Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies

Styles Of Learning And Teaching – Noel Entwhistle. David Fulton Publishing. 1998.

Pg. 87 – Chapter 5. Contrasting Styles of Learning

Research Groups from a University in Lancaster have started the process of looking further into the way we learn as individual people through large scale surveys which has naturally transgressed through the years into very specific and in-depth interviews to pin point what it is exactly that targets our brains to help us learn. The process began in 1968 in terms of higher education to predict degree results through the students level of motivation and personality traits. I think there are obvious flaws within this idea given that people grow up and adapt to the new lifestyles at university, so i think this would be a slightly wasted practice. However i think it is important as a person that you understand how you learn effectively, specifically at university when you are undertaking a form of learning which is much more difficult than you have undergone previously in your life. It would be interesting as a study to test people in their first year of study and then to test them at the end of their degree. This would monitor how their learning styles have changed and how they’ve grown as person too.

From these studies conducted in the 1960’s 3 different types of personality traits were identified.

– The Non Committer

– The Plunger

– The Hustler

This then led researchers to determine the question of ‘Do students in different subject areas exhibit different personality characteristics???

A large scale follow up survey was then conducted over 3 – 4 year period. 1087 students took part from seven different universities. This study undiscovered key variables to the way people think such as motivation and ambition in men was associated with emotional stability. Whereas the motivation in woman was linked to high levels of neuroticism.


Below are quotes from the book from students and their reactions towards exams and the process in general in accordance with their personality types. Some saw it as a challenge that was to be hungrily devoured and to knit an answer together out of the knowledge they had consumed in the lead up to the exam. In my experience this type of person is very rare as everybody i have ever known has always dreaded the idea of undertaking an exam in which you have a limited amount of time to write a good answer down.


The table below shows the correlation between students and their levels of motivation in accordance with their type of study and their academic performance. It shows that introverted people are more likely to achieve higher grade academically than those that are extroverted, but as a rule, according to the table it’s the emotionally stable v’s the unstable that tend to be at extremes of the scale.


Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies – Richard Ridling + Stephen Rayner. David Fulton Publisher. 1998

Cognitive Styles is the term used to identify and reflect on how an individual thinks. It is an automatic way of thinking and responding to both information and situations.

Learning Strategy – Processes used in which the learner responds to an activity.

The theory behind cognitive style and what skills or traits go into it are

– Perception. So how a user processes information

– Cognitive Controls and Processes

– Mental Imagery – Visual or Verbal Learners

– Personality Constructs

Edmonds Learning Style Identification Excercise – ELSIE

– Visual Modality – A Learner who finds better expression through images.

– Verbal Modality – A Learner who finds it easier to learn through words and speaking aloud.

– Auditorial Modality – Somebody who learns quicker through listening to an external party explain things to them.

– Activity Based Modality – Somebody who learns through doing, and actually undertaking activities themselves to learn on the spot.


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