Types of Learning
Children come into the world with just their survival instincts. As they grow and develop however, they begin to find out more and more about the world around them, impressing their proud parents with their seemingly endless capacity for learning. The differences between individual children impacts the ways in which they learn, with most children utilising a combination of learning styles.
The Three Types of LearningMore than a half-century ago a committee of colleges, led by Benjamin Bloom, identified three basic categories into which educational experiences could be classified: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive category was then further divided into six separate sub-categories, each representing increasingly complex thought processes. Bloom reported extensively on the cognitive category, less substantially on the affective one, and never completed work on psychomotor. The following is an overview of Bloom's cognitive category, with subcategories listed from simplest to most complex:
Bloom's Cognitive Categories:
- Knowledge: simple recall of times, dates, and events
- Comprehension: understand known information and be able to compare, group, and predict consequences
- Application: use of known information to theorise and apply to new situations
- Analysis: determine patterns, recognise meanings and identify parts of information
- Synthesis: utilise old ideas to create new ones, compile assorted information to predict outcomes and draw conclusions
- Evaluation: assess value of theories, present reasoned arguments, make detailed and thoughtful comparisons.
Blooms' Affective Categories:
- Receiving: listen to and be open to hearing ideas, passively participate
- Responding: show interest in outcome, actively seek answers, and show enthusiasm
- Valuing: decide worth of ideas, express personal opinions, and commit to a "side"
- Organising and Conceptualising: develop a belief system, vocalise views, back up personal values with reasoning
- Characterising by Value or Value Concept: become self-reliant, live with integrity, behave within personal belief system.
- Imitation: watch and copy the actions of another
- Manipulation: perform a task from written or verbal instructions
- Precision: adeptly perform a task without outside help or instruction, show ability to demonstrate skill to others
- Articulation: combine skills to meet new, unforeseen demands
- Naturalisation: use internalised knowledge to perform tasks in a "second-nature" way
Learning StylesLearning style is the manner in which each of us best comes to understand and implement new information. As all people differ, so does their natural inclination to learn. In general, there are three types of learning styles, with most people (children and adults) making use of a blend, but favouring one style above the others as their predominant method.
Visual Learners: Children who are visual learners may prefer to sit at the front of the classroom to afford them the best view of the teacher's instructions. They do well to have reference materials at hand -- diagrams, illustrations, well-taken class notes -- to refer to in order to best absorb and retain information.
Auditory Learners: Favouring lectures over book work, auditory learners listen well and find that verbal instruction allows them to process new information efficiently. A great study tip for auditory learners might be to read chapters from their textbooks into a tape recorder, playing the tape back as needed for best results.
Tactile Learners: Hands-on experiences will best lock in lessons for tactile learners, who prefer to have first hand knowledge while learning. Sometimes referred to as "trial and error" learning, tactile learners are the type to jump right in and learn as they go.