Have you taken the Digital Learning Styles Quiz on our new My Tech Family hub yet? Here we reveal the science that went into crafting it...
One of the first things we recommend parents and kids do when they land on the new Vodafone #MyTechFamily hub is to take the Digital Learning Styles Quiz. It’ll help the whole family understand why different people engage more or less with different stimuli, and it’ll help you to find fun tech activities that suit everyone’s particular styles. But why is that important?
Getting to know which learning style your kids fit into is really useful because it goes a long way to explain all sorts of things about their personality – from the reason they prefer some methods of learning over others, to why they gravitate towards certain websites.
To delve deeper into the science behind the learning style questions we’ve been talking to the creator of the quiz, psychologist Patrick Fagan…
Getting to know you
Do your kids prefer being told what to do, or to work without rules? Do they work better by themselves or with others? And how about your own learning style: do you prefer reading or watching movies? There’s no wrong answer to any of these questions, but each one says a lot about your and your children’s personalities and the way you soak up new information, which is why they’re part of the #MyTechFamily hub’s Digital Learning Style Quiz.
The human mind is a complex thing, so how do you go about boiling such a difficult subject into something that’s easily digestible for kids and adults alike?
“I started off by doing a literature review,” Patrick tells us. “I had looked at all the published research by psychologists who have looked at learning styles, and also at the different kinds of cognitive intelligence such as verbal, numerical, emotional, and so on. And I also looked at technology research, and how modern tech is influencing the way we think.”
And from that massive pile of research, Patrick emerged with a small group of clearly defined, easy to understand learning styles that apply to every member of the family:
“It was a challenge to boil all that down and make it accessible,” he says, “but the main cognitive styles are universal, so they’re pretty much the same for children as they are for adults.”
The question on everyone’s lips, then: what digital learning styles are there?
“There are six,” Patrick explains, “and they split into three groups. The first is Creative vs Logical, and what this says about you is whether you prefer to think about things in an abstract way and work creatively without rules, or whether you prefer structure and dealing in facts. The next one is Self vs Other, and that’s about whether you’re introverted and like to take time to think about things by yourself, or if you’re more extroverted and you like to get stuck in with other people.
“The last one is Verbal vs Visual, which is a really key differentiation all about how you process information i.e. do you prefer words or images when it comes to learning new information?” Intrigued? You can see for yourself by clicking the link below.
#MyTechFamily: Take the quiz!
Head over to our hub for a fully-stocked list of great online activities and tech guides for the whole family. Why not take the Digital Learning Styles quiz with your kids to kick things off?
– Click here to get going!
So which style are you? As Patrick reveals, getting to know your own specific flow – and that of your children – is hugely important…
“It’s all about how people approach new information,” Patrick says of the quiz. “Different people prefer to process new information in different ways.” And it’s for this reason that he believes parents should endeavour to gain a good understanding of what makes their children tick:
“If you have a child who’s been set a task in the wrong format for their personal learning style, they might not do as well at it as if it were presented in their preferred way.” That’s relatively new thinking and it has big ramifications, especially in the classroom, where the curriculum is struggling to keep up and technology is soaring ahead: “New research suggests that the internet and television are so popular with so many kids simply because they appeal to more visual learning styles,” he adds, “whereas most of the content in schools is verbal.”
That crossover – the one between learning and the use of technology – is one we’re really keen to explore and help people with:
“There may be more understanding around learning styles in children recently, but how it relates to technology is a new and underexplored area,” says Patrick in closing. “It’s an under-researched topic, so it’s really great that Vodafone is focussing on it; the brilliant thing about the internet is that it provides all sorts of different things for different people.”