How a Learning Styles Quiz Can Help You Understand Your Classroom

How a Learning Styles Quiz Can Help You Understand Your Classroom
The Editorial Team October 27, 2012

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A learning styles quiz can help reveal how your students learn, which can help you become a more effective teacher and form stronger connections with your pupils.

Armed with a basic understanding of the most common learning styles and test results showing how your particular students prefer to be taught, you will be better equipped to communicate concepts in a more efficient, productive and fun manner.

What are the key learning styles?

  • Visual learners absorb ideas and information through seeing. They generally favor illustrations, maps, diagrams, demonstrations and videos.
  • Auditory learners prefer to hear the material. They like lectures, discussions and music.
  • Kinesthetic learners use touch and movement to understand the material. For instance, they appreciate hands-on activities, interactive projects, writing and dance.

Most people find that a bit of each style applies to them, but they usually have one dominant style. By conducting a learning styles quiz, you will gain a more complete picture of how various students learn. This enables you to create a more inclusive classroom with different teaching methods. Also, the quiz can help your students begin to understand how and why they learn more effectively in certain situations. This gives everyone a greater opportunity to succeed.

In addition, understanding your own learning style can help you identify and adjust biases in your teaching methods. For example, a teacher who is an auditory learner may depend heavily on lectures with few diagrams or demonstrations; this favors students who are also auditory learners but can alienate visual and kinesthetic learners. To engage the rest of the classroom, this teacher could incorporate more varied teaching methods such as videos, illustrations, simulations and small-group projects.

Learning styles and intellectual strengths

Most people’s learning styles reflect their intellectual strengths. Howard Gardner, professor of cognition and education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, has identified eight intelligence categories that influence learning style. A good learning style quiz will identify students’ intellectual strengths as well.

  • Spatial intelligence enables students to perceive visual-spatial concepts accurately. Common career choices include architect, artist and cartographer. These students flourish when making models or drawing pictures and maps.
  • Bodily kinesthetic intelligence uses the body to express ideas and solve problems; professions include dancers, athletes and actors. Classroom activities could revolve around pantomimes or role-playing.
  • Musical intelligence allows students to think in terms of music and to recognize, remember and manipulate musical patterns. These students like to sing and write lyrics, and they may focus and perform better with background music.
  • Linguistic intelligence features using written or oral language to communicate ideas clearly, as demonstrated by writers, lawyers and journalists. Linguistic activities include debates, reading and writing news reports and poetry.
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence favors logical reasoning and mathematics. Accountants, computer programmers and scientists possess this strength. These students could debate controversial issues or draw and interpret graphs.
  • Interpersonal intelligence helps people detect and empathize with others’ feelings. Such individuals often become teachers, clergy or politicians. Teaching methods include question and answer sessions and active discussions.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence promotes self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses. These students often demonstrate high authenticity and self-discipline, and they may favor working in groups, resolving problems and organizing games and discussions.
  • Naturalistic intelligence indicates sensitivity to natural surroundings. Professions include ecologists, botanists, farmers and explorers. Teaching methods could incorporate working outside, discovering origins and contextualizing to the big picture.

Example Questions and Responses

Carole R. Endres, a lecturer in economics in the College of Business and Administration at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio has developed a simple learning styles test for students. Example questions and responses include:

Which of these games do you prefer?

  • Pictionary
  • Scrabble
  • Charades

You are about to purchase a new stereo. Other than the price, what would most influence your decision?

  • A friend talking about it
  • Listening to it
  • Reading details about it
  • Its distinctive, upscale appearance

A new movie has arrived in town. What would most influence your decision to go or not go?

  • Friends talking about it
  • You read a review about it
  • You watched a preview of it

As you design your classroom lectures and activities, remembering your students’ different learning styles and intelligences — as revealed via the learning styles quiz — will help you to engage more students and enhance their learning experience. In addition, introducing more variety into your methods will keep your students interested while increasing retention and understanding.

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