Learning Styles, Instructional Strategies, and the Question of Matching: A Literature Review
The study of learning styles is one of interest and debate in current educational circles. The diversity of the field arises from various theoretical foundations and definitions and, therefore, presents some challenges to understanding and implementation. Despite these issues, however, learning styles do appear to have a definite influence on the educational process. Teachers’ training and perceptions concerning learning styles play a role in their application of learning style concepts to both instruction and assessment. Students also are influenced by learning styles, having unique perceptions of their abilities and preferences for learning that may affect their motivation and lifelong learning patterns as well as academic performance levels. Significant questions remain about the issue of matching learning and teaching styles, with arguments supporting a range of approaches including unmatched, tailored, and varied instruction. Further, there is a methodological debate concerning the most appropriate and effective methods for conducting research and gaining accurate information applicable to authentic educational environments. Additional research is necessary to address the identified issues and areas of contention in the field of learning styles and to provide further information and support for implementation of effective teaching practices in the classroom.
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