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Cognitive Styles - definitions and educational applications

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Example queries:

How can I locate research on cognitive styles theories and their application to instruction or assessment?

How are different cognitive styles assessed? Please identify and describe appropriate assessment instruments.

What research is there on the cognitive styles of young children?

Table of Contents


Definition from the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors:

Information processing habits which represent the learner's typical modes of perceiving, thinking, remembering, and problem solving. Cognitive style is used for the more popular term, learning style.

Related ERIC Indexing Terms:
Learning Modalities, Learning Strategies, Multiple Intelligences, Cognitive Processes.

[Table of Contents]

[Topical Overviews in Full-Text]

Learning Styles [1988] - by Charles Claxton and Patricia Murrell
Strategies for Identifying the Talents of Diverse Students [1997] - by Wenday Schwartz
Hispanic-American Students and Learning Style [1996] - by Shirley Griggs and Rita Dunn
American Indian/Alaskan Native Learning Styles: Research and Practice [1991] - by Karen Swisher
The Role of Styles and Strategies in Second Lanquage Learning [1989] - by Rebecca Oxford
Learning Styles Counseling [1991] - by Shirley Griggs
New Learning Stategies for Generation X [1997] - by Bettina Lankard Brown
Multiple Intelligences - Gardner's Theory [1996] - by Amy C. Brualdi

[Table of Contents]

ERIC Citations

Descriptions of Cognitive Style Inventories Selected from ERIC Test Locator Database

Because the list above is not comprehensive, you may want to search the ERIC Test Locator yourself. The Test Locator is a joint project of the Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, the Library and Reference Services Division of the Educational Testing Service (EST), the Buros Institute of Mental Measurements,the Region III Comprehensive Center at GW University, and Pro-Ed test publishers. The Test Locator offers test descriptions, test review citations, and publisher contact information.

Measures of cognitive style found in the Test Locator include: The Vocational Learning Styles Inventory, The Learning Preference Scale, Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory and many others. To view a fuller list than the one offered from the link above, search for "cognitive style" in the ETS/ERIC Test File of the Test Locator.

ERIC Documents Database Citations:

Dynamic (i.e.Live) Search of the ERIC Documents Database for research on cognitive style theories and elementary secondary education

This option employs the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors as the search interface for the ERIC documents database. If you would like to ensure a current bibliography of ERIC documents, then we highly recommend that you pursue this option. Also, you may edit the given prefabricated strategy to introduce concepts into the search to accommodate your specific needs.

Selected ERIC Documents Citations:

Although less current and less plentiful than the Dynamic Search option (above), these selective bibliographies present ERIC documents citations that have been preselected on the basis of their thoroughness and/or authority and/or uniqueness.

Slected ERIC Documents Citations for Cognitive Styles Theories

Selected ERIC Document Citations for Cognitive Styles and Elementary Education

Selected ERIC Documents for Research on the Validity of Selected Cognitive Style Inventories

Instructions for ERIC Documents Access

[Table of Contents]

[Check your local library or bookstore for access]

  1. Jarvis, Peter, John Holford, & Colin Griffin. The Theory and Practice of Learning. London: Stylus Publishing, 1998.

    This book introduces readers to the research of learning processes. It is written in non-technical language and it aims to provide the theoretical underpinnings of modern practices. The three sections include: how and why learning has gradually replaced education in the educational vocabulary, basic theories of learning, and contemporary practices.

  2. Silberman, Mel. Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon, 1996.

    This book is for preservice and the inservice teacher in middle schools, high schools, colleges, and centers for adult education. This is a sourcebook of instructional strategies such as stimulating class discussions, prompting questions, collaborative learning, peer teaching, independent learning, and affective learning.

  3. Sims, Ronald R. and Serbrenia J. Sims, ed. The Importance of Learning Styles: Understanding the Implications for Learning, Course Design and Education. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1995.

  4. Midkiff, Ruby B., Rebecca Davis-Thomasson & Charles C. Thomas. A Practical Approach to Using Learning Styles in Math Instruction . Springfield, Illinois: C.C. Thomas, 1993.

    The purpose of this book is to address the improvement of mathematics instruction through the use of learning styles-based instruction. Its goals are to give the reader an understanding of learning styles-based instruction in mathematics, of effective use of manipulatives in teaching various concepts at all grade levels, of ways to develop spatial reasoning skills in students, of different activities which accommodate a variety of learning styles, and of authentic assessment in mathematics.

  5. Kolb, David A. Individual Learning Styles and the Learning Process.Cambridge: M.I.T., 1971.

    This older book is written by one the leaders in the field of cognitive styles research

  6. Silver, Harry F. How does my child learn? : a parent's guide to understanding learning styles. Woodbridge, N.J.: Thoughtful Education Press, 1996.

  7. Lawrence, Gordon. Looking at type and learning. Gainesville, Fla.,Center for Applications of Psychological Type, 1997.


  • Learning Styles [The Awesome Library]

    The Awesome Library is supported by the Evaluation and Development Institute and offers links to current full text articles and organizations active in cognition research.

  • The Dear Parents Website: Questions and Anwers Regarding Learning Styles

    The Dear Parents website is offered by Edmark, an educational software company. The site, which covers a range of topics of interest to parents, presents a list of answers to eight commonly asked questions pertaining to learning styles. The site also has a place where you can send Edmark your own question via e-mail.

  • Online Learning Style Inventory

    This quick on-line learning style produced by the Honolulu Community College lets you get a rough gauge of your learning style. Other brief online learning style inventories are offered by The Anslie Group and The Creative Learning Company

[Table of Contents]
Publication Notes:
Created: April 5, 1999
Last Revised: August 13, 1999

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