Learning Styles and Gender

Is there a difference in the learning style between our male and female students?  I came across a paper by Wehrwein et. al. (2005) that explored on observed gender gap in math and science which is said to be widened by theories claiming that women are “biologically incapable of reason” or that men and women have different intrinsic aptitude. The paper asked whether gender is related with learning style preference and if difference in learning style preference exists.  The paper deemed that these questions be addressed in the study to result in quality education by looking into the learning style preference categories, namely: visual, audio, read, write, kinesthetic.  The findings suggested that teachers should adapt teaching methods to meet the different learning styles of the students.  Importantly, the paper found out that the proportion of males preferring multiple modes of presentation is higher than females but did not test for significant differences which could be more conclusive.

Other studies, however, run in contrast with the suggestion of the paper regarding tailor fitting instruction to student differences.  For instance, Felder & Brent (2005) said that it is futile and laborious to tailor fit learning style with learning preferences.  They actually saw this futility by saying that teaching style should provide access for students to be able to use learning strategies adapted to their learning style.  So how should a teacher handle learning styles viz-a-viz teaching style in the light of these two contrasting results?

Wehrwein, H. Lujan, and S. DiCarlo. (2005). Gender differences in learning style preferences among undergraduate physiology students. Retrieved on May 20, 2016, from http://advan.physiology.org/content/31/2/153.

Felder, R. & Brent, R. (2005). Student perceptions and learning outcomes of computer-assisted versus traditional instruction in physiology. Retrieved on May 21, 2016, from http://advan.physiology.org/content/ajpadvan/273/6/S55.full.pdf

 

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