Preferential Learning Styles as an Influencing Factor in Design Pedagogy

Keelin Leahy, William Gaughran, Niall Seery
2009, Vol. 14, No. 2,


Design is a discipline which involves many domains, skills
and professions. Design practice in Technology education1
in the Irish second level (high school) context is not a
representation of the professional realm of design. Design
education in the Irish second level system is generally
structured on a linear design process and associated
assessment criteria. Both the linear process and
assessment criteria are stifling creative design outcomes.
In an attempt to improve design teaching and learning,
and thus students design ability, consideration of students
preferred mode of learning has been investigated.
Educators have attempted to improve instruction through
the influential adaptation of pedagogy intervention in the
context of learning and cognitive styles of students (Cook
2008). This paper addresses the need for a strategic
approach to design pedagogy to be established within the
Irish second level education system, with reference to
student’s preferential learning styles (PLS). The findings of
the study identify the test cohort’s preferential learning
styles. It also reveals significant differences in school types
and contrary to initial hypotheses some surprising findings.
The preferential learning styles will be one of the prime
considerations in meeting the requirement of best practice
design pedagogy, where there is a “compatibility of his or
her learning style and the instructor’s teaching style” (Felder
and Silverman, 1988, p.674).


Preferential Learning Style (PLS), Pedagogy, Strategy, Design

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