Incorporating Learning Styles into Program Design

Melissa Cater, PhD

Most of us have a preferred way of learning, or learning style. I am a self-described visual learner. I am better able to comprehend information when it is presented visually, as opposed to listening to a lecture or audio tape. Today, we will take more in-depth look at learning styles, specifically the Felder-Silverman learning style model (FSLSM; Felder & Silverman, 1988). There are four dimensions of this model: active-reflective, sensing-intuitive, visual-verbal, and sequential-global (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Description of Felder-Silverman Learning Style Dimensions.

Educators may structure lessons to appeal to a range of learning styles by exploring various teaching strategies. Group work and discussion will appeal to active learners while journaling provides an avenue for reflective learners to process information. Hands-on activities will appeal to sensing learners; concept maps may interest intuitive learners. Visual learners will appreciate demonstrations, charts, or movies while verbal learners will value writing projects and discussion. Outlines and ordered presentations will be helpful for sequential learners; overviews and connections to other materials or applications will support global learners.

If you are curious about your own learning preferences, try this quick online quiz.

For more information about the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Dimensions, consult these resources:

Felder and Soloman: Learning Styles and Strategies

In-Depth Analysis of the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Dimensions

The Felder-Silverman Learning and Teaching Styles Model


Felder, R., & Silverman, L. (1988). Learning and teaching styles in engineering education. Engineering Education, 78(7), 674-681.

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5 Responses to Incorporating Learning Styles into Program Design

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