Faculty Focus


Embedding Learning Styles and Neurodiversity to Educate the Workforce of Today and Tomorrow

Icons of people with different colored light bulbs made out of crumpled paper

To improve learning outcomes for all learners, the development of several learning style assessments and neurodiversity instructional methods over the past 25 years have supported the idea that students learn in diverse ways (Dimitrov & Deardorff, 2023). As such, one approach to teaching does not work for all students. Further, Hawk and Shah (2007) reviewed five learning style instruments (the Kolb Learning Style Indicator, the Gregorc Style Delineator, the Felder–Silverman Index of Learning Styles, the VARK Questionnaire, and the Dunn and Dunn Productivity Environmental Preference Survey) to determine learning style modalities or dimensions measured in each of the instruments. As a result, common measures and variances occurred with instrument validity and reliability. As the objective is to improve student performance, using only one assessment may not provide the full potential of a student’s aptitude. Further, Dada et al. (2023) suggested that classroom activities that rely on different student learning styles benefit workforce alignment. Finally, it was found that it is best to accommodate students within their learning style preferences and capabilities (Hawk & Shah, 2007).

Utilize a multitude of learning activities and methods to engage students

Instructors should utilize a multitude of learning activities and provide students with assistance as they become more proficient using learning styles within their comfort zone. This offers a valid explanation on why teaching with one style is counterintuitive. The use of one or more learning style instrument should be given to students so instructors can better develop learning activities. Learning style instruments help students and faculty consider the depth of learning and teaching opportunities (Kolb & Kolb, 2005). For instance, kinesthetic learning often takes place in classrooms and may contribute to the success of some neurodiverse learners, whereas they may have previously struggled in classrooms that heavily focused on either auditory, visual, and reading or writing (El-Amin, 2020). Moreover, neurodiversity in academia illustrates the paradoxical rhetoric in uniform instruction. From a cultural perspective, Jocson (2018) determined that ethnographic application supports racially and cultural and minority student learning. In fact, instructors must move beyond traditional teaching methods and implement innovative instructional practices to elevate the skills of all students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) (Eltanahy, 2023; Khana et al., 2023). Implications for practice, research, and policy toward the future of education highlight the importance of connecting academics to workforce development (Jocson, 2018).

Intentional education benefits workforce development

Scholarly inquiry is developed through a collaborative and informative process. Likewise, Lambeth et al. (2018) proposed that education should reflect the contemporary issues and needs of workforce development. Systematic research reveals that a challenge for education is to create a united and informed agenda that will transform policy, promote innovation in scholarly endeavors, and foster improved outcomes for the workforce of today and tomorrow (El-Amin, 2023). The interwoven relationship between workforce readiness, business and industrial development, and academia has existed since the beginning of public education in the United States (McNamara, 2009). However, during the last third of the 20th century, this relationship became a focus of the US Departments of Labor and Education, business and industrial councils, education administrators and public policy as America realized employees were not prepared to enter workplaces of the future (Lambeth et al., 2018). For more than 20 years, deficiencies in transferable workplace skills have been a focus of federal workforce initiatives; yet, enacting a plethora of laws, goals, and guidelines has not resolved the problems.

Syncing educational and workforce technologies

Furthermore, in the past two decades, learning activities have morphed from the traditional classroom to online or multimedia instruction. Employers are embracing AI technologies at an accelerating rate because training technology has improved enough to reduce training costs while measurably improving on-the-job training effectiveness. As businesses fine-tune technological methods for delivering training, technological advancements in secondary and postsecondary education must align to mitigate the workforce skill gap. Today’s workforce needs to know more than the “3 Rs” to be prepared for the realities of life and work in world of continuous change (Bhandari & Bhandari, 2023). Traditional classroom-based instruction must be augmented to technology to provide students with mastery of higher-order analytical and work-readiness competencies, so that the workforce skill gap is drastically reduced.

Dr. Abeni El-Amin, PhD, EdD, LSSMBB, has nearly two decades of experience and education in business administration, political science, and industrial and organizational psychology as an educator and practitioner. Further, as a global higher education professor, she has designed and developed curriculum and training programs in business administration, educational leadership, legal studies, political science, and health sciences. She has managed large corporate and government budgets; managed staff and developed sustainable programs. She is the author of, In Search of Servant Leadership.


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Eltanahy, M. (2023). Innovative pedagogy and practice for E-STEM Learning. In Enhancing Entrepreneurial Mindsets Through STEM Education (pp. 71-91). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Hawk, T. F., & Shah, A. J. (2007). Using learning style instruments to enhance student learning. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 5(1), 1-19.

Jocson, K. M. (2018). “I Want to Do More and Change Things”: Reframing CTE Toward Possibilities in Urban Education. Urban Education, 53(5), 640-667.

Khana, S., Aldmoor, A., & AlAmri, S. (2023). STEM Skills for Supporting Integration of Industry 4.0 Technologies with Education 4.0. Available at SSRN 4320176.

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 193-212.

Lambeth, J. M., Joerger, R. M., & Elliot, J. (2018). Merits of creating a revised CTE national research agenda for 2020. Journal of Research in Technical Careers, 2(1), 1.

McNamara, B. R. (2009). The skill gap: Will the future workplace become an abyss. Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers (J1), 84(5), 24-27.