So this is how I learn!

 

Dansk version

Use learning styles – help yourself and others

What is learning?

When we learn something new, we construct knowledge out of diffuse information. This happens in a completely individual process: Two human beings do not learn in the same way.

Our knowledge is organised in cognitive schemata, that is, mental structures that have been generated by our experience; these cognitive schemata are the basis for our interpretation of new experience, and they determine our mindsets as well as our reactions to new input.

When we process new information and construct knowledge, it happens in one of two ways:

  • Either we fit new information to one or more existing knowledge schemata (assimilation); the reaction is Yes, of course! and it confirms “old” knowledge.

  • Or the information does not fit into existing schemata, and we then break down old knowledge schemata and construct new ones. This process is called accommodation, and the reaction is Aha. So that’s it!

The process of accommodation is stressful and very resource-intensive. Don’t ever forget this when you feel you are losing track of things!

All cognitive growth develops from a very concrete sensorimotor perception of something new to abstract conceptualisation – from an active “touch” to a “think about”. The movement from concrete to abstract and from active to reflective depends on a continuous interplay between assimilation and accommodation. It is a step-wise motion that always builds on the preceding and leads on to the next and higher cognitive level.

What is demanded from the learner?

In order to learn most efficiently, the learner must

  • have the will and the ability to work independently, to make decisions about himself;

  • have the possibility of working autonomously;

  • participate actively in the learning process;

  • have the will and the ability to work in teams (and learn with and from others);

  • have the will and the ability to change;

  • be able to reflect on what he is doing;

  • have insight into his own learning styles profile.

Why autonomy?

Independent, autonomous work is the beginning and the end of learning. A human being remembers new information depending on how he received the information; he remembers

10 per cent of what he reads

20 per cent of what he hears

30 per cent of what he sees

70 per cent of what he sees and hears

90 per cent of what he is actively involved in

Learning styles: The right way to learn is MY way to learn!

According to Dr. Rita Dunn and Dr. Ken Dunn, the inventers of the most widely used learning styles model, learning styles are defined as the way in which each individual learner begins to concentrate on, process, absorb, and retain new and difficult information. In contrast to other theories, learning styles in the Dunn & Dunn Model comprise the whole learning process.

The Dunn & Dunn Model operates on 5 strands of stimuli: the environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological and psychological ones with 21 elements or preferences.

(Cf. http://www.learningstyles.net/2004/1_ls_model.html)

All human beings have between 6 and 14 preferences in their individual learning styles profile.

We recommend the American Building Excellence test for a diagnosis of your learning styles profile. In this test, developed by Susan Rundle and Dr. Rita Dunn, you may find information on the 21 different factors that are comprised in an individual’s Building Excellence learning styles profile.

On the next station, you can learn more about this in the presentation Learning Styles - Utilize your potential.

You may test your own learning style and get instant comprehensive feedback at http://www.building-excellence.com. The test costs USD 5 and can be paid online.

In 2005/06 the Building Excellence test will also be available in Danish.

When you have taken the test and studied your feedback, you will understand much more about how YOU learn, and also why other learners do things differently. You can use this insight not only when you study NetDansk, but also in numerous other connections – also those that do not have anything to do with your studies in general.

Why the Dunn & Dunn Model?

It is a model based on solid research, and it has been thoroughly evaluated at all levels of the educational system. It takes into consideration all the central learning systems of the brain, and in contrast to other learning styles theories, it does not force the learner into a learning style that is unfamiliar to him or with which he does not feel comfortable. If people are forced to learn under circumstances that do not suit them, their learning is inhibited.

Learning styles in NetDansk

In NetDansk we have taken learning styles into consideration. Apart from the fact that you have the opportunity to work autonomously, we have also designed the structure of the web-site to accommodate both global and analytic learners.

For instance, you can get an overview of the units (the metro lines and the individual stations) if you prefer to do so, or you may progress one step at a time. When you stop at a particular station, you may either see everything at once by scrolling on the screen or answer questions / solve tasks one by one as you see fit to do.

Finally, we have chosen a colour scheme that is neutral enough for everyone to like it. At the same time, the colours have been combined so that the global learners will also be stimulated.

So now it is up to you to decide on your physical surroundings so that you enjoy yourself and learn better every time you log on to NetDansk!

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