Learning styles are the different approaches to the process of learning. They are the different methods of education under which the individual is supposed to learn best. These styles are based on the notion that different individuals have different methods of interacting with, assimilating and processing information. Individuals are grouped into visual, auditory, tactile/Kinaesthetic learners based on the context in which they prefer learning. The visual learner learns best by visualising materials like graphical and pictorial representations of the material being learned. The tactile learner prefers to touch, move around and basically interact with space in the process of learning the material. The auditory learner, on the other hand also prefers to hear about the material to be learned, probably by way of explicit explanations. At tines, there may be a co-dominance of any of the aforementioned contexts of learning. There is also a possibility of the presence of elements of more than two of them. Learning in these cases now depends on what type of material is being learned.
Learning in children is a delicate issue as the child is still in his/her formative years. The child is yet to develop the proper psyche as to discern what is right or wrong. The child depends on whatever is taught. Be it at school, by playmates or even at home. It is important to take the child through the basic learning styles (Kelly, 2001) (Mehay, 1999). This is in order to make the learning attractive as this can be boring sometimes.
Learning in adults is another different thing entirely. The adults have already been formed a long time ago. They are now a product of their formative years. Adult learners have a wealth of life experience. They tend to be somewhat unsure of their learning ability. They are highly motivated.
A learning style developed in childhood can impact either positively or negatively on how an adult learns. This is because both the adult and the child have different motivations for learning (Felder, 1988). A child that is highly developed in the area of visual learning might have difficulties learning in an adult class where visual aids are not being used. Likewise, if the adult has a well developed tactile learning ability and as an adult, is given so many textual materials to assimilate. The adult might end up doing badly.
In conclusion, it is important to, at least introduce the child to all of the learning contexts as a child so that when he/she becomes an adult and wants to learn, he/she can adapt, without much difficulty to whichever material is used in the process of teaching.
Felder, R. M. (1988). Learning and Teaching Styles In Engineering Education. Engr. Education , 78 (7), 674 – 681.
Kelly, D. K. (2001). Characteristics, Theories, Motivations, Learning Environment. Dublin, Ireland.
Mehay, R. (1999). Learning Styles.