Moreover, “learning takes place within and is influenced by the cultural context of the learner.” Although Pallapu does not address culture in the research, learning styles may be a reflection of cultural background.
The Pallapu research is limited. The research sample size is small and not diverse enough, as 21 of the 22 participants were female and all were Caucasian. However, the results suggest that learning styles vary even within an otherwise or seemingly homogenous population. The Pallapu research is important because it shows that gender and ethnicity are not necessarily the most important factors in learning. Although gender and ethnicity are important and may in some ways be correlated with learning styles, Pallapu shows that learning styles are independent of cultural background and gender. Educators who assume that gender and ethnicity necessarily influence learning styles may be incorrect.
In a homogenous classroom, teachers may be tempted to teach all students in the same way. The Pallapu research shows that all classrooms will be comprised of a diverse group of students, even when the students are superficially similar. I can personally apply the Pallapu research to my classroom by first assessing the students learning styles. Once I understand how my students learn best, I can develop materials that suit each and every student in the classroom. Ideally I would like to expand upon the Pallapu research by investigating the other dimensions of learning covered in the Index of Learning Styles referenced by Pallapu. These other learning style dimensions include active/reflective learning, sensitive/intuitive learning, and sequential/global learning. These are in addition to visual/verbal learning.
I will use materials that are conducive to the learning styles represented in the classroom. Focusing on learning styles more than gender or ethnicity eliminates problems associated with stereotypes, too. I dont believe that gender or ethnicity are more important than the fundamentals of learning styles to grades. The ultimate goal of the Pallapu research is to help all students improve their grades. If learning styles influence academic performance (grades) then teachers should adapt their lessons to suit diverse learning styles.
The Pallapu research also suggests that students should become more aware of their own learning styles. I would like to assess my students learning styles before creating class materials. After doing so, I can let my students know what their learning styles are. This will help them not just in my classroom but in all their classes. For example, students who are aware that they are verbal learners will be encouraged to join study groups and write about what they learn in school. Students who are aware they are visual learners will be encouraged to incorporate materials that include visual elements like graphs.
According to Pallapu, visual learners perform better and earn better grades than verbal learners. This suggests that educators are not paying enough attention to what verbal learners need. Other learning styles may also need to be taken into account to create a more truly diverse classroom that helps all students achieve their highest potential.
Pallapu, Prasanthi. “Effects of Visual and Verbal Learning Styles on Learning.”.