Nikhil's Proposal on Recognizing Different Student Learning Styles in Education


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal: 

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will make a difference in the lives of not only students with learning disabilities but all students in general who desire to be able to listen and view classroom experiences for a second or third time. Many students at University of Michigan that I spoke to told me about how their STATS 250 class had recordings available online on Canvas for viewing, unlike majority of the other classes at the institution. Mainly, they told me about how being able to watch the lecture in person, and then once again virtually, really helped them to reinforce their learning. By allowing students to record lectures and classes that they may initially have trouble processing information in (due to fast pace, lack of understanding, or complexity of material), it's beneficial to provide the opportunity for students to be able to "re-learn" material on their own time. This proposal will help Michigan youth (from Kindergarten to Grade 12) of all backgrounds to supplement their in-class learning with an additional opportunity to learn what they missed out on in the classroom. With the implementation of this proposal, the state of Michigan can expect standardized test scores (i.e. third grade reading on MSTEP) to go up.

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

I learned about the issues underlying this proposal through talking to consultants and professors in many different University of Michigan departments related to diversity, education, academic innovation, pedagogy, and law. I also talked to several students and asked them about how they would change the school classroom if they had the opportunity to. Some students told me that sometimes that they can't function in class and wished they could view the lecture once again at home. It was not that they could not understand the material, but rather that they could not focus. This made me realize that not all students will be attentive at all times in the classroom, and that they would benefit from being able to see, hear, and experience the lessons of the teacher again.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

My service experience was through Circle K. So far, through this organization, I have been exposed to service in the area of tutoring elementary school children at the local Ann Arbor District Library. From watching other students tutor elementary school children, and from tutoring these children myself, I've learned the importance of being able to provide personalized attention in education. This influenced my proposal's thinking because I started to imagine how I could tailor the interests of the school classroom to various student learning styles. It's impossible to design a program to address all student learning styles, but this proposal attempted to recognize more learning styles than are currently recognized.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My podcast: Addressing Student Learning Styles in Education


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).


CONSULTATION 2: Luke Kudryashov - Graduate Student Instructor, Introduction to Women's Studies

Summary: We talked about the intersectionality of disability, learning, and classroom design.

  • We discussed the concept of creating a universally accessible education with universal design in the classroom  (it originally originated from architecture concept)
  • Curriculum Design - being able to assess multiple ways of engagements by students
  • Material should be presented in different ways to encourage diversity in representation in participation through various actions of expression
  • Built environment - Social spaces are built by people with specific assumptions and that's where the problem lies; these assumptions don't favor all student backgrounds.
    • Built environment can be rebuilt since people built them
  • A reference was made to "A Tribute to My Dyslexic Body, As I Travel in the Form of a Ghost" by Dené Granger, which is from a reputable disability studies journal called "Disability Studies Quarterly" -
  • The fact that diversity in learning styles in the classroom is not being appropriately addressed is a systemic issue.
    • The medical model of disability can be seen as harmful or pathologizing because it defines disability or any trait as wrong or fixed; students might feel ostracized
    • With the social model of disability, questions like the following come up:
      • Why do we have so little time in the first place?
      • Why are there requirements that we don't really need?
  • Luke linked me to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion campus climate survey for the University of Michigan in 2016
  • Some concerns that were brought up were financial access for students to get disability diagnoses. Due to the legal requirement, paperwork becomes privatized, and this creates even greater stigma among students

Takeaways: There is an intersectionality between LGBTQ classifications, mental health, and learning disabilities which have a causal relationship on students' ability to succeed academically. Additionally, proper classroom design can create an effective social space for students to learn.

How this affected my proposal: My approach was shifted towards modifying social spaces and allowing certain objects in the classroom to cater towards various student learning styles.

CONSULTATION 3: Aviv Acker - Law School Student at University of Michigan

Summary: Aviv gave me lots of advice and feedback on my proposal from a legal perspective. Specifically, we talked about how allowing students to record lectures can conflict with state privacy regulations and laws. Not all professors and teachers are open to the idea of their material being publicly available with association to the commercial use of their identity. This targets teachers' rights to publicity

If there is multiple party consent, both students and professors would have to agree, be informed, and even sign, that they are okay with being recorded. Do teachers and students have to voluntarily consent or just be affirmatively aware?

Additionally, Aviv suggested that I look into the legislative history of the law that I am looking to modify, to understand why the Michigan legislature made this statute to begin with. By interpreting the purpose of the original statute, there is opportunity to find reason in suggesting clarifications or modifications to the law.

Other questions that were brought up:

  • Would this modification to the law give extra incentive for teachers to behave properly in the classroom and teach effective lesson plans?

  • Is this on an optional basis?

  • What counts as a disability?

How did this affect my proposal: My discussion with Aviv made me realize many legal counterarguments that can be made against my proposal. I started to think more about feasibility in a way that would balance legal and funding requirements.


  • Shri Thanedar - Democratic Candidate for Governor of Michigan 2018
    • Platform: Said he's all for cyber education
    • Called himself "Bernie Sanders with financial savvy"
    • Entreprenuerial Campaign
    • Claims that he doesn't need company endorsers
    • Reforming prison funding to invest more into Michigan education
  • Kyle McCoil - Rackham Graduate School Representative for MVision Party of Central Student Government
    • Provided insight on student development theory and relativism
    • Believes that more radical change in human development happens during higher education phase compared to prior to college
  • Holly Derry - Associate Director of Behaviorial Science, University of Michigan Office of Academic Innovation
    • Spoke about improving student habits to better utilize pedagogical platforms and digital tools in the classrooms
    • Changing behavior of students as opposed to changing behavior of teachers or modifying physical classroom structures
  • Vincent M. Battista - M.Sc. Doctoral Student, Biological Anthropology, University of Michigan
    • Vincent is my graduate student instructor for my Introduction to Anthropology class. We recently worked on an ethnography project in class.
      • We discussed how student ethnicity can be a form of a students' learning disability or diverse learning style because of intersectional factors such as language, mental health, and classroom preparedness which all play a role into students' abilities to learn


  • Center for Research on Learning & Teaching, University of Michigan
  • Center for Adaptive Technologies - James Edward Knox Adaptive Technology Computing Site
  • Shapiro Design Lab
  • Stephanie Gray Chang - District 6 - Michigan State Representative


Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)


The state of Michigan as a whole is limited in its ability to cater its educational programs towards students of diverse learning styles in K-12 educational models as well as post-secondary institutions. It’s a problem that there exists a lack of recognition for students in Michigan who learn and portray their skills differently. The educational system that Michigan currently operates on stems from a historical model from the 1800s that utilizes instructor-based learning. Educational settings in Michigan, at both schools and colleges, usually entail the following: a classroom, a teacher, a projector to display information through a powerpoint presentation, and desks for students to sit in, listen, and discuss material. Meanwhile, assessments in Michigan are generally measured through criteria such as levels of class attendance, participation, exam achievement, and contribution to group projects. Although this approach is commonly employed within Michigan schools and institutions, it’s detrimental because it forces all students to conform to a specific learning style and assessment that may not cater to their personal strengths. Besides students with visible and invisible learning disabilities, there are others who would prefer to demonstrate their learning of classroom concepts more effectively and accurately through methods other than those that are assigned. The traditional educational model in Michigan favors only students who are naturally talented in performing in areas of assessment deemed by the institutions to be measures of career success or employment readiness.

As per The Detroit News, state leaders in Michigan have invested approximately $80 million in the last few years in an effort to raise performance on the reading section of the state’s standardized M-STEP exam. However, the article cites that “Michigan’s third-graders show the greatest decline in third-grade reading compared to peers in other states.” This statistic makes me question the effectiveness of funding the current educational programs in place to raise third-grade reading levels. Clearly, the funding did not influence a significant positive growth in the state-wide third grade reading level status on a comparative scale with other states. Perhaps, this might be due to the state’s inability to provide unique learning mechanisms tailored to students’ strengths. Maybe the $80 million of funding that went towards M-STEP reading training courses were taught in a traditional classroom format.

At the higher education level, Michigan also fails to diversify its education approach because of how inflexible the current educational system is. Most learning approaches are constrained by factors such as time, pace, physical setting, and method of learning. According to Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, “People have different learning styles and abilities, and we should allow people to follow the path that is best suited for them.”

Establishing a Michigan law that would regulate or balance different teaching platforms and learning mechanisms would greatly improve students’ scores on assessments like M-STEP, while ensuring that students of different backgrounds have a voice in the style of education that they prefer. This can be achieved by allowing students to speak up on whether they would like to be assessed through a traditional classroom environment or through unconventional methods like blended-learning settings, technology-based flipped classrooms, or massive open online courses (MOOCS). Another way to achieve this goal is to provide additional mediums of professional development for teachers to adapt their instructional methods towards different learning styles. Ultimately, funding towards education in Michigan should be diversified across various learning approaches, in order to achieve greater equality for students who learn in ways that are different.

Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

Before I share the solutions that I would like to suggest, I’d like to announce that I’ve shifted and narrowed my focus to K-12 education (specifically secondary school). I originally started my proposal on a track to address post-secondary education, but after some consideration of funding feasibility, legality, and scalability within the state of Michigan, I’ve decided that K-12 schooling will be easier to target as an audience for a bill proposal.

SOLUTION 1:  Teacher Professional Development - Recognizing Different Learning Styles

To provide context, in February of 2018, the Mental Health Task Force of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced a bill (House Bill 5524) that would require all public schools in Michigan to implement a 150 hour mental health first-aid course for teachers. The purpose of this is so that teachers can better identify students in their classrooms who are experiencing mental health issues. Recently, the bill was cleared with a 107-2 vote by the House.

Based on the success of the pending bill mentioned above, I’d like to suggest a similar bill which would require all teachers from Michigan public high schools to go through another 150 hour professional development course to understand student development theories and appropriately create lesson plans to accommodate students of different learning styles. The aim would be that upon completion of this mandatory course, teachers would actively observe student strengths and weaknesses in the classroom, distinguish student learning styles, and gear future teaching methods towards student preferences. “Students who learn differently are believed to comprise at least 20 percent of the population, and often face significant obstacles if they dream of a future that includes college” according to Caledonian Record. With a bill like this, a greater diversity of student learning styles will be recognized, valued, accepted, and treated by teachers in a more fair manner. I would estimate that this solution would be possible at a similar cost as that of House Bill 5524.

SOLUTION 2: Investing in Personalized Learning Technology Equipment

Recently, in November 2017, the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, approved the legislation of Senate Bill 133, which called for an investment of about $3 million in additional career education technology equipment advances.,4668,7-277-57577_57657-451381--,00.html

In an effort to solve a variety of student learning challenges in the traditional high school classroom environment, I’d like to propose an amendment to Senate Bill 133. While the end goal of the original bill is to strengthen Michigan students’ preparation for a variety of challenging careers in the workforce, I feel that empowering students with confidence in their ability to learn is a precursor. To that end, I’d suggest amending Bill 133 by splitting its $3 million worth of funding (tentatively at $1.5 million each) between career education technology equipment and personalized learning technology equipment for students in Michigan public high schools (i.e. students with learning deficiencies, but can be used by anyone). This is a solution that will cater well to the interests of students lacking in their ability to learn in traditional high school classrooms and it will not burden the state of Michigan with an increase in funding. Rather, it would allow the state to better allocate the funding that already exists from the establishment of Senate Bill 133 in November. Michigan can learn from how other states like New York are implementing learning and education technology equipment into their classrooms in order to decide how it would like to invest into worthwhile equipment.

SOLUTION 3 (ORIGINAL): Promoting Virtual and All-the-Time Learning through Mandatory Recording & Streaming in Michigan Public High Schools

This solution would be to legally mandate that all public Michigan high school teachers record their lectures in a way that can be instantly streamed to class members and automatically saved for viewing later. The purpose of this approach is to serve the needs of both students who would like to absorb information in a physical classroom setting, as well as students who prefer to listen and follow along virtually from anywhere. This platform not only helps students who may have auditory or visual retention challenges, but also students looking to reinforce material already learned. With this solution, the concept of learning “in class” would be innovated from traditional lecture halls to virtual and inverted classroom methods. Since Michigan is a state requiring consent of multiple parties, the recording of lectures without permission is currently prohibited. This solution would have to overcome regulations from Section 750.539 D of Act 328 and wiretapping laws in Michigan in order to be effective as an equally accessible infrastructure to improve the education platform for students with various learning preferences.

SOLUTION 3 (REVISED): Promoting Virtual and All-the-Time Learning through Voluntary Recording in Michigan Public High Schools

This solution would be to legally mandate that all public Michigan high schools allow their students to voluntarily record (audio and/or video) in classrooms and lecture halls for the purpose of being able to view or listen to what was taught in class at a later time. This would serve the needs of both students who would like to absorb information in a physical classroom setting, as well as those who would prefer to process the material on their own time. This would especially help in situations when students did not understand the material while in class due to material being too complex to process while first being exposed to it. This platform not only helps students who may have auditory or visual retention challenges, but also students looking to reinforce material already learned. This solution would amend Chapter LXXXII of Act 328 by adding to the list of exceptions in 750.539g with the following statement:

"School classrooms and lecture halls are NOT private places"

This would clarify that it's acceptable to record lectures in school classrooms, as per the definition of what it means to be a "private place" in 750.539a as well as 750.539d. This amendment would be effective as a means to provide an equally accessible infrastructure as an education platform for students with various learning preferences.

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

Ben Heller, my topic coordinator, questioned me if my three solutions were overlapping. He suggested me to come up with unique solutions that I'd practically be comfortable moving forward with, and also advised to make sure that none of my solutions have already been in place, in accordance to previous bills. Ben's advice really helped me because at first, it felt as if if was hard to separate my three solutions. However, this advice helped me to think creatively and build off of existing law in Michigan to transform legislative history with effective amendments that would make a tangible impact on Michigan students in a manner that is not too costly to fund.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

I went into this research process knowing that I wanted to tackle an issue that related to education. This decision was biased by my own experiences as a student in various classroom settings, both at the K-12 and college level. I realize that every student learns differently, and some people prefer to learn through reading and visualizing, while others like processing information through hearing. This started off as a project to help students with learning disabilities, but turned into an approach to consider the abilities of all students and to create an environment where all students can benefit their learning. In other words, I wanted to introduce a concept of an education that is accessible to students, regardless of weaknesses they may have in learning. I read a lot about students with learning disabilities and auditory challenges and found that there exists many students with invisible learning disabilities as well. For someone who has trouble listening in class, I wondered, well how can they effectively learn in a lecture then? To make learning more accessible to students who get a second or third chance to listen to what's said in class, video and audio recordings with verbal and non-verbal cues seemed like a solution that would address this challenge.

The main challenge in the proposal I developed was the legal component. It was hard to find a balance between providing all students with an accessible education, while considering every stakeholder's privacy. In this case, a teacher's privacy may be of concern to some who would review my proposal. I also came to a "dead end" in thinking about multy-party consent rules. I was confused for a while if "consent" was valid through the form of physical presence, verbal acknowledgement, or formal signature. Legal concerns having to do with ownership and copyright law also impacted my thought process in being able to proceed with my proposal.

Finally, it seemed easier to tackle this issue at a state level for K-12 education, as opposed to the college level. I changed my thinking several times from K-12 and college education, to simply K-12 classrooms. My final reasoning was that it's difficult to get approval from universities on large institutional changes.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

  • I worked individually throughout the process and towards the completion of my proposal. Most of my research was done by myself, with some ideas suggested by talking to the professors who gave me insight on how to go about producing effective research.
  • I also drafted language of the various components of this project, including the composition of the podcast for the media artifact, the creation of my prospectus, and the development of my three solutions.
  • Ben Heller, my topic coordinator, offered me resources to better understand how to look at complex bills in Michigan that are already in place and to transform existing legislation by merging the main ideas from my research with various consultants.
  • All of my consultations took place on campus or slightly off campus from the University of Michigan. 

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Students with auditory and visual learning challenges are unable to effectively process information in a traditional Michigan school classroom 

WHEREAS.... Legislative history for The Michigan Penal Code' Act 328 of 1931 (Chapter LXXXII) is silent on whether school classrooms and lecture halls are included as examples of a "private place".

WHEREAS....The teaching effectiveness and behavior of tenured faculty in Michigan institutions is not currently validated by audio and video footage.

WHEREAS....Classroom security and integrity, for the sake of Michigan students and teachers, is not actively monitored by any means or cues.

WHEREAS....  $80 million has been invested by Michigan to improve student performance on the reading section of the standardized M-STEP exam; yet, third graders in Michigan have shown the largest decline in reading performance compared to third-graders in other states. 

WHEREAS...Michigan classrooms and lecture halls function as built environments designed alongside assumptions to favor students without learning disabilities, emphasizing the medical model of disability and creating opportunity for students to feel ostracized.

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1.  By suggesting an additional exception to section 750.539g of The Michigan Penal Code' Act 328 of 1931 (Chapter LXXXII) to clarify that "School classrooms and lecture halls are NOT private places," the legislative history of the law will now allow students to record and capture verbal and audio cues from Michigan school classrooms and lecture halls for later viewing and listening.

2. The teaching effectiveness and behavior of tenured faculty in Michigan institutions can be validated on a voluntary basis by students who desire to record classroom discussions (audio and/or video) for purposes of their own improved ability to learn and process information.

3. Students' voluntary recordings of social learning spaces within the classroom or lecture hall can serve as effective measures of not only students' engagement and teachers' verbal and non-verbal cues, but also proof of student attendance, student participation, classroom fraud, and classroom emergencies caused internally within and external to the classroom.

4.  The state will not have to fund any recording equipment, but may have to fund limited legal contracts which will be negligible in cost. Student scores on standardized exams like MSTEP (i.e. Michigan third-graders' reading scores) can improve significantly merely with these recording options to help student processing; this can be done without any significant financial investment by state of Michigan.

5. Michigan classrooms and lecture halls will be designed with less assumptions about student backgrounds, considering the social model of disability over the medical model of disability with given recording accommodations for ALL students, as opposed to requested accommodations to only students with diagnosed disabilities. Students, as a whole, will feel less pathologized by built environments that traditionally favor students without learning challenges.


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. Teachers can oppose this proposal due to their concerns of privacy. Some teachers may feel that this proposal attempts to expose controversial statements or gestures that they make in class. Teachers could feel insecure about their material being publicly shared and interpreted in ways that they do not mean to intend to an audience beyond the students in their class. This regards their rights to publicity. There is a lack of clarity as to how the consent of multiple parties will be appropriately measured.

2. The accessibility of video and audio recordings can influence a lack of attendance. By allowing students to record, there is concern that some students will attend class less as a result of being able to learn the material from classmates' recordings. In this scenario, if learning is primarily taking place through video recordings, is there a need in the classroom for the physical presence of teachers? Teachers could then teach virtually by recording their own lesson plans, and sharing them with the class. This would eliminate the need for teachers to teach in a physical setting. This is a concern because this would reduce the value of an interactive education where teachers express verbal and non-verbal cues and students vocally engage.

3. This argument stems off of the previous argument. If one student's recording is distributed to other students in the class, there are now issues that arise that have to do with valid ownership and copyright of material. If students were able to download their sound file of recording teachers' lesson plans, is the file the rights of the teacher or the student?

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

  • Michigan would not have to use state funding for digital equipment that students would voluntarily use to record classes and lectures. The proposed solution would serve as a modification of an existing Michigan law. Since it is a minor addition to the wording of the law, it may attain a negligible cost for the actual processing and passing of the amendment.  Thus, there would be no direct expenses, other than limited costs to introduce the amendment. Tenured teachers may object to dedicating any resources to my proposal, as they may feel threatened by the goals of the proposal.

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

This is a reputable academic source that reflects the problem statement and counterarguments against recording classroom activity:

Perspectives of university institutions in the midwest with similar problems and solutions (provides support to the idea that these are issues that are relevant not only to Michigan, but other states too, even at the college level):

University of Notre Dame -

University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign -

Indiana University - University of Illinois

Noted App (may serve as an example of a tool that a student might use in the classroom) -


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Total votes: 30