforcement and can be shown within Pavlov’s dog experiment. Pavlov’s idea was in studying a dog and noting how it did not need to learn how to drool when seeing and smelling food this was an unconditioned reaction from birth. In 1902 Pavlov made a discovery in which when a dog observed something associated with the food they would start to salivate it was because of this discovery that he started to play with the idea of conditioning the dogs behaviour.

Within his experiment Pavlov was using a bell as a neutral stimuli along with the food the unconditioned stimulus repeating the ringing of the bell with the food and monitoring the production of the salivation.  Eventually the repetition had condition the dog to salivate more through the bell even without food making this a conditioned stimuli.


Cognitivists take on a more accepted modern day method  in believing that learning is an internal, mental process in which we build upon preexisting knowledge. Although not essentially known as a learning method and more so a development of understanding this is the more commonly practiced facilitating method within an educational environment.

This Scaffolding idea or Schema as it is more commonly known is a side branch of congitivism known as constructivism. Taking pre-existing knowledge and experiences and using new information to deter the equilibrium of knowledge in order to accomodate the new knowledge. This can be remembered simply through;


Learning Styles and Motivation:

As previously mentioned about various learning styles and VARK there are also motivational learning style. Extrinsic motivation followed by Intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is where a person is encouraged to engage within an activity for a reward such as going to school and gaining high grades. This is unlike Intrinsic motivation where a person will perform a behaviour or activity for personal gains and rewards.

Kolb had theorised that people learn best from experiences this would be known as experimental learning alongside his theory a cycle was developed;

  • Concrete experience
  • Reflective Observation
  • Abstract Conceptualisation
  • Active Experimentation

Similar to Kolb another theorist Gibbs came up with the reflective cycle Gibbs looked upon reflection from a more humanist perspective considering feelings and how this could affect the outcome. His cycle consisted of five steps;

  • Description
  • Feelings
  • Evaluation
  • Conclusion
  • Action

This is not only a very useful method in considering life decisions and future ways of tackling situations but also for evaluating work and practice.

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