We all have specific ways of learning. For example, some learn best by reading, some by listening and some by watching. These are called learning styles and we retain knowledge best when we are allowed to use our preferred learning style. Over the years, education experts, including Anthony Gregorc, have developed theories about learning styles and how they affect education.
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Gregorc's Learning Style Theory
According to Susan Santo, professor of education at the University of South Dakota, Anthony Gregorc's learning style theory, published in 1984, is based on brain hemisphere research. His theory, called the Gregorc Style Delineator, asserts that all learners have two types of preferences: Peceptual (abstract vs. concrete thought) and ordering (sequential vs. random thought). Combining these four ways of thinking creates four different learning styles.
Concrete Sequential Learners
Santo writes that the first learning style, according to Gregorc, is the concrete sequential learner. She appreciates direct, hands-on activities, tactile methods, step-by-step instructions and real-life examples. She dislikes working in groups, being creative and unclear directions. Concrete sequential learners are most successful with the teaching techniques of hands-on activities, workbooks with in-depth instructions, flow charts, diagrams and computer-assisted activities.
Concrete Random Learners
According to Santo, Gregorc's second learning style is the concrete random learner. He appreciates a trial-and-error method, using his intuition and insight, a stimulating environment, competition and implementing change. He tends to be impulsive and doesn't like authority, reading directions or structure. Concrete random learners are most successful with the teaching techniques of multimedia lessons, experimenting with software, computer games and simulations, and independent study.
Abstract Sequential Learners
Gregorc's third learning style, according to Santo, is the abstract sequential learner. She appreciates methods that are based on wording, logic, analysis and intellect. She also prefers working alone, well-organised materials and activities, as well as written, verbal and visual instruction. She is usually very sceptical and may not pick up on subtle nonverbal cues. She usually dislikes distractions, expressing her emotions and sudden changes. Abstract sequential learners are most successful with the teaching techniques of reading, lectures, website searches, outlines and audio tapes.
Abstract Random Learners
Santo writes that the final learning style, according to Gregorc, is the abstract random learner. He appreciates focusing on relationships and emotions, visual instruction, group discussion, evaluating personal experiences and time for reflection. He usually doesn't like distance education because it eliminates the emotional connection of meeting face-to-face. He also dislikes competition, criticism and restrictive environments. Abstract random learners are most successful with the teaching techniques of video or television clips, case studies, chat rooms, guest speakers and group activities.
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