Thursday, July 24, 2003

Learning Styles

I just took an interesting Learning Styles Assessment that seemed better than some. It only takes a few minutes, and may actually help you figure out why some school situations have driven you insane, even giving some ideas for how to adjust your studying to learn more and stay sane.

My results:
  • Strongly reflective learning vs active learning -- new teaching often emphasizes doing things instead of thinking about them, but I like time to think. Sometimes I've wondered whether I prefered thinking because it's easier and less risky...less chance of failing.
  • Strongly intuitive instead of sensing -- the words don't seem to fit in this one, but with the descriptions I agreed with the results. Sensing learners like facts, sequence and details. Intuitive learners prefer possibilities, connections and innovation. According to the assessment, I apparently don't have a sensing bone in my body...which is probably true.
  • Equal balance of visual and verbal, which isn't very interesting at all. I like words and pictures, with little preference.
  • Strongly global vs sequential -- I don't really get this one, but I know I'm not sequential, and my score was way into the global. Quote from the results: "global learners may be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it." Yup, pretty close to how I operate.
This assessment isn't slick or flashy, but packs a lot of information into a quick process. The questions are worded nicely, but it would be great to have a middle ground option for some of them. Probably the most valuable takeaway for me was to try to understand how people using the sites/software I design might approach the information in a totally different way than I might. A reminder that we need to do more user testing on everything -- prototypes, mockups, finished pages and interaction flows.

Perhaps I like these better than the multiple-intelligence quizzes because they're more horizontal rather than vertical, or domain specific. So instead of saying that someone has more or less musical intelligence, you might say that someone with a reflective learning style tends to approach new music by listening or composing rather than singing or collaborating. It seems to be more flexible.

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