Show me the way I learn - Dunn's Powerful Learning Theory
By Andrew Loh
Children learn in different ways. What works for one child may not work
for the other. Every child is different in his or her learning style.
Several learning theories suggest different learning methods for
different children. Before understanding any of these learning theories,
you should try to know the exact meaning of a specific learning style.
The learning style is a unique method a child chooses to process,
evaluate, analyze, probe, internalize and study all new and challenging
study materials. As mentioned before, several learning styles enable a
child learn in its own way. A child learns in an effective manner by
using his or her preferred learning style. Of all the learning theories
and styles, nothing can beat the sheer practicality and usefulness of
Dunn learning style.
The essence of Dunn learning style lies in
its simplicity and flexibility. According to this model, most learners
can learn and master new subjects and they have their unique and
individual methods of gaining mastery over new, complex and difficult
subject matters. For example, a child finds it very difficult to learn a
lesson in math and the math subject as a whole becomes a big challenge.
In a sense, the challenge of learning becomes extremely excruciating if
the manner in which children learn math does not match the manner in
which they learn.
The Dunn couple (Rita & Kenneth Dunn)
suggested this learning style for the benefits of learners. The learning
theory proposed by this couple has some very interesting features to
According to them,
Everyone has his or her own learning style
and each one of us have our own strengths too.
The perceived strength
is just like an individual's signature.
No learning style is
better or bad than the other.
There are hundreds of differing
learning styles, irrespective of learner's religion, creed, culture and
However, the theory could be somewhat difficult to
understand, as one has to learn about as many as 21 different elements
that affect learning process. Many of these elements are biological in
nature while others are developmental. In other words, learning styles
may change over time and according to the 21 elements. Here are
more details about some of the important elements that influence
Surrounding environmental factors play an important role in learning
process. Some of the environmental factors are light, sound, temperature
and seating system in the classroom. For example:
learners like lots of ambient light while reading and writing.
children like to listen to soothing music while they are studying.
Some children learn well even with surrounding noise
Several emotional factors like
internal/external motivation, dedication, persistence, responsibility
and continuity could easily influence learning process. All these
emotional factors are very critical for an effective learning process.
Some children will never touch a fresh
project unless they finish the earlier one.
On the other hand, some
of them can work on multiple projects at a time and in fact they work
diligently and with a sense of purpose.
Sociology plays an important role in
establishing social skills and social relationship with others. How
children interact with others is an indication of how well they acquire
various social skills. Social interactions occur among peer groups,
within a peer group or with different groups outside the learning
Some children learn well in groups and with peers.
On the contrary, many of them prefer to learn alone and in solitude.
Physiological factors that affect learning process in children are
numerous. Issues like different perceptions, existing energy levels,
food intake and physical activities affect the way in which child
If the child is chronically weak
and physically fragile, he or he may not learn to the optimum possible
Some children can study up to 10 PM in the night while
others study well early in the morning.
Right and left-brain abilities, general brain developmental conditions,
IQ levels and other related issue could affect the way in which a child
learns a subject. Cognition, Imagination, creativity and
impulsive/reflective styles will also influence the learning.
A gifted child may never perform very well in the
classroom while he or she will perform extremely well in a specific area
Children with superior IQ may learn better than the
ones with very low IQ levels.
Learning styles and their effectiveness
may also vary with age. Similarly, gender also plays an important role
in learning process. Male children possess very strong visual, tactile
and kinesthetic abilities while female ones are auditory and formal in
their approach. Make children are mobile while female children are
sedentary. Female children are more authoritative, conforming and
self-motivated in their approach. To summarize, Dunn theory of learning
seeks to identify and detect key earning styles of individuals and
create course content based in their individual styles. Continue to read
Parents' Tips to Use Dunn Theory of Learning.