According to our reading materials, learning styles generally refers to the uniqueness of each learner. Every student learns best if their learning styles are being met and no learning style is better than the other. Learning styles are influenced by several factors like environment, learning experiences and the person’s prior knowledge and skills.
The following are the different types of learners: (http://www.learningstyles.org/PMPS.html)
1. Visual learner – refers to seeing visual depictions such as pictures and graphs – a visual learner;
2. Print learner – refers to seeing printed or written words – a print oriented learner;
3. Auditory learner – refers to listening – a hearing oriented learner;
4. Interactive learner – refers to verbalization – a conversationally oriented learner;
5. Haptic learner – refers to the sense of touch or grasp – a learner who likes to manipulate objects;
6. Kinesthetic learner – refers to whole body movement – a physically involved learner;
7. Olfactory learner – refers to sense of smell and taste – a learner with a strong associative sense of smell.
The result of my learning style test shows that I am an auditory learner which means that I learn best when I hear the lesson. I learn best when I listen to a teacher explain the lesson. When it comes to reading, I prefer to be alone and with bright light and no noise. These are the things that I like in online studies, I have a control of my environment like how bright the light would be, I can minimize/ eliminate noise and I can read alone. The difficulty that I am encountering is that I am an auditory learner. I learn best when a teacher presents/ explains the lesson. I enjoy watching webcast because it’s like in a classroom where the teacher is explaining the topic and I take notes. It’s maybe because I’m still in that mindset of traditional classroom set-up. Another difficulty that I struggle with is that I am a reflective learner. I have to process my mind first before I can give answers. Sometimes it takes me 2 days to finalize my answer and I am a person who answers a question in short sentences only. I find it difficult to elaborate my answers. So it takes me days to process and finalize my answers. It’s good though to elaborate answers because I have to think and write out my thoughts.
Since most of our materials in our Online Study are in printed form, I have to adjust and find ways on how I can learn more. One way would be discussing the topic with my classmate who is my co-teacher here in Thailand. We were having discussions last Wednesday about our topic and it help me recall the learning styles and I also realized that there are things yet that I haven’t read and are aware of. Since I am an auditory learner, hearing from her ideas about our topic would help. Asking clarifications also from her and from our teacher would also be helpful. I have also to improve my reading skills. On the discussion forum, Emma de Leon asked the question how can we improve our reading since most of the materials of our online study are in printed form. Suggestions from our classmate are to read a lot, connect it to what you already know so you’ll find it interesting and read without distraction. I will do the suggestions to improve my reading.
Metacognition is a student’s awareness of their level of understanding of a topic
According to Dr. Chew (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChI), the following are beliefs that deter learning:
1. Learning is fast – this belief leads students to read a lot of chapters of the book without understanding it. This happens usually when they are not prepared for quizzes and exams. They go on reading the required reading materials as fast as they can within a short period of time and expect to learn a lot from it. This lead though to reading without understanding (shallow processing) and good learning is not met.
2. Knowledge is composed of isolated facts – Students usually tend to focus on the content of exam than in their learning and think that memorizing will help them get good grades. Instead of reading and understanding the materials, students look at the highlighted text and memorize it expecting that they have learned a lot which in reality is not because learning is more than just memorizing, it is understanding the concept.
3. Intelligence is an inborn trait – when students believe in this, they tend to focus on the subjects that they are interested in and neglect other subjects because in their thinking, no matter what they do, they will not be able to learn a lot from it because it is not their talent. Instead of working hard to be able to cope up with the subjects that they find difficult, they close their mind and think that nothing can be done to change it.
4. I’m really good at Multi-Tasking – students usually do the same thing at the same time without realizing that multi-tasking is not good especially when one task is concentrating like studying. Attention is divided and learning is compromised.
The 4 beliefs that he mentioned really deter learning. When I haven’t listened to his teachings, I was doing multi tasking while studying, memorizing and because of busyness, I just read and scan the reading materials so the result of my learning was not good. After hearing Dr. Chew, I have decided to do the following to optimize my learning in distance education:
1. Minimize distractions – I have been used to multi tasking, so I do things at the same time. It does distract concentration because instead of internalizing/ understanding the things that I have just studied, it keeps me away form it because my attention will be on the other one that I am doing. As a result, I have a shallow understanding of the materials. To be able to understand what I am studying, I will eliminate distractions like reading news articles, playing on the computer, checking e-mails and others.
2. Practice retrieval and application – Because of busyness, sometimes I just read the materials without reviewing and understanding it. Today I will practice retrieval of information by not looking at the materials. This will help me recall what I have read and use this on how my teacher expects me to use it, like understanding and reflecting from this and writing it in a journal, which will help me better understand the topic.
3. Question generation – aside from the questions from the teacher, I will create questions that will help me better in understanding the materials.
Self-regulation is the self-directive process by which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills. It involves the selective use of specific processes that must be personally adapted to each learning task.
As a student of distance education, self-regulation is important because learning does not take place in a classroom where the teacher presents and explains the lesson, and where the student can ask questions and get answers immediately. Distance education students have to read and understand the lessons on their own. It takes students initiative to raise questions through the discussion forums if there’s a part of the lesson that he was not able to understand , and to read and understand as much as possible the answers/ explanations presented by his classmates. It includes opening and reading the post links that are presented as answers to the questions. Distance education is like an individual learning wherein he learns by reading the materials/ topics presented and to do researching on his own.