Learing Style Aspects In E Learning Education Essay

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3.1 Introduction

Learning is any increase in knowledge, memorizing information, acquiring knowledge for practical use, abstracting meaning from what we do, and a process that allows us to understand (Marcia, 2005).

There are a large number of factors that can influence that extent of learning and some of these can be viewed in Figure 3.1. Learning style is also defined as attitude and behavior which determine an individual's preferred way of learning (Honey et al, 1992). A student for example who prefers practical experience, when learning a new programming language may prefer to begin writing code immediately whereas another may favour reading up and study the new language prior to writing any code. Most learners unaware of their own learning style preferences but are vaguely aware of what they feel comfortable with, and learn more from certain activities than others.

Figure 3.1 Factors that influence learning

3.2 Learning Style Models

Various learning styles model have been forwarded by many researchers working in education. Descriptions of these models are presented in the following sections.

3.2.1 Kolb's Learning Style Model

Kolb (1984) used combinations of perceiving and processing to determine four learning styles. The learning cycle involves four processes that must be present for learning to occur. Kolb's has developed a test (Learning Style Inventory) which describes the way in which people learn and how they deal with ideas and day-to-day situations in their life (Ronald & Virginia 2001).

Figure 3.2 illustrates the theory by superimposing a vertical line representing ways of perceiving information and a horizontal line for processing information. In perceiving information, learners fall somewhere on a continuum between the two extremes of concrete experience (feeling) and abstract conceptualization (thinking). In processing information, learners fall somewhere on a continuum between the two extremes of active experimentation (doing) and reflective observation (watching).

Concrete Experience


Reflective Observation


Abstract Conceptualization


Active Experimentation






Figure 3.2: Kolb learning styles.

Learning style inventory (LSI) is a test designed to describe students' learning style. Kolb model consist of four elements representing different learning styles. These elements (Figure 3.2) are: divergers, assimilators, convergers, and accommodators as shown in (Curtis 1997). Kolb's model works on two levels - a four-stage cycle:

Concrete Experience - (CE)

Reflective Observation - (RO)

Abstract Conceptualization - (AC)

Active Experimentation - (AE)

and a four-type definition of learning styles, each representing the combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by-two matrix of the four-stage cycle styles, as illustrated below, for which Kolb used the terms:

Diverging (CE/RO)

Assimilating (AC/RO)

Converging (AC/AE)

Accommodating (CE/AE)

Here are brief descriptions of the four Kolb learning styles:

Diverging (feeling and watching - CE/RO) - These people are able to look at things from different perspectives. They are sensitive. They prefer to watch rather than do, tending to gather information and use imagination to solve problems. They are best at viewing concrete situations from several different viewpoints. Kolb called this style 'Diverging' because these people perform better in situations that require ideas-generation, for example, brainstorming. People with a Diverging learning style have broad cultural interests and like to gather information. They are interested in people, tend to be imaginative and emotional, and tend to be strong in the arts. People with the Diverging style prefer to work in groups, to listen with an open mind and to receive personal feedback.

Assimilating (watching and thinking - AC/RO) - The Assimilating learning preference is for a concise, logical approach. These people require good clear explanation rather than practical opportunity. They excel at understanding wide-ranging information and organizing it in a clear logical format. People with an Assimilating learning style prefer abstract concepts. People with this style are more attracted to logically sound theories than approaches based on practical value. In formal learning situations, people with this style prefer reading, lectures, exploring analytical models, and having time to think things through.

Converging (doing and thinking - AC/AE) - People with a Converging learning style can solve problems and will use their learning to find solutions to practical issues. They prefer technical tasks, and are less concerned with people and interpersonal aspects. They are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories. They can solve problems and make decisions by finding solutions to questions and problems. They like to experiment with new ideas, to simulate, and to work with practical applications. They are more attracted to technical tasks and problems than social or interpersonal issues.

Accommodating (doing and feeling - CE/AE) - Those in this category are 'hands-on', and relies on intuition rather than logic. They use other people's analysis, and prefer to take a practical, experiential approach. They are attracted to new challenges and experiences, carry out their own plans. They commonly act on their guts instinct rather than logical analysis. They tend to rely on others for information than carry out their own analysis. This learning style is prevalent and useful in roles requiring action and initiative. They prefer to work in teams to complete tasks. They set targets and actively work in the field trying different ways to achieve an objective (Ronald & Virginia, 2001; Curtis 1997).

To sum up, Kolb model describes learning as cyclical process involve four distinct learning stages that learner follow in sequence. Each step in the learning cycle represents a different learning strategy. Preferences for certain strategies become habitual by repeating successful strategies, and as a result learning styles develop. Kolb's theory learning includes purposes, goals, intentions, choice and decision making. Is not clear where these elements fit into the learning cycle. Kolb's LSI creates a narrow range of applicability for learning styles by limiting learning preferences to one or two dimensions. Further, Kolb's LSI, which has been widely used, is primarily a cognitive learning preference instrument, and does not specifically take into account social preference issues that represent the key distinction between the e-learning and traditional classrooms (Curtis, 1997).

3.2.2 Honey and Mumford Learning Style Model

This model derived from Kolb's theory as shown in Figure 3.3. This model categorized people by their preferred learning styles into (Nafisah & Nurhaiza et. al, 2004):

Figure 3.3: Honey and Mumford Learning Style Model

Reflector They like to collect and analyze data and are very careful at making decisions. They do not like to become leaders. The teaching and learning activities that are effective for this group is stimulate to watch like watching video or giving them time to think before react, giving conclusion without pressure. The teaching and learning activities that are not effective for this group are giving them the role as leader or doing something in front of people. They get stressful if required to do something immediately after a brief instruction.

Activist- They are open-minded and they like to find new experiences. However, they get bored if something is repeated. They like to get involved in a discussion such as brainstorming, etc. The teaching and learning activities those are effective for this group is giving new experiences, problem-based learning, games, and group research. They will leave things if they find them difficult such as they feel the source is not good enough or the situations are contradicted. The teaching and learning activities that are not effective for this group is one-way lecture, passive learning, learning that involves many mixed and unarranged data, repeating the same activity, etc.

Theorist Since they are very objectives, they do not like something that is subjective. They like to make conclusion based on evidence, data analysis and logic. They have clear minds. The teaching and learning activities which are effective for this group is giving them time to organize their feelings, giving them time to ask questions and process in detail, the methodology, assumption or logic. The teaching and learning activities that are not effective for this group are learning that involves emotion, feelings, and involving in an activity that is unstructured.

Pragmatist They like to try a new idea, expand the idea, and solve problems especially in which are real life situations. The teaching and learning activities which are effective for this group are by showing the technique how to do something practically, giving the opportunity to express what they learn and focus on the practical issues. The teaching and learning activities that are not effective for this group if the learning is not related to immediate need and doing something with no clear practice or outline.

To sum up, Honey and Mumford model is similar to Kolb model. They made a slight modification to Kolb's terminology whereby the key stages/styles are mutually corresponding and overlapping, whereas for Kolb model the learning styles are the results of combining the learning cycle stages.

3.2.3 McCarthy's 4MAT Model

In 1979, Bernice McCarthy developed the 4MAT system based on her study of a number of other models of teaching and David Kolb's learning style theory. She referred to the four learning style as types as shown in Figure 3.4:

Figure 3.4: McCarthy's 4MAT Style Model

Type1 - Divergers (favorite question: Why). They perceive information in a concrete manner and reflectively process it. It is essential that teachers provide reasons for phenomena. They are imaginative learners with the following characteristics:

Understanding others.

Are oriented toward feeling and people

Judge people by treatment of others

Seek personal meaning and integrate experience with personal values.

See many perspectives and imagine implications of ambiguous situations

Creativity and working in groups.

Learn by shearing ideas and feelings

Prefer the instructor/leader to give personal attention and to be a motivator and witness of their learning.

May become indecisive and hampered by too many alternatives.

Excel at insight thinking, creativity, and working in groups.

Type2 - Assimilators (favorite question: What). They perceive information abstractly and process it reflectively. They are interested in detailed and facts that lead to greater conceptual understanding. Their characteristics are:

Value logic and order.

Require facts, accurate information, and expert opinion.

The main concerns are the concept and the ideas.

Prefer working alone.

Learn by reading, observing, collecting data, and analyzing.

Form theories and procedures.

Prefer the instructor/leader to be an authority and enjoy traditional lectures.

May sometime be impractical and tool theoretical.

Excel at integrating knowledge, planning, and creating theories.

Type3 - Convergers (favorite question: How). Learner process information actively after they perceive it in an abstract way. They are interested in procedures. A strong preference is demonstrated to "try things out" which leads to conceptual understanding. They are common sense learners with these characteristics:

Value to know how things work.

Learn by applying and testing information and following model.

Require action and hands on experience.

Excel at practical application, strategic thinking, and quick decisions.

Work well with time lines and hate to waste time.

Like to get straight to the point and to the bottom line.

Usually prefer work alone and sometimes see group work, especially group decision making and discussion, as wasting time.

Prefer the instructor/leader to act as coach and guide.

Type4 - Accommodators (favorite question: What If). Learner is considered risk takers, as they perceive information concretely and actively process it. They are interested in self-discovery and have a desire to learn by trial and error. The characteristic of these type of learner are:

Value variety, discovery, and new experience.

Thrive on risk taking and change.

Rely on hunches rather than logic to solve problems.

Learn by trial and error and by teaching others.

Excel at creative problem solving, seeking new possibilities, and influencing others.

Like to be challenged and perform well in crisis situations.

Dislike strict procedures and schedules.

Like variety and unstructured settings and open ended problems.

Rely on others for information in solving problems and not on their own technical analysis.

Work will in group and enjoy discussion.

Prefer instructor/leader to act as a resource and evaluator (Ronald, et al. 2001; Felder 1996).

To sum up, McCarthy's model is developed based on Kolb's model. The 4MAT model is constructed along two categories: perceiving and processing. Together, perceiving and processing describe the whole range of the learning experience. While learners engage in all types of learning, most seem to favor one particular type. In learning and teaching, normally both information about characteristics of a learner and how this learner learns is needed. For example the aspects concrete experience and active experimentation are multi dimensional because other mental learning activities take place while doing and trying in order to achieve learning results. Therefore, how learner perform these sequences of activities is very important especially in e-learning environment, which is not identified in this model.

3.2.4 Grasha Rechman Student Learning Styles Scales (GRSLSS)

Grasha Rechman Student Learning Styles Scales (GRSLSS) promotes understanding of learning styles in a broad context, six categories. Grasha's approach has also developed a corresponding typology of teaching styles, based on actual classroom behavior. As a result learning and teaching style can be mapped together to fully describe the social dynamics of the classroom setting (Susan & Linda, 1998).

A brief discussion of each of learning style is given below:

Independent students prefer independent study self paced instruction, and would prefer to work alone on course projects than with other students.

Dependent learners look to the teacher and to peers as a source of structure and guidance and prefer an authority figure to tell them what to do.

Competitive students learn in order to perform better than their peers and to receive recognition for their academic accomplishments.

Collaborative learners acquire information by sharing and by cooperating with teacher and peers. They prefer lectures with small group discussions and group projects.

Avoidant learners are not enthused about attending class or acquiring class content. They are typically uninterested and are sometimes overwhelmed by class activities.

Participant learners are interested in class activities and discussion, and are eager to do as much class work as possible. They are keenly aware of, and have a desire to meet, teacher expectations.

To sum up, what distinguish this model from others it concerns about both learning and teaching style rather than learning style only. However, avoidant learners is not clear identified in teaching and learning activity for this model.

3.2.5 Felder- Silverman Model

This model developed by Richard Felder and Linda Silverman, incorporates five dimensions, two of which replicate aspects of the Myers-Briggs and Kolb models as shown in Figure 3.5.  This model classifies students as:

Figure 3.5: The Honey and Mumford Learning Styles linked with Kolb model


Sensing learner prefers concrete information such as descriptions of physical phenomena, practical, oriented toward facts and procedures. Intuitive is conceptual, innovative, oriented toward theories and meanings.


Visual learner prefers visual representations, pictures, diagrams, and flowchart. verbal learners prefer written and spoken explanations.


Inductive learner prefers presentations that proceed from the specific to the general. Deductive learners prefer presentations that go from the general to the specific.


Active learner learns by trying things out, working with others. Reflective learner learns by thinking things through, working alone. Active and reflective learners have difficulty taking notes hard for both learning type. Active learner will retain information better if s/he find ways to do something with it. Writing short summaries for reflective learner will be very helpful to compensate the shortage of class time thinking about new information.


Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in linear steps. Global learners tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections. (Felder, 1969; Sabine et.al 2007).

To sum up, five dimensions represent this model to identify several learning and teaching style. Analogous (sensing/intuitive) is the Perception of both Myers-Briggs and Kolb; the Processing dimension (active/reflective) is also found in Kolb's model. In addition, Felder-Silverman posit three additional dimensions: Input (visual/verbal), Organization (inductive/deductive), and Understanding (sequential/global).

3.2.6 Dunn and Dunn Model

This model is complex and encompasses 5 strands of 21 elements that affect each individual's learning. Some of these elements are biological while others are developmental. A summary of these elements is provided below (Dunn 2003; Thyagharajan & Nayak 2007).

1) Environment: immediate environment (sound, light, temperature, and furniture/seating design).

Sound refers to background sound while learning preferred by students.

Light refers to the level of illumination preferred while studying.

Temperature refers to the level of temperature the learner prefers during the study time.

Design relates to the room design and furniture.

2) Emotional: own emotionality (motivation, persistence, responsibility, and structure)

Motivation related to the level of motivation the student has for academic learning.

Persistence relates to the learner's attention span and ability to stay on task.

Responsibility relates to the preference on working independent on assignments with little supervision, guidance or feedback.

Structure relates to the preference to being told exactly what the learning task is, how should proceed, and what is expected. Or being given an objective and then left alone to decide which procedures or options are used to reach the objective?

3) Sociological: sociological preferences (learning alone, in a pair, in a small group, as part of a team, or with either an authoritative or collegial adult; and wanting a variety as opposed to patterns and routines)

Self depends on the person's character. Whether working alone or with group when doing assignment.

Pair relates to preference to work with person as opposed to work as member of a group. Some learner may prefer working with others but not in a small group or alone.

Peers and team this element helps determine a student's preference for working with a small group with interaction, discussion and completion of the task as a team member rather than independently.

Adult this element relates to preference for interaction and guidance from an adult.

Variety versus concentrating in routines or patterns this refers to a preference for involvement in a verity of tasks while learning.

4) Physiological: physiological characteristics (perceptual strengths, time-of-day

energy levels, and need for intake and/or mobility while learning).

Perceptual this element focuses on learning by listening, viewing, experiencing or touching.

Intake it is related to the need to eat, drink or chew while engaged in learning activities.

Time this relates to the energy levels at different times during the day.

Mobility this is focus on the extent to be moving, while involved in concentration.

5) Psychological: processing inclinations (global/analytic, right/left, and impulsive/reflective).

Global Analytic this determines whether a student learns better when considering the total topic of study or when approaching the task sequentially one aspect at a time.

Hemisphericity this regarding the type of learner whether is left or right brain. Left-brain student tend to be more analytic, whereas right brain student tend to be associated with simultaneous or global learners.

Impulsive-Reflective related to whether making a decision quickly or think about alternatives before making decision.

To sum up, it has been noticed from the characteristics of this model that it concerns learning preferences but not learning activities. The variables of this model affect the environment of the learning process, rather than the learning styles themselves. For example, it is not possible to translate, room temperature, responsibility, or mobility, to actual learning activities.

3.2.7 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

This model is derived from psychologist Carl Jung's theory, which classifies students according to their preferences on scales derived by Felder (1996) as shown in Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6: The Myers-Briggs Model

Extraverts(E)/Introverts(I): extraverts try things out and the introverts think things over.

Sensors(S)/Intuitors(N): sensors focus on facts and procedures and intuitors focus on meanings and possibilities.

Thinkers(T)/Feelers(F): thinkers make decision based on logic and feelers make decision based on personal and humanistic considerations.

Judgers(J)/Perceivers(P): judgers set and follow agenda, seek closure even with incomplete data, whereas perceivers adapt to changing circumstances, resist closure to obtain more data.

To sum up, this model identified four scales to measure personality. There are 16 different combinations of letters - giving us the 16 different psychological types. However, practically it is hard to find someone that is extrovert or thinking to the absolute extreme. The person could be 80% thinking and 20% feeling type and usually one of the preferences is the main.

3.2.8 Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory states that there are at least seven different ways of learning, and there are seven intelligences: body/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intra-personal, logical/mathematical, musical/rhythmic, verbal/linguistic and visual/spatial as shown in Figure 3.7. Most people have the ability to develop skills in each of the intelligences, and learn through them.

Figure 3.7: The Multiple Intelligence Model

Visual/Spatial Intelligence: These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create bright mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies. Their skills include puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images.

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: These learners think in words rather than pictures. They prefer listening, speaking, writing, storytelling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learners ask lots of questions and like to do experiments. They prefer problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, and working with geometric shapes

Body/Kinesthetic Intelligence: These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-hand co-ordination. Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.

Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence: This intelligence is based on the recognition of tonal patterns such as: sounds and rhythm. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear.

Interpersonal Intelligence: These learners try to see things from other people's point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others.

Intrapersonal Intelligence: These learners try to understand their inner self-reflection and awareness of spiritual realities. Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others (David, 1991).

To sum up, this model expresses the learning style within seven intelligences. This model is a combination of many different aspects. However, not all the model elements can be translated as a learning activity such as Kinesthetic or intrapersonal intelligence. In addition, the theory of multiple intelligences suggests that teachers be trained to present their lessons in a wide variety of ways using music, cooperative learning, art activities, role play, multimedia, field trips, and inner reflection. These elements are not always possible to implement in traditional classrooms whereas some of these elements can be implemented in e-learning system.

3.2.9 The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)

This model classifies students based on the task specialized functioning of the physical brain as in the following (Felder, 1969) as shown in Figure 3.8:

Figure 3.8: The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument

Quadrant A relates to left brain (cerebral), they are logical, analytical, factual, and critical.

Quadrant B relates to left brain (limbic), they are sequential, organized, planned, and structured.

Quadrant C relates to right brain (limbic), they are emotional, interpersonal, and symbolic.

Quadrant D relates to right brain (cerebral), they are visual, holistic, and innovative.

To sum up, this model is multi-dimensional since many different dimensions are put together as one. Further, the main characteristics of the different parts of the brain, indicate whether someone is organized, interpersonal, or imaginative, cannot be directly translated to learning activities (Marjolein et al. 2008).

3.3 Learning Approaches For E-learning

The learning approaches are learning style methods and introduced in this section to highlight the methods can be implemented in e-learning environment to present information and can act as a teaching style. The following are available methods that can be implemented in e-learning system:

Holistic present information as a whole picture prior to the detailed.

Sequential method concerns logical presentation of information. The learner follows a very strict sequence of instructions to achieve an outcome and usually capable of rapid processing of information.

Mind Map offers a method to represent information visually. In the late 60s Mind maps were developed as a way of helping students make notes that used only key words and images. It is allow the learner to make faster decision, and because of their visual quality much easier to remember and review.

Flowchart is a graphical representation showing the flow of control among the steps in a program, people in an organization, or pages of a presentation.  The elements themselves are represented by simple icons (circles, rectangles, diamonds) to allow the viewer to focus on the way the user move through the steps in a process.   A flowchart indicates sequences and decision points as well as starting and stopping points.  It is easier to grasp relationships visually in a flowchart than in a verbal description, so such diagrams help avoiding leaving out steps in a process.

Multimedia: The use of multimedia objects in educational systems can enhance their efficacy to a great extent in facilitating cognitive skills. Well designed multimedia applications have the following advantages:

Increases motivation, through immediate feedback, multi sensory involvement and greater enjoyment of learning.

Increases involvement as more activity is required.

Ensures instructional consistency.

Reduces learning time.

Increases retention of content over time (Dave, 1999).

3.3.1 Problem Based Learning (PBL)

PBL is any learning environment in which the problem drives the learning. The students are given a problem before given any new knowledge. Then the students discover that they need to find some information before they can solve the problem as shown in Figure 3.9.

Figure 3.9: Problem Based Learning Process

The main advantages of this technique are:

Emphasis on meaning not facts.

Increased self direction.

Higher comprehension and better skill development.

Interpersonal skills and teamwork.

Self motivated.

Level of learning.

Facilitator student relationship.

The learners are being guided to reach both the objectives involved in solving the problem and the objectives related to the process. Therefore, the lecturer while using this technique should consider the following features:



Learning objectives


Expected outcome

Guiding questions

Assessment exercises

Time frame

3.3.2 Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry is an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the material that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search for new understandings as shown in Figure 3.10.

Figure 3.10: Inquiry Based Learning Process

The main advantages for this approach are:

Can be adaptable for a variety of projects.

Using this method helps people build self-esteem by allowing them to be more active in their own learning process, rather than passive via traditional lecture based methods.

It can build several skills of students in the areas of physical, emotional, and cognitive.

It can work with any age group.

It gives all students the ability to contribute to a project not matter what their background.

The disadvantages of Inquiry-Based Learning are as the following:

Requires more planning, preparation, and responsiveness from the educators.

Educators must be skilled in helping students learn the art of asking a good question.

To help students ask good questions, educators must also be able to ask good questions.

3.3.3 Gamming

Games and simulation can be a fabulous way to learn, but to keep most learners' engagement the game's element should be considered such as: fun, play, rules, a goal, winning, and competition.

Computer game used for learning and identified a need for research concerning learning styles and educational games. Abrahamian, et al. (2004) stated that computer based learning Game is an approach to realize highly motivated learning including playing activity. There are different characteristics for gamming such as interactivity, rules, goal, challenge, and risk.

3.4 Teaching Styles

Just as the learners, the teacher or instructor also have their own preferences in terms of the teaching styles that they may want to practice and call upon throughout the lesson in order to enhance group movement and learning. The instructors need to identify the learning styles of the students as well as their teaching styles and then vary their teaching methods to meet the range of learners' preferences (Filder & Silverman 1988).

To ensure effective learning process teachers should play their role to ensure that their teaching approaches and techniques match with the learner's preference and style of learning. Therefore, the right choice and implementation of teaching and learning activities in the classroom will result positively on the students' academic achievement.

This is influence both traditional class room and e-learning environment. Because both environments are totally different and all the above models and techniques implemented in general learning aspect; the teaching as well as learning must be considered to improve e-learning system toward adapting individuals in their learning preferences.

Felder & Silverman (1988) presented a model to correspond the above learning style element with teaching style as in Table 3.1. This model defined the teaching style in terms of the answers to five questions below:

What type of information is emphasized by the instructor: concrete factual, or abstract conceptual, theoretical?

What mode of presentation is stressed: visual pictures, diagrams, films, demonstrations, or verbal lectures, readings, discussions?

How is the presentation organized: inductively phenomena leading to principles, or deductively principles leading to phenomena?

What mode of student participation is facilitated by the presentation: active students talk, move, reflect, or passive students watch and listen?

What type of perspective is provided on the information presented: sequential step-by-step progression (the trees), or global context and relevance (the forest)?

Table 3.1: Dimensions of Learning and Teaching Styles

Preferred Learning Style

Corresponding Teaching Style






















active student









3.4.1 Teaching Techniques to Address All Learning Styles

Felder & Linda (1988) presented techniques for teaching to all learning styles model the following section a brief description:

Motivate learning. As much as possible, relate the material being presented to what has come before and what is still to come in the same course, to material in other courses, and particularly to the students' personal experience (inductive/global).

Provide a balance of concrete information (facts, data, real or hypothetical experiments and their results) (sensing) and abstract concepts (principles, theories, mathematical models) (intuitive).

Balance material that emphasizes practical problem-solving methods (sensing/active) with material that emphasizes fundamental understanding (intuitive/reflective).

Provide explicit illustrations of intuitive patterns (logical inference, pattern recognition, generalization) and sensing patterns (observation of surroundings, empirical experimentation, attention to detail), and encourage all students to exercise both patterns (sensing/intuitive). Do not expect either group to be able to exercise the other group's processes immediately.

Follow the scientific method in presenting theoretical material. Provide concrete examples of the phenomena the theory describes or predicts (sensing/ inductive); then develop the theory or formulate the mod (intuitive/inductive/ sequential); show how the theory be validated and deduce its consequences (deductive/sequential); and present applications (sensing/deductive/sequential).

Use pictures, schematics, graphs, and simple sketches liberally before, during, and after the presentation of verbal material (sensing/visual). Show films (sensing/visual.) Provide demonstrations (sensing/visual), hands-on, if possible (active).

Use computer-assisted instruction sensors respond very well to it (sensing/active).

Do not fill every minute of class time lecturing and writing on the board. Provide intervals however brief-for students to think about what they have been told (reflective).

Provide opportunities for students to do something active besides transcribing notes. Small-group brainstorming activities that take no more than five minutes are extremely effective for this purpose (active).

Assign some drill exercises to provide practice in the basic methods being taught (sensing/active/sequential) but do not overdo them (intuitive/reflective/ global). Also provide some open-ended problems and exercises that call for analysis and synthesis (intuitive/reflective/global).

Give students the option of cooperating on homework assignments to the greatest possible extent (active). Active learners generally learn best when they interact with others; if they are denied the opportunity to do so they are being deprived of their most effective learning tool.

Applaud creative solutions, even incorrect ones (intuitive/global).

Talk to students about learning styles, both in advising and in classes. Students are reassured to find their academic difficulties may not all be due to personal inadequacies. Explaining to struggling sensors or active or global learners how they learn most efficiently may be an important step in helping them reshape their learning experiences so that they can be successful (all types).

These techniques are developed and implemented in traditional classroom. In e-learning some of these elements are implemented using ITS and AHS and successfully resulted effective learning process. However, e-learning system is inadequate to cover all the teaching techniques due to inability to cope with individual learning differences (Deborah 2009).

3.5 Comparison of Learning Style Models and their Suitability in e-Learning.

Most of the available and the presented learning style models are in the area of learning and teaching aspect for long time and some of them are successfully implemented. However, most of these models are related to the learners over 16 years of age (Marjolein et al. 2008). In addition, some of these models or elements of different models have been used in several e-learning projects (Mullier, et al. 1999; Mullier 2000; Christian 2003). However, e-learning has different elements and different environment from the traditional class room. Therefore, it is important to realize these differences and investigate the suitability to e-learning. Table 3.2 presents types of learning style models and highlights the suitability to be implemented in e-learning.

Two criteria must be considered toward doing this study represented as following:

Learning activities indicate what learning activities learners actually perform. In e-learning the learners are more independent and have more opportunities to choose their own learning activities whereas in educational contexts it is mostly the teacher who makes the choices (even if the learning takes place outside of the classroom). In this criteria the focus will be on learning activities rather than learning preferences (which indicate the circumstances the learners prefer for learning) or learning orientations (which refer to how people think about learning) is more relevant in this context.

Teaching activities indicate what teaching activities suitable to be implemented in e-learning system. Just as the students, the teacher is also having their own preferences in terms of the teaching styles that they may want to practice and call upon throughout the lesson in order to enhance group movement and learning. Therefore, the teacher is the one who is responsible in ensuring and determining the success of their teaching and in ensuring that the students understand their lesson well. As a result mismatch between individual learning style and teaching style create mismatch between learning and teaching methods. As a result teaching activities is critical for traditional class room and e-learning as well.

Table 3.2: Type of Learning Style Models and e-learning suitability

Learning Style Models

Suitability for e-learning context


Kolb is primarily a cognitive learning preference instrument, and does not specifically take into account social preference issues that represent the key distinction between the e-learning and traditional classrooms. Kolb elements can be translated into learning activities. Teaching activities are not represented.


Relevant for general motivational and personality characteristics but cannot be translated directly to learning activities.

Honey & Mumford

It describes a cycle of learning process. Generally, the model is not adequate to cover all the learning style aspect such as personality, emotional issues, scale differences, and preferences.


The learning style elements can be used in e-learning system but the whole model is not adequate. Because how the learner perform the sequences of activities in this model is not clearly identified.


The model concerns on both learning and teaching aspect. However, avoidant learners can not be transited into learning activity and not clear how to deal with them in term of teaching aspect. Some element of this model can be modified and then implemented in e-learning.

Felder- Silverman

All the five learning style elements are suitable to be implemented in e-learning system.

Dunn & Dunn

This model does not concern learning activities but learning preferences. The preferences described in this model cannot be translated to learning activities such as room temperature and others which are not suitable for e-learning environment.


The main characteristics of this model are different parts of the brain, which indicate whether someone is organized, interpersonal, or imaginative, cannot be directly translated to learning activities for e-learning.


Some element can not be implemented as learning or teaching activity in e-learning such as interpersonal or Kinesthetic.

To sum up, there are many researches attempted to assess how the human mind operates, how it perceives and processes information. As a result, many learning models have been developed by which an individual's style of learning can be assessed. Among these models, there is no proof that one style is better than the other is or likewise (Syed & Ahmed, 2005; Harris et. al 2006). It depends on whether the learning style is suitable and comfortable to the students. This is the learning in general form but e-learning environment and elements are different. Table 3.2 shows the suitability of these models in e-learning environment. The following are results concluded from this study:

There is no learning and teaching style model is for e-learning.

Most of the learning activities presented in the available learning style models are adequately covered and suitable for e-learning.

Combination of some learning style model to be implemented in e-learning can improve the learning and teaching process.

The sequence in how the learning activities can be implemented in learning is not identified in most of the learning style models.

3.6 Summary

Learning style refers to how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment. Different learning style instruments are used to determine students' learning styles. These models are developed to describe and identify individual learning style in face to face environment. However, e-learning has different characteristics and technically is different environment. Table 3.3 summarizes all learning style elements and their suitability in e-learning contexts. Comparison between the available learning styles models is presented in Table 3.4.

Table 3.3: Overview of all learning style elements

Learning Style

Description and Characteristics

Suitability to be a learning style for e-learning student


Visual learners remember best what they have seen.

Visual material such as graphics, diagrams, images and animations.


They are listening learners; they will learn effectively when they can listen to what they are learning.

Emphasize on text-based material.


Sensing learners prefer to learn concrete material such as data, facts, and examples. Sensing learners also like practical problem solving.

Increase the number of examples, exercises and multimedia. Problem based method is suitable.


Intuitive learners like challenges and prefer to learn abstract material and do not like repetitions.

Number of examples and exercises should decrease.


Other sensations which includes touch and temperature as well as movement.

Gamming and simulation may be affective for those learners.


Prefer facts, observation and underline principles.

Problem based and Inquiry based learning can be effective for this type.


Prefer presentation that goes from the general to the specific.

Course content presentation.


Prefer to learn by trying things out and doing something actively, active learners tend to be less interested in examples, since with examples they can see how others have done something rather than doing it themselves. Learners prefer learning by talking, explaining, and discussing the material with others and also like to work in groups.

Less examples are recommended for active learners. Communication features such as forum and chat, tasks that incorporate such features, as well as group work are beneficial.


Reflective learners prefer to learn by reflecting on the leaning material and thinking things through.

The number of learning objects asking for active behavior should decrease. it is recommended to first present the learning material, so that learners can reflect on it and afterwards present examples or ask them to do some tasks based on the learned material.


Sequential learners prefer to learn by linear


Presenting the learning material using sequential learning based approach. By using predefined learning path and supported by hiding links within the learning material and highlighting the back and next buttons.


Global learners, it is very important to get the big picture of the topic and they tend to be poor in using partial knowledge. Global learners are interested in related topics and also prefer to go through the material in a non-sequential way by jumping to more complex.

Getting an overview of the topic can be supported by providing outlines and a high number of examples, exercises and tests.

material, links should be displayed and


Prefer to be independent in study and projects.

The learner in e-learning is independent but can not be translated as learning activity.


Looking to the teacher as source of structure and guidance.

Can be implemented by using adaptive interaction support.


Acquired information by sharing and by cooperating with teacher or others.

By using communication techniques, such as forum, chat, or video conference.


They are not interested to class activities and attending.

Providing this type of learner the preferred learning method.


Keen to participant.

Problem based, Inquiry based can be supported.


Compete with other students.

Gamming approach may motivate this type of learner.


They respond to music.

Interactive support system with multimedia.

Emotional/ sociological / physiological / psychological/ environment

Emotional, surrounding and infrastructure aspects.

Not suitable for e-learning environment.

Table 3.4: Comparison of Learning Style Models


















Orientation to life










Decision making








Attitude to outside world




















































In e-learning when the learning style of the student is not compatible with the teaching style of the teacher; difficulties in learning can result. Table 3.5 presents teaching techniques to address all learning style and their suitability in e-learning contexts.

Table 3.5: Teaching Techniques to Address Learning Styles

Teaching Techniques

Learning Styles

Corresponding e-learning Technologies or Methods

Motivate learning and relate the material being presented to what has come before.


ITS (curriculum sequencing)

Provide concrete information such as facts, data, real or hypothetical experiments and their results.


Problem Based/ Inquiry Based learning

Abstract concepts such as principles, theories, mathematical models.


Inquiry Based Learning

Material that emphasizes practical problem-solving methods.


Problem Based Learning

Material that emphasizes

fundamental understanding.


Problem Based/ Inquiry Based learning

Observation of surroundings, empirical experimentation, and attention to detail.


Problem Based/ Inquiry Based learning

Use pictures, schematics, graphs, and simple sketches liberally before, during, and after the presentation of verbal material.


Adaptive presentation and the use of Mind Map/Flowchart methods

Use computer-assisted instruction.


Interactive support system

Do not fill every minute of class time lecturing and writing on the board. Provide intervals-however brief-for students to think about what they have been told.


Problem Based Learning

Provide opportunities for students to do something active besides transcribing notes.


Gamming Based Learning

Applaud creative solutions, even incorrect ones.


Interactive support and Gamming Based learning can enhance this technique.

There are many learning style models, theories, and methodology that has been used for a long time in education, none of them have adequately covered all learning aspects such as personality, emotional issues, scale differences, and preferences.