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Try College 101

Unit 5: Learning Styles and Learning Processes   This unit focuses on the higher-level concepts of critical thinking and creative thinking, which are major components of college-level learning. Critical thinking is a level of thinking that requires more effort than simple memorization of facts or solving problems that have a right and a wrong answer. It requires you to make value judgments, either based on personal opinions you have formed, or based on additional information about a situation. In particular, a problem with more than one correct answer, or no correct answer, requires critical thinking to solve. A college-level education will include – and require – much more of this type of thinking than you may be used to, but the effort will be well worth it and very rewarding!
 
This unit also introduces you to the various styles of learning that exist and helps you explore which style works best for you, how to use your predominant learning style, and how to improve your ability to use other learning styles. You may have heard about different learning styles before, or perhaps this concept is completely new to you. Each person processes information differently, and knowing how your own mind works is a powerful piece of information that can improve your study skills. Other people in your learning environment – teachers, students, co-workers, and writers, for example – may not always provide new information in the format that you like best. But once you have identified your own learning needs, you can better translate new information into a format that is easiest for you to understand and remember.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 6.75 hours:

☐    Subunit 5.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.6: 1 hour
 
☐    Unit 5 Assessment: 0.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - list and describe the different types of thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy; - define critical thinking and explain its importance; - define creative thinking and explain its importance; - summarize and describe each of the VARK learning styles; - identify their own preferred learning style; and - describe the best conditions, learning methods, and information formats for their preferred learning style.

5.1 Benjamin Bloom’s Six Types of Thinking   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 3, Section 3.1: Types of Thinking” Link: College Success“Chapter 3, Section 1: Types of Thinking” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In the Chapter 3 introduction, complete the self-assessment exercises titled “Where Are You Now?” and “Where Do You Want to Go?” Then, read the section “How to Get There” and the introductory text under “It’s All in Your Head.” Next, read Section 3.1, titled “Types of Thinking” in its entirety. Pay special attention to the chart featured in Figure 3.2, which introduces Bloom’s Taxonomy, and evaluate yourself based on this information using the Thought Inventory Exercise provided later in the text. After you have completed the reading for Section 1, complete the checkpoint exercises. 

 Reading these sections and completing the self-assessments and
exercises should take you approximately 1 hour to complete  
    
 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
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5.2 A Closer Look at Critical Thinking   - Lecture: YouTube: The Critical Thinker Podcast’s “Episode 2: Why Critical Thinking Matters” Link: YouTube: The Critical Thinker Podcast’s “Episode 2: Why Critical Thinking Matters” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Listen to this eight-minute podcast in its entirety. This lecture provides you with reasons why developing critical thinking skills is essential to navigating the challenges of both college and the real world. Be sure to take notes on the ways in which the concepts presented in this podcast affect you in your own life.  
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: College Success: “Chapter 3: Section 3.2: It’s Critical” Link: College Success“Chapter 3: Section 3.2: It’s Critical” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this section. This reading will explain the building blocks of effective critical thinking. You should be thinking about ways to use critical thinking not just in your overall life, but also in your academic work. After you have read the entire section, be sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.   
    Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

5.3 A Closer Look at Creative Thinking   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 3, Section 3.3: Searching for Aha!” Link: College Success“Chapter 3: Section 3.3: Searching for Aha!” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this section. Pay special attention to the descriptions of what creative thinking isn’t – the myths – and what creative thinking is.  After finishing the reading, complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

5.4 Problem Solving and Decision Making   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 3, Section 3.4: Problem Solving and Decision Making” Link: College Success“Chapter 3, Section 3.4: Problem Solving and Decision Making” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this section. This short reading will give you valuable steps for understanding and solving a problem. As you read, consider how you can implement these steps not only in your overall life but also as you work through academic problems, such as a mathematical equation or a writing assignment. After reading the entire section, be sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

5.5 The VARK Learning Style System   5.5.1 Determine Your Learning Style   - Web Media: Neil Fleming’s VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles: “The VARK Questionnaire” Link: Neil Fleming’s VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles: “The VARK Questionnaire” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Answer each of the questions on the questionnaire to determine your learning preference. Many people score highly in more than one category, but one category usually is at least mildly stronger than the other three.
 
Completing this questionnaire should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.5.2 The Four Styles and Strategies for Each   - Reading: Neil Fleming’s VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles: “The VARK Helpsheets” Link: Neil Fleming’s VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles: “The VARK Helpsheets” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the helpsheet for each of your learning styles (“Visual” through “Multimodal,” available via links at the bottom of the webpage) to read about strategies that are specific to your strengths.
 
Reading these webpages should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.6 Reflect on Your Thinking and Learning Skills   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Learning Style Activity” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Learning Style Activity” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read and answer the questions in this activity based on what you have learned from your textbook readings and the VARK website.
 
Completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour.

Unit 5 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Applying your VARK Learning Style” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Applying your VARK Learning Style” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This quiz will give you an opportunity to think about how your learning style fits into the learning cycle, as well as how it can complement your in-class learning, instructors’ teaching styles, and classmates’ learning styles. There is no right or wrong answer to this assessment. Rather, the best answer for you is one that allows you to reflect on your learning strengths and weaknesses and to devise a learning strategy that works for you over time. If you feel comfortable sharing your answers, consider posting your reflections on the Try College 101 Discussion Board after you finish.
 
Completing this assessment should take approximately 15 minutes.