Thursday, July 22, 2021

Learning Styles Debunked

    Let me start off by saying that I absolutely think there is a propensity for people to learn better under certain styles. In fact, learning something from multiple perspectives can prove to be helpful in many situations. The scientific explanation is called multi sensory learning (MSL) which helps an individual learn from more than one sense; it is tried and true and proven by science. However, there is a big difference between MSL and teachers changing their instructional techniques to mold to the "learning styles" assumptions. 

Learning Styles” Are a Myth | Emerging Education Technologies

    Now, the key distinction lies within the assumption behind learning styles. For example, take someone saying "I am a visual learner." This is a common statement that is based on the belief in learning styles which assume that this particular individual would learn better by looking at photos. Teachers would attend learning style lectures to teach differently to different students and some instructors go as far as to adapt their classroom and instruction. This assumption has influenced teachers for decades now, even though evidence does not support that these styles even exist. Numerous studies have shown us that there is no correlation between childrens' learning styles and instructional methods. Moreover, these studies have further debunked learning styles as time progressed. For instance, in 1979 Arter and Jenkins reviewed 14 studies and concluded that the the assumption of matching instructional methods with childrens' learning strengths appeared "to lack even minimal empirical support." The research continued among many individuals and continued to develop, as in 1992 Snider found that it actually proves to be detrimental to low performing students. The continued scientific support indicates that learning styles are a myth, a mere misconception about learning and the brain. Therefore, from the early 1970s research has churned out nothing short of scientifically established facts that show no empirical evidence that learning styles are real. As part of being a critical thinker these facts cannot be ignored.

    The interesting part I find about all this personally is that for the longest time I can remember considering myself a "visual learner". However, after reading into the subject further and delving into a bit of my own personal research I have come to the conclusion that this is simply not the case. On the contrary, while I may have preferred visual learning, learning styles themselves are nothing more than a myth and there is no scientific evidence to support them. So, instead of limiting myself to a visual learner I now see myself as an all round learner, something I genuinely believe is within all of us. 

1 comment:

  1. I was shocked to learn that there is no correlation between children's' learning styles and instructional methods. i was raised with a firm belief in learning styles. I always called myself a visual learner. Maybe it is time to inspect this idea under a tight lens.