Tips for teaching college students with different learning styles

by Sining Kong
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Sining Kong

Sining Kong

Learning style can be described as a set of factors, behaviors, and attitudes that facilitate learning for an individual in a given situation. It influences how students learn, how teachers teach and how the two interact with each other. The idea of learning styles usually refers to a preferred way of learning. It implied that each individual has a natural inclination toward learning, and if that preference can be identified, both teaching and learning experiences can be more effective.

Teachers can use VARK questionnaire to know students’ learning styles. According to VARK inventory, there are four types of learning styles: 

* Visual learners prefer to use pictures, images, diagrams, colors, and mind maps.
* Aural/Auditory learners prefer using sound, rhythms, music, recordings, clever rhymes, and so on.
* Reading and writing learners enjoy reading and taking notes, turn diagram and charts into words.
* Physical (Bodily-Kinesthetic) learners prefer to use their body to assist in their learning, such as drawing diagrams, using physical objects, or role playing.

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Motivating college students — recognizing learning styles and role of intrinsic & extrinsic motivation

by Jung Won Chun
Ph.D. student, university of Florida


Jung Won Chun

Motivating students is not easy but is one of the most fundamental and important issue in teaching. If students lose their motivation to learn and engage with you as a teacher, they not only aren’t gaining as much as they could from your class but they could become academic discipline problems.

So, the key question is: “How can we motivate students?”

To answer this question, we need to understand different types of motivations. Here are two types of motivation:

Extrinsic motivation

  • Goal-driven: “I need a B to get into law school.”
  • Rewards: “I can earn extra credit if I do well on today’s quiz.”
  • Pressure to perform: “If I flunk this course, I will lose my scholarship.
  • Competition: “I should do a better performance to win the first prize in this project.”
  • Achievement: “I want to earn A for this course.”

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