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Meta Analysis of Learning Styles Models from Turkey, including the 4MAT Model of Teaching.

A new meta-analysis of learning styles models from Turkey has some interesting findings about these types of educational interventions. Hare are key highlights from this research. To view the entire research study, you can use this link to view the full PDF File. This research article was published Online in October of 2016 in the journal Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

Overview of the meta-analysis

The total sample size included in this review was 2159. The treatment groups consisted of 1075 and the control groups consisted of 1084 students. Here was analysis of how the research studies were selected or inclusion in this meta-analysis.

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The table below shows the frequency distribution of the studies by course type, study type, learning style model, experimental design and investigated variable.

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According to Table 1, in terms of course type, 30% (f = 9) of the studies involved natural science (science, physics, chemistry, biology), 23.3% (f = 7) involved math, 20% (f = 6) involved social science (social studies, history, geography), 16.7% (f = 8) involved English, 6.7% (f = 2) involved informatics and 3.3% (f = 1) involved music. In terms of study type; 53.3% (f = 16) of the studies are thesis and 46.7% (f = 14) are articles.

In regards to the types of learning style models involved, here is the breakdown:

  • 43.3% (f = 13) of the studies employed the Perceptual Learning Styles Model,
  • 33.3% (f = 10) employed the 4MAT Model,
  • 6.7% (f = 2) employed the Kolb Learning Styles Model,
  • 10.1% (f = 3) employed the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles Model,
  • 3.3% (f = 1) employed the Felder & Solomon and Brain 2070 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE Dominance Model.

In terms of experimental design, 86.7% (f = 26) of the studies used quasi-experimental design and 13.3% (f = 4) used true-experimental design. In terms of investigated variable, 58.0% (f = 29) of the studies investigated the effect of learning style on achievement, 22.0% (f = 11) investigated the effect of learning style on attitude and 20.0% (f = 10) investigated the effect of learning style on retention.

Effect Sizes of Learning Styles Models 

Under the random effect model, the common effect sizes were as follows.

Studies employing the…

  • 4MAT System, 1.168 (0.860, 1.477);
  • Perceptual Learning Style Model, 0.870 (0.653, 1.023);
  • Dunn & Dunn Learning Style Model, 1.331 (1.047, 1.087);
  • Kolb Learning Styles Model, 1.067 (−0.876, 3.009).

These results reveal that there is not a meaningful difference between the effects sizes of the classification created according to course type: namely the effect sizes of the courses tailored to learning styles model on the academic achievement are independent of course type.

When the effect sizes of 11 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was calculated as (d) 1.113 with 0.227 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.557 and 0.669. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification. This d value is associated with a U3 value of 84.1%, which means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on attitude tests than 84.1% of students receiving no instruction.

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When the effect sizes of 10 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was computed as (d) 1.763 with 0.241 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.763 and 0.817. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification.

This d value is associated with a U3 value of 90.3%. This means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on retention tests than 90.3% of students receiving no instruction.

When the effect sizes of 10 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was computed as (d) 1.763 with 0.241 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.763 and 0.817. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification.

This d value is associated with a U3 value of 90.3%. This means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on retention tests than 90.3% of students receiving no instruction.     

In these meta-analytic review, it was found that when student received an instruction tailored to their learning style, their attitude (d = 1.113) toward courses improved and their learning was more permanent (d=1.290).

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Comparison of Effect Sizes to Hattie’s Barometer of Influence.

When comparing this to Hattie’s Barometer of Influence,  it is clear that this meta-analysis shows a very positive impact for learning style interventions and the 4MAT Model of Instruction in particular. The Chart above displays the impact of 4MAT on the Hattie Scale and places it near the top of the Desired Effects for an Educational Intervention. 

According to these results, it can be said that the learning environment designed based on learning styles has a large effect on students’ attitude toward course and learning retention.

Steps to Becoming a Master Teacher: Promote Student Creative Performance

Promote Student Creative Performance

Quadrant 4 is where people must adapt learning in their own unique ways.

The goal for teachers in Quadrant 4 is to help people produce creative adaptations or explorations of learning. This might involve evaluating the use of learning or producing or performing a creative interpretation or evaluation.

Key Question What If?

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 11.35.24 AMQuadrant 4 is where people create new understanding through personal evaluation and or extension of learning.  It is not enough to just understand the content, it must be put to use in the real world and adapted in a personally meaningful way.

This is just one of the things you will learn in 4MAT Training as you work to master this transformative approach to teaching and learning. 

Learn More About 4MAT Training

But if you want to truly master the 4MAT Learning Cycle, or become a 4MAT In-House Trainer or Consultant, while earning One Full Graduate Credit Hour…

Learn more about 4MAT Online Training This Fall  (begins Sept 24th)

4MAT Pure and Simple Book Excerpt

Teaching seldom begins with meaningful experiential connections. Instruction often begins with lists of what must be learned—couched in measurable objectives concerning materials that are frequently outside learner experience and interest. Recent research from the Gates Foundation finds that less than 3% of teachers demonstrate regard for student perspectives.

And so teachers hear the incessant, ubiquitous Why do I need to know this? question.

Some claim this is the way it must be. Students need patience. There are many things to learn. It takes too much time to explore the underlying meanings, to excite students about what must be learned. That’s just the way it is. Students are expected to ignore the need for meaningful experiences (in school at least) and just learn the material. They are told the reasons will become clear later. 

1. ConnectBut something very important happens when you begin with an experiential connection.

The learner is caught up in it. There’s a level of emotion, an impact and a newness often accompanied by an ineffable sense of recognition. The learner reflects and ponders, seeks out more knowledge, and has the desire to talk it through and discuss it with others.

Teachers must begin by enabling learners to confront new learning from the vantage of their own experiences. Engaging in this process means coming to balance with the otherness of the learning. It’s about the learner and the learning. It’s about being and knowing. This process is at the heart of 4MAT pedagogy and is the key to all successful teaching. 

The 4MAT Model is a process for moving people through a dynamic learning cycle:

  1. To connect learners to significant concepts through the lens of their own experience, and to bring them together to share their perceptions
  2. To introduce them to excellent knowledge and ideas,
  3. To teach them to critique and examine, by creating multiple practice activities that enable all learners to achieve mastery, and
  4. To encourage creativity, by moving them beyond content for its own sake to the adaptation of learning in their own lives.

4MAT requires teachers to convince learners of the value of the learning by drawing it forth from their own experiences, then leading them through the work of the experts to their own work, their own use of it.

It is as open-ended as the very student diversity it serves.

About Teaching Book Excerpt

And What of the Learner?

What happens to the learners in schools if most learning activity takes place at 6 o’clock, if learners primarily sit and listen to lectures?

How does the child who needs to linger in experience fare in such schools? type1

And what of the child who needs more reflecting time?

How does the child fare who needs to do it to learn it?

And what of the child who doesn’t take anyone’s word for it, but has to find out  personally?type2

How do all these children succeed? How are they judged?

These are legitimate learners. They are intelligent, they have a right to be who they are. They are just different.


In life outside of school, or in the world, these type3differences  are good.

They form the foundations of great and creative teams.type4

Schools must include them all.

About Learning Book Excerpt

Alfred North Whitehead also described a cycle; he called it three “periods” in education.

The first he called the freedom stage, the place where the student must choose to be interested, must move toward self-development through joy, a process of becoming, of noticing what happens, wondering, and then being filled with wonder.

The emphasis here is on freedom, freedom that allows the learner to see, to make independent choices.

The second period he called the discipline stage, a necessary period of development of best practice, examining the data, learning the facts, concentrating with purpose.

The third he called generalization, where something definite is known, where general rules and laws are apprehended, when the learner is ready to shed the details in favor of the active application of the principles.

Here real learning happens because knowledge has become invested with possibilities; learning has become active wisdom, “connecting a zest of life to knowledge.”

“ An education that does not begin by

evoking initiative and end by encouraging it

must be wrong.”

— Alfred North Whitehead


The 4MAT Learning Cycle


SOURCE: About Teaching Book,  from About Learning, Inc.

4matLearningCycle.jpgThe 4MAT Learning Cycle is a process for teaching to individual learning differences and maximizing brain-compatible learning. 

This blog post briefly describes each progressive phase of The 4MAT framework, how to create lessons that move through all four quadrants.

The 4MAT Cycle requires that teachers establish their conceptual goals, create classroom climates that are conducive to honoring diversity, set up essential questions that go to the heart of the concepts, and create a total learning cycle, complete with multiple kinds of assessments.

Here is a very brief overview of the 4MAT Learning Cycle. Please keep in mind that the cycle moves like a clock beginning at 12 o’clock and moving on to 3, 6, 9 and back to 12 o’clock.

Quadrant One: Answering the Why? Question

A lesson unit must begin with an experiential beginning. It must begin with your students and their own perspectives and ideals. You open the learning process in Quadrant One, bounded by the parameters of Direct Experience at 12 o’clock and Reflective Observation at 3 o’clock. You create a climate of trust and openness.

Quadrant Two: Answering the What? Question

In Quadrant Two you move learners from experiencing to conceptualizing through reflection, bounded by the parameters of Reflective Observation at 3 o’ clock and Abstract Conceptualization at 6 o’clock.

The question you focus on Quadrant Two is What?

  • What do my students need to know to master this content?
  • What are the essence pieces, the core concepts that will lead them to understand more with less?
  • What parts of this content do I need to emphasize so they will understand it at this core level?

Quadrant Three: Answering the How? Question

In this quadrant, bounded by the parameters of Abstract Conceptualization at 6 o’clock and Active Experimentation at 9 o’clock, learners move from expert knowledge into personal skills and usefulness, the beginning of the return back to themselves.

The question you focus on in Quadrant Three is How?

  • How will my students use this in their real lives, (not just their school lives)?
  • How will this content affect their power?

Knowledge is the most powerful problem-solving tool there is.

If I want to solve problems in mathematics I’ve got to have mathematical concepts.

But there’s a difference between teaching knowledge as a tool that facilitates problem solving and teaching it simply as a thing to be memorized.

Quadrant Four: Answering the If? Question

In this quadrant, bounded by the parameters of Active Experimentation and Direct Experience, learners complete the movement back to themselves.

They refine their use of what they have learned, integrating it into their lives.

The question the teacher focuses on in Quadrant Four is If?

  • If my students master this learning what will they be able to do they cannot do now?
  • What power will they have attained as persons?
  • If they learn this, what new questions will they have?

Want to Learn More?

To learn more, we invite you to download our new 4MAT 2018 Research Guide. Or call About Learning at (800) 822-4MAT to or learn how to become trained or to receive training in this innovative teaching method.

Copyright 2018, About Learning, Inc. Exclusive providers of the 4MAT Teaching and Learning Methodology throughout the world.

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