Saturday, March 20, 2010

You are NOT a visual learner.

For years I have heard people talk about the various types of learning styles that exist and how to advance the most with the particular style you possess. My mother, who is teacher, has attended numerous workshops and assemblies telling her how to cater to the different learning styles of each student. Visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners are often told they can advance and improve their quality of learning by becoming aware of their strengths and weaknesses. This common myth has sparked various industries of tests, quizzes, and guidebooks to help people discover their learning styles and to "capitalize on their strengths."

A recent study conducted by Pashler et al. (2009) investigated the possible existence of learning styles through empirical testing. Even with a booming business of tests to identify particular learning styles, there is virtually no experimentally based research to test the validity of learning styles. Pashler conducted one of the first thorough investigations in this area and discovered that “at the present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general education practice.” It may be possible that learning styles exist to a degree, that is people prefer the presentation of information in a particular manner. However, according to the Pashler's study catering to each individuals' particular learning style is not beneficial in an educational setting.

Why have we gone on believing in learning styles, if there is virtually no evidence to back it up? Richard Landers claims one possible reason could be that "there is some basic human satisfaction at placing people into categories." In the end, more empirical research needs to be done in the area to back up Pashler's study.

1 comment:

  1. I bought into this for years. I've thought for the longest time that I was a visual learner. I mean, I do prefer things visually, but I understand that that doesn't mean it should be the only way I learn new information either.