1. TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCES: TODAY’S SOLUTIONS FOR TOMORROW’S JOBS
Eurokid learns how to learn
Theory and Practice
CZECH REPUBLIC – ITALY – POLAND - TURKEY
Learning styles are “characteristic cognitive, affective, and psychological behaviours that serve as
relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning
environment” (Keefe, 1979). Learning styles are the most important characteristics of students as
learners. They determine the way each of us learns and provide us with learning tools and strategies.
They should also determine teachers’ teaching styles. Everybody has his or her own style of learning
although, usually, we do not have one learning style. Our personal style is a combination of two,
three or more learning styles.
There are many different classifications of learning styles based on different models:
Sensory (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic & Tactile styles)
Perceptual (Right/Left Hemispheric Dominance or whole brain styles)
Cognitive Information Processing (ex. Kolb’s model: Diverging, Assimilating, Converging,
Personality type (ex. Myers-Briggs Classification - Extraverts or Introverts, Sensors or
Intuitors, Thinkers or Feelers, Judgers or Perceivers)
Personal talents (ex. Howard Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences Theory: Linguistic, Logical-
Mathematical, Musical, Bodily-kinaesthetic, Spatial, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Natural,
There are three main sensory learning styles: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic & Tactile style.
Visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which all the pieces of information (presenting,
memorizing and reproducing) are associated with images. Students who have this style of learning
remember all the details visually (e.g., they remember where on a page they can find a proper bit of
information). Such learners:
learn best through seeing things;
prefer organizing information graphically, e.g. as charts, spider diagrams, flow charts, maps,
illustrated text books, videos and graphs together with graphic organizers, such as arrows,
3. circles, etc. (non-verbal visual learners) OR prefer having a text of a lecture or a presentation
without any visual cues except for words themselves (verbal visual learners).
prefer to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand the
content of a lesson so they prefer sitting in the front rows of classrooms;
are good at spelling but forgets names;
need quiet study time;
have to think awhile before understanding a speech or lecture;
In order to learn more efficiently they should:
try replacing symbols with words and vice versa;
spend time looking through the information and trying to rewrite specific pages of
information from memory;
use flashcards, high lighting pens, different colour pencils;
draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process;
ask the teacher to use visual materials to illustrate lectures;
Make lists, notes of everything, especially using mind-mapping tools (Alexander, 2009;
Schneider, 2007; Fleming, n.d.).
Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. In order to
understand taught material, auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said. They also use
their listening and repeating skills to sort through the information heard. Such learners:
usually like to talk in class;
explain things well;
take part in oral work in class;
do well in foreign languages;
understand grammatical patterns easily;
remember things better through listening than reading;
have strong memorization skills;
recall in great detail what was said in a lesson or lecture;
have strong musical skills ;
have a strong sense of rhythm and use rhythm and rhyme.
4. In order to learn more efficiently they should:
explain the information covered in the lesson to someone who was not present during the
once the notes are complete, transfer the information into auditory forms such as MP3 files
to listen to repeatedly;
practice presenting the information they have memorized to other people in the form of a
read notes out loud to themselves (Alexander, 2009; Schneider, 2007).
Kinaesthetic learning occurs when students engage in a physical activity: “hands-on” learning,
exploring, discovering etc. It is worth to add that the kinaesthetic learning approaches can bring
benefits to the whole class. Such learners:
like to move around in a classroom, cannot sit still in one place;
remember what they physically do, they need to do something to 'learn' it;
are able to remember something perfectly after doing it only once;
enjoy activities that involve 'acting out' such as a role play or drama;
need help of physical objects, which they can handle, as aids in sequencing and learning;
enjoy subjects which inherently satisfy their need for 'hands on' learning, such as science,
computer technology etc.;
perform well in sporting activities and activities such as dance;
express their interest in activity enthusiastically and excitedly;
may be classified as underachievers.
In order to learn more efficiently they should:
be provided with many different learning activities;
make some activities involving movement when reading, e.g. drawing maps or making
posters on a big sheet of paper;
make use of computers, tablets, interactive white-boards etc.
include as many 'real' examples as they can - associating specific case studies or examples
with abstract concepts they have to learn;
include pictorial cues such as photographs and pictures in their notes to provide more of a
'hook' for the information they need to memorize;
5. carry out the kinaesthetic activity again at home: revise everything done in the classroom by
recreating the situation;
practice writing answers to tasks they will face in the examination;
talk over the teaching material with other students who learn in the same way, as a means of
recalling all the important points of the material;
use games, riddles, jokes to sustain their concentration (Alexander, 2009; Schneider, 2007).
Right/Left Hemispheric Dominance
The brains of all humans have left or right hemispheric dominance although some might work
globally. According to researchers, right-brained people and left-brained people process information
and respond in different ways. Right hemisphere is more emotional, intuitive, creative unlike left
hemisphere, which is more logical and rational. This dominance reflects the way students learn and
what their learning predispositions are. Left-brainers are better in sciences and maths, while on the
other hand right-brainers are strong at subjects involving creativity and imagination like arts or
If you are a right-brainer, in order to learn more efficiently, you should:
write personalised essays;
keep your imagination under control - use it during arts and other creative tasks;
make outlines, charts, creative visualisations of material;
ask your teacher to lecture less and let you be more active.
If you are a right-brainer, in order to learn more efficiently, you should:
study in a quiet room;
join debates and academic competitions;
organize your notes;
choose analytical assignments;
work alone when you have a choice;
set goals for yourself, make to-do lists etc. (Fleming, n.d.)
6. David Kolb’s Model of Experimental Learning
David Kolb’s model implies the existence of four learning preferences or styles, which are based on
four stages of learning. According to Kolb, the four stages of experimental learning are: Concrete
Experience (feeling), Reflective Observation (watching), Abstract Conceptualization (thinking) and
Active Experimentation (doing). Learning preferences depend on the type of learning modes that
tend to engage people. This leads to four types of learning styles:
- Diverging: combines preferences for experiencing and reflecting;
- Assimilating: combines preferences for reflecting and thinking;
- Converging: combines preferences for thinking and doing;
- Accommodating: combines preferences for doing and experiencing.
The Diverger – this kind of learners respond well to connecting the course material to their own
experience, interests, and career plans. To work efficiently with Diverging students, the instructor
should take a role of a motivator.
The Assimilator – this kind of learners respond to information presented in an organized manner,
which is logical and makes them reflect upon it. To work efficiently with Assimilating students, the
instructor should take a role of an expert.
The Converger – this kind of learners respond to opportunities for working actively on well-defined
tasks and they prefer “hands-on” learning. To work efficiently with Converging students, the
instructor should take a role of a coach.
The Accommodator – this kind of learners respond to applying course material in unknown situations
to solve real-life problems. To work efficiently with Accommodating students, the instructor should
take a role of an interviewer asking open-ended questions (Schneider, 2007; Felder, Brent, 2005).
The diagram below shows all types of learners according to Kolb’s model.
7. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
This personality model allows us to classify students according to their learning preferences based on
psychologist Carl Jung's theory of psychological types. Students may be:
- extraverts (risk-takers, performing well when other people are around) or introverts (focused
on themselves and their own thinking);
- sensors (practical, focused on details, facts and procedures) or intuitors (creative, focused on
concepts, meanings and possibilities);
- thinkers (asking a lot of questions, making decisions based on reason) or feelers (intuitive,
making decisions based on emotions);
- judgers (organized and always trying to end what they started) or perceivers (adapting to
circumstances, resisting to finish to obtain more information).
Although this is not a learning styles taxonomy, it assesses personality types, which are known to
have strong learning style implications. This classification allows us to recognise 16 different learning
8. preferences, which are connected with preferred working environments. For example, most
engineers are likely to be introverts, intuitors, thinkers and judgers; on the other hand, most artists
seem to be introverts, sensors, feelers and perceivers (BSM Consulting, 2010; Felder, Brent, 2005;
Howard Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences Theory
Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory is a widely known theory that serves many purposes
in nowadays education. The author views “intelligences” as capacities to solve area-specific
problems. After reviewing the literature and deep research, he compiled the list of eight and a half
abilities (he did not prove the 9th one completely). Those are:
Linguistic intelligence – ability to learn, understand and process linguistic information.
Usually writers, poets, lawyers and speakers have linguistic abilities.
Logical-mathematical intelligence – ability to analyse theoretical, logical problems and
investigate scientific issues.
Musical intelligence – ability to perform and appreciate musical patterns.
Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence – ability to solve problems using body and perform in a
Spatial intelligence – ability to recognize and use the patterns in bigger spaces.
Interpersonal intelligence – ability to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of
other people. Usually educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors
need to have this intelligence developed.
Intrapersonal intelligence – ability to understand oneself, inner feelings, fears and
Naturalist intelligence – the ability to recognize, categorize and draw upon certain features of
Existential intelligence (9th intelligence) – the ability to ask and answer questions about
existence and philosophical matters (Smith, 2008).
Those are the selected theories that might have implications when trying to understand our
personalities, our skills and difficulties and improving our learning and planning career processes.
9. Learning Styles Questionnaire
There are many online test that help us figure out what our learning styles are. Some of them are
1. Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire - http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html
2. Marcia Conner Learning Styles Questionnaire - http://marciaconner.com/assess/learningstyle/
3. Right/Left Hemispheric Dominance Questionnaire - http://www.web-
4. Kolb Learning Style Inventory -
5. Learning Styles Questionnaire -
10. Brain/Mind Learning Principles
When learning we should not forget also about Brain/Mind Learning Principles developed by Caine
and Caine (2001). They are very important when developing learning skills and routines. The diagram
below synthesizes 12 principles:
To learn more about those principles visit: http://www.cainelearning.com/files/Learning.html
Alexander, B. (2009). Learning styles. Retrieved from: http://www.classroom-management-
success.org on March, 19th 2012.
BSM Consulting (2010). Common Careers for Personality Types. Retrieved from:
http://www.personalitypage.com/careers.html on March, 19th 2012.
Businessballs (2006). David Kolb's learning styles model and experiential learning theory (ELT).
Retrieved from: http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm on March, 19th 2012.
Caine Learning Center (n.d.) An understanding of learning based on the Caines' renowned 12
brain/mind learning principles. Retrieved from:
http://www.cainelearning.com/files/Learning.html on March, 19th 2012.
Felder, R.M. (1996). Matters of styles. ASEE Prism, 6(4), 18-23.
Felder, R.M., Brent, R. (2005). Understanding Student Differences. Journal of Engineering
Education, 94 (1), 57-72.
Fleming, G. (n.d.) Left Brain Right Brain. Your Dominant Brain Type and Its Effect on Study Habits.
Retrieved from: http://homeworktips.about.com/od/learningstyles/a/leftrightbrain.htm on
March, 19th 2012.
Fleming, G. (n.d.) Visual Learning. Learners Who Understand by Seeing. Retrieved from:
http://homeworktips.about.com/od/homeworkhelp/a/visual.htm on March, 19th 2012.
Keefe, J.W., (1979). Learning Style: An Overview. [in] Keefe, J.W. (ed.) Student Learning Styles:
Diagnosing and Prescribing Programs. Reston, Va.: National Association of Secondary School
Schneider, D.K. (2007). Learning style. Retrieved from:
http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Learning_style on March, 19th 2012.
Smith, M.K. (2008). Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved from:
http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm on March, 19th 2012.