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Learning Preferences and Challenges | Origin: ED137

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Cultural Diversity: Including Every Student --> Learning Preferences and Challenges

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

The state of Minnesota attempted to utlize student portfolieos as part of the profiles of lerning assessment program. This was intended to allowe students to demonstrate attainment of learning standards and expectations through alterntaive means. The program lasted for only a few years because it was too complex, was poorly guided, and utilized by students who only wanted to get out of taking a standardized test. The state has since returned to standardized testing. Portfolios are now only allowed for students in Special Education. I taught in an alternative education program during the time when the Profile in Learning was still law. Students who were very hands on learners tended to utlize the portfolio approach. Traditional academic coursework which learns more heavily on reading, knowldge retention, writing, and communication were not well suited for these learners. Examining portolio outcomes did give me, as an instructor, a better understanding of the student's learning difficulties. For instance, it was easier for me as the instructor to determine the student's reading and language proficiency based on thier use of language. This then became the basis for determining if the student required futher services.

Usually I put a mixture of students in groups, some who are hands on and some who are fact based. This way they help each other reach a solution

Holistic assessments allow students to show what they know through a variety of methods, It is important to get to know each student and get a focus on their learning preferences and best means of expression.


Learning preferences vs. learning challenges - hoe they differ 


Knowing the learning preference is key to preparing a lesson/task. I'll start by catering to their prefered learning style to draw them into the learning. Then gradually shift the learning and comprehention to be more open to other learning styles.

Recognizing learning challenges is very important in teaching process. These challenges include learning disabilities that refer to difficulties to process information.  Also issues with comprehension, application of content, etc. I usually work with student services department where I get help and suggestion on how to accommodate students with disabilities. It is well known that people have different learning styles and if a person has learning disability, it is more imperative that these differences are met and considered during the learning process.  If I get a student with learning disabilities in my class, I try to design instructions in a way that they are easy to follow, make them visual, prepare concept maps, etc.

It was very interesting to learn from this module that use of rubrics, which I do in my classes, is one of the methods of holistic assessment.  I personally like rubrics since they assess qualitatively.  

Rubrics are great so that the student knows what the expectations are for the assignemnt and how each section will impact their grade. 

Instructors can use a variety of teaching strategies to reach out to meet the different learning styles of the students.

Standardized tests are great when everyone learns the same way. Learning preferences will vary and may produce different results. Rubrics allow instructors to see that a student does comprehend the subject and does not rely soley on standardized testing.

As an instructor it's important to use inclusiveness in your method of instructions.

Never assume, ensure that all students are given the benefits of learning despite their learning preferences or challenges.  

Practice modeling. Practice respect for all and always demonstrate the social culture of equity in knowledge. 

Holistic approach is the way to go.

Students may prefer different styles of learning. Some prefer visual, some aural, some verbal, and some social. It would be a good idea for an instructor to use technology and use different styles to enhance students' learning. 

I learned you can be  a combination of differnt learning styles. I am visual and kinethetics. When teaching it is good to use different styles.


Learning differences and learning preferences, while not the same, are both important in guiding course design. We have to be aware that students tend to learn information in unique ways. And it's important to realize that some students are challenged by traditional forms of assessment. It's interesting the division between holistic assessment and standardized assessment. While the former tends to provide a shapshot along a learning continuum, the latter tends to label students at specific levels of performance and be valued more by those managing accountability.

Rubrics and portfolios allow students to demonstrate what they learn by evaluating more than yes/no answers.


It is important to accommodate for students learning preferences, as well as learning challenges.  Offering a variety of instructional strategies can improve access to learning and learning comprehension in both cases.  It is nice to know, though, that when a student has learning challenges, I can hopefully help them access necessary accomodations through student disability services, if they disclose this information to me.  

It is very important to mix the students up when doing group work and change the assignments up so that each has an oportunity to use all of their talents.

I learned the differnce  between learning prefernce and learning challenge. Providing instructional variation can assist the students to succeed in school if they have a learning challege .   

it is important to use hollistic assessments 

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