From Learning Styles to Learning in Context: Engaging New Learners in Higher Education

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This paper reports on the development of teaching and learning strategies
resulting from two years of iterative research. The focus of the research was a
science foundation programme at a university in the north of England. Each year
the programme attracts a diverse range of learners with a range of education,
work and life experiences. The introduction of learning styles testing appeared
to offer great potential for this academically vulnerable foundation year
cohort. However, this paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of
learning styles in terms of their impact on student motivations. The authors
report on how these findings prompted them to move away from learning styles
testing towards a model of Context Based Learning (CBL) that promoted student
engagement, learning and understanding. Using initial findings from research
undertaken with students, it will report on its impact and consider the future
potential for a learning model not usually associated with new learners.

Keywords: Learning Styles, Context-Based Learning, Higher Education, Transitions
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: From Learning Styles to Learning in Context

Dr. Rob Ellis

Affiliation not supplied
Huddersfield, UK

Dr. Robert Allan

Affiliation not supplied
Huddersfield, UK

Ref: L09P1252