Return to Start
It is clear to educators that individual differences exist in how students approach learning. For nearly two decades, educators have turned to the concept of learning styles as a means of exploring individual differences in learners with instruments to measure these differences developed by Kolb, Gregorc, Canfield, and Dunn. However, most of these instruments have inherent weaknesses. Consequently, many in the field of adult education have begun to explore the concept of learning strategies as a way to better understand these individual differences among learners. Contemporary studies with learning strategies suggest that distinct groups of learners do exist.
Regardless of the type of setting, learners use various strategies to accomplish their learning needs. Learning strategies are those techniques or specialized skills that the learner has developed to use in both formal and informal learning situations. They are techniques and skills that an individual elects to use in order to accomplish a specific learning task. These strategies vary by individual and by learning objective. Much of the research in the area of learning strategies has used the Self-Knowledge Inventory of Lifelong Learning Strategies (SKILLS). This research has consistently found that various groups of learners can be distinguished by the learning strategies which they use.
ATLAS (Assessing The Learning Strategies of AdultS) is the result of much of this research. The Adult Education Research Conference paper by Gary Conti and Rita Kolody provides an overview of how ATLAS was developed from the research base on SKILLS.
Return to Start