Ellis, Robert and Allan, Robert (2010) Raising aspiration and widening participation: diversity, science and learning styles in context. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 34 (1). pp. 23-33. ISSN 0309-877X

A recent report by Aimhigher has suggested that an understanding of learning styles can have a positive impact in terms of widening participation. However, in recent years there has been something of a backlash, in the UK at least, against the use of learning styles questionnaires and inventories in the classroom. This article explores this issue in the context of a group of non-traditional science students at a university in the north of England. The students who enrol lack the necessary qualifications, skills or experience to enrol as undergraduates and a science foundation year offers them a second chance, or a belated first chance, to access higher education (HE). The article considers reviews of widening participation and highlights some of the important issues about the use of learning styles in relation to new and diverse cohorts of students. In addition, it provides details of some of the activities and mechanisms that are provided so that students can make the most of their learning opportunities.

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