The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model on Instruction

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The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model of Instruction

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The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model of InstructionResearch paper from UCLA

The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model of Instruction

OBJECTIVES As a result of studying the contents of this chapter and the successful completion of the accompanying exercises and activities, you should be able to: 1. define, in general terms, the concept of learning styles 2. describe the relationship between the principles and the organization and use of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model of instruction 3. list and describe the main characteristics of a classroom that employs use of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model 4. discuss the impact that the use of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model will have on the following instructional elements: the role of the students, the role of the teacher, the physical arrangement of classrooms, the materials and i d d d h f h l i k d k b h d 17/02/2011

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equipment needed, and the nature of the learning tasks undertaken by the student. 5. cite and discuss the instructional planning in relationship to daily lesson plans, use of instructional objectives, student assessment, and progress monitoring that will have to be made to effectively use the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model. 6. develop a series of lesson plans for a subject or course that reflect the use of the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model 7. describe in detail your vision of a typical class period using the course syllabus you developed for the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model INTRODUCTION TO LEARNING STYLES Learning Styles is a popular and sometimes controversial approach to instruction that provides teachers with an organized system for the application of individualized instruction in their classrooms. The basic assumptions are quite simple - and quite appealing. All children can learn, but not all children learn in the same ways. Different children learn best in different ways and there is no one approach to instruction that fits all children. Consideration of different styles of learning should be made as instruction is designed and implemented. As the student population in our public school classrooms increasingly becomes more diverse, and as many students, particularly culturally different students, struggle to keep up, educational reforms involving a learning styles approach to instruction are spreading. Most educators readily agree that people learn differently. However, moving from that simple and basic assumption to the development and implementation of an agreed upon theory-based instructional model that is supported by the research and professional literature has been difficult. Many educators advocate a learning styles approach to instruction, and there are several learning style approaches in use today. In this chapter we will present the Learning Styles Model developed by Rita and Kenneth Dunn. The Dunn and Dunn approach is one of the most widely used models of teaching today. However, before we focus specifically on the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, we would like to briefly review learning style models in general to set the stage for an in-depth review of the Dunn and Dunn Model.


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Major Learning Styles Models There are a number of definitions of learning styles. Practitioners surveyed by the American Association of School Administrators seemed to agree that "learning styles refers to the ways individual students learn best" (page 12, AASA, 1991). A more complex and comprehensive definition is provided by a National Association of Secondary School Principals (ASSP) task force formed to study the concept of learning styles The task force defined learning style as: "the composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment. It is demonstrated in that pattern of behavior and performance by which an individual approaches educational experiences. Its basis lies in the structure of neural organization and personality which both molds and is molded by human development and the learning experiences of home, school, and society (Keefe & Languis, 1983)" Three of the most popular learning styles models are the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, McCarthy's 4 MAT System, and Gregoric's Mediation Abilities Model. Unfortunately, these three approaches have been developed independent of each other - and each with little recognition of the others' work. Figure 6.1 presents the developers, the theory base, and the instructional emphasis for each of three models. Figure 1 - Learning Styles ModelsDeveloper Anthony Gregoric, Katherine Butler: The Mediation Abilities Model Theory Basis Mediation Ability: The identification and use of four ability channels of concrete sequential thinking, abstract sequential thinking, abstract random thinking, and concrete random thinking Instructional Emphasis Recognition that teachers as well as students bring individual styles to the instructional setting. Emphasis is on individual awareness of "mediation abilities" and accommodation of these styles in classrooms. Identification of key learning styles of each student and matching instruction and learning activities with each student's styles. Learning style elements are identified across five categories:

Rita Dunn, Kenneth Dunn, Marie Carbo:

Cognitive Style and Brain Lateralization Theory: A Diagnostic-Prescriptive approach using a


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The Learning Styles Model

framework of 21 specific styles

categories: Environmental, Emotional, Sociological, Physiological, and Psychological (Cognitive Processing)

Bernice McCarthy: The 4 MAT System

Brain Lateralization and Cognitive Style Theory used as a basis for identification Curriculum and instructional activities are designed to of individual styles along two continuums: provide instruction for all Perception and Processing result in four students across each of the four major learning styles. major learning styles of Imaginative Learners, Analytical Learners, Common Sense Learners, and Dynamic Learners.

The Mediation Abilities Model grew out of Anthony Gregoric's interest and study of individual differences and how these differences have an impact on the individual's life. Gregoric theorized that individuals approach life tasks primarily using two ability continuums as mediators for interacting and learning: How you perceive tasks and activities and how you order tasks and activities. Within different people, each of these two mediation abilities manifest themselves along a continuum. Perception abilities may vary on a continuum from concrete perceptions to abstract perceptions. Ordering abilities will vary along a continuum from random ordering to sequential ordering. Mediation abilities theory also places an emphasis on the individual's understanding of his or her styles (Butler, 1985). In application, the Mediation Abilities Model provides the foundation for identifying both teacher and student learning styles. Once a teacher fully understands her or his learning style, instructional procedures are selected to accommodate or to reinforce this natural style. The 4 Mat Systems approach to the application of learning styles emphasizes the development and use of a structured curriculum that is designed around the understanding of learning styles. McCarthy's 4 MAT curriculum system is built on David Kolb's theory that individuals learn new information and/or approach new situations in one of two ways-through feeling or through thinking (AASA, 1991). These two main dimensions of learning are further divided into four major learning styles - imaginative learners, analytic learners, common sense learners, and dynamic learners. McCarthy translated Kolb's theory into practice. The 4 MAT System promotes instruction that provides all students an opportunity to learn using all four styles one at a time


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opportunity to learn using all four styles, one at a time. Instruction is sequenced so that 25% of instructional and learning time is devoted to each of the four classifications of learning style. "In this way, all students, whatever their learning styles, get a chance to "shine" 25% of the time. That is not possible in most schools today. Only the Twos get the kind of teaching they need. The other three types are expected to learn in the Two Model" (pg. 47, McCarthy, 1987). In this quote, the "Twos" that McCarthy is referring to are the Analytic Learners. In summary, each of the three main approaches to learning styles instruction - Dunn and Dunn's Learning Styles Model, Gregoric's Mediation Abilities Model, and McCarthy's 4 MAT System - have several aspects in common. Each recognizes the need to address individual differences in learners. Each suggests that more learning takes place as a result of individualized and small group learning activities than through large group instruction. Each advocates that to be effective, instruction m