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Learning and the Brain

I heard this story from National Public Radio (NPR) on the morning of August 29.  Here is the link.
http://www.npr.org/think-youre-an-auditory-or-visual-learner-scientists-say-its-unlikely?
The version you can listen to is different from what you can read.  And that is the point of the story.

In summary, the idea of learning styles- auditory, visual, kinesthetic-turns out to have no scientific basis.  And learning is stronger when the same information is given in a variety of ways.  It helps with attention and retention.

In my mind, I am trying to see the difference between “learning style” and “learning media”.  Students with visual impairment may have limited access to a variety of media.  However, teaching only to a student’s strongest media may limit their learning.  For example, giving a student everything auditorially because that is their strongest learning media, may impact their ability to pay attention and retain information.  Ensuring that students who primarily use auditory information have access to tactile (and kinesthetic!) and visual information (as appropriate) may result in better learners.  This is making me think that not only do we need to get tactile materials to auditory learners but we need to provide concrete, experiential learning not just for young children with visual impairments but for students of all ages.  I am also thinking that working on developing visual skills may also be on-going and not just something geared towards younger students.

Jim Durkel
APH Materials, VI Registration & Deafblind Census
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach
TVIs Needed for AT Survey
Tactile Map Editor

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