Innovative Teaching Learning Process

Shri VaishnavSM Institute of Technology and Science, Indore M.P.


Felder-Silverman Model of Students Learning Style

 

I noticed that sometimes even though my lecture is interesting some students seem to be disinterested and not attentive. I always tried to find a way to get them involved through various strategies. I came across a research study that has been conducted on engineering students for more than 15 years on how students learn. Based on the outcomes a model has been developed by Felder-Silverman and a short questionnaire for assessing learning styles has been uploaded on the internet.

In brief the study is based on the premise that if the teaching style of a professor meets the learning style of a student then the students will retain what he/she has learnt better. When mismatches exists between learning styles of most students in a class and the teaching style of the professor, the students may become inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the courses, and themselves. Professors are confronted by low test grades, unresponsive or hostile classes, poor attendance and dropouts. Most seriously, society loses potentially excellent professionals.

Students preferentially take in and process information in different ways: by seeing and hearing, reflecting and acting, reasoning logically and intuitively, analyzing and visualizing, steadily and in fits and starts. Teaching methods also vary. Some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or lead students to self-discovery; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding.

To overcome these problems, professors should strive for a balance of instructional methods. If the balance is achieved, all students will be taught partly in a manner they prefer, which leads to an increased comfort level and willingness to learn, and partly in a less preferred manner, which provides practice and feedback in ways of thinking and solving problems which they may not initially be comfortable with but which they will have to use to be fully effective professionals.

I filled the questionnaire provided on the website: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html.

and found the description on my learning style at http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/styles.html.

I realized that most of the parameters were reflected and covered my learning style.

To improve the teaching learning process and to make the learning more student centric,  in the current session, I thought of using Prof Richard Felder's Learning Styles system by arranging the students to undergo a fifteen minutes on-line questionnaire which provided me the indicators of each students learning style and gave me a feel of how the students in my class  will learn and retain information better and tried to develop strategies to make teaching learning in my classes oriented towards their style to the extent possible while also considering the my own style of teaching. Hence, finding a comfortable fit in how students of my class will learn better and my own teaching style.

 

Once I had identified my students learning styles, I developed strategies to teach Following is an illustrative example:

Type

Mental Process

Type

Mental Process

Strategies for handling both?

Sensors

Difficult: symbols

Easy: facts

Intuitive

Difficult: detail

Easy: reasoning, theoretical

Bring concreteness into lectures and intuition in labs.

Visual (college age and older )

Difficult: lectures, seminars

Easy: pictures, diagrams, Tables.

Auditory

Difficult: visualization

Easy: discussion, explanation

Introduce visuals.

Inductive

Natural learning style: observation to principle

Deductive

Natural teaching style: principle to applications

First induction then deduction.

Active

Difficult: listen, individual work

Easy: experimental work, group work

Reflective

Difficult: activity

Easy: think, individual work

Pauses for reflection

Problem solving activities,

Group discussion

Sequential

Difficult:  goal, new method

Easy: progression  complexity and difficulty

Global

 

Difficult: Explaining details.             Easy: grasping bigger pictures easily

Provide big picture, relate to student experience, alternative generation.

I found students more attentive, interested and eager to learn. This gives me confidence that they will perform better in my class. I think the system works. Please try it on yourself first and on your students and share your experience. This could be a great learning experience for all of us.

Comments/suggestions are welcome.

 

 

Shiraz Husain

Asst. Prof.

EC Dept, SVITS

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