Preferences for learning

Learning styles

We don’t all absorb and process information equally in the same way. Just as a teacher’s teaching can be influenced by their personality and preferred teaching style, so too does a student’s learning depend upon their personality and preferred learning style. Some students prefer to listen, whilst some prefer to read or watch, and others will prefer to just get in and have a go.

View the video below that explores different learning styles. Consider your teaching practices and how your activities accommodate for some or all of these styles.

Multiple Intelligences (MI)

The work of Howard Gardner has been adopted for use in educational settings. As with learning styles, MI has been used to assist learners in identifying how they naturally prefer to absorb, process and retain information. For further information on Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, explore Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Armstrong (2009).

Understanding the different learning preferences your students may exhibit, and the role ‘multiple intelligence’ has on the processing and understanding of information, can play a significant role in achieving effective learning. Whilst it is important to not ‘box’ students into one category or another, the varying learning strengths and challenges of students should be taken into consideration with your teaching practices. Ensure that knowledge and skills are delivered in a number of formats to ensure that all learning styles are covered where reasonable.Students need to be provided with an opportunity to take part, and adapt to their learning environment to enable success.



  • Barell, J. et, edited by Bellanca, J. (2010) 21st century skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Bellanca, J. (2015). Deeper learning : Beyond 21st century skills. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Knowles, M., Holton, E. & Swanson, R. (2012) The Adult Learner. (7th ed.) Taylor & Francis: New York
  • Pritchard, A. (2009) Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. (2nd ed.) Routledge: New York.