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The Complete And Utter Myth Of Taking Into Account Learning Styles In Design And Delivery of Training And Teaching

Learning Styles - VARK - Useless Ideas In Training And Teaching

Survey research suggests that some 80 to 90 percent of trainers and educations believe people have unique learning styles, and that instruction has to cater to those individual differences.

So, don't worry if you've bought in to this false belief.

Besides, it's such a common sense idea, isn't it? And that's one reason why people tend to believe it, and seek out information to confirm its importance.

Some Points About The Myth, The Research On Learning Styles And Education

There are probably TENS of thousands of research study on this topic, since it's been around for so long. In fact, this is probably one of the most researched topics in learning and teaching.

  • When you look at the research, you'll find that there are some studies that suggest there are positive results to be gained by matching instruction to the learning style preferences of learners. You will also find some studies that show it doesn't matter, but keep in mind that journals tend not to publish these studies - the no difference ones. You'll also find results that suggest that better learning occurs when you MISMATCH instruction to style, presumably because the learner has to work a little harder.
  • It's easy to forget that to the extent learning styles exist, we should be talking about learning style PREFERENCES, because that IS what they are. You might prefer carrots over broccoli but that doesn't mean you can't eat broccoli. You may prefer holding a book in your hands rather than reading it on a Kindle, but you can use either and equally well. That's how preferences work.
  • Even for studies that show some positive relationship between matching instruction to styles, and where there are statistically significant results, what you will find that although the results may not be the result of chance, the differences are so small that they are completely insignificant in real life. If learning is just a little better in one setting compared to the other, it doesn't mean there are any practical implications, or even useful advice to be had.

Here's Lot's More Research And Commentary On Matching Learning Styles And Instruction

Below you'll find a hand picked list of research, both direct and meta-analysis of numerous studies, plus expert commentary on the topic.

Top : Learning Styles - The Great Training Myth :

The importance of learning styles, and matching instruction to individual styles is accepted by most trainers, but in fact, it's a myth. Learning styles and catering to them makes almost no sense, and despite thousands of studies, the results are all over the place. For good reason. Matching instruction to style is an insignificant factor in learning success.


Research: Learning Styles: A Bridge to Nowhere? By Sigmund Tobias
Superb article by Fordham professor Sigmund Tobias that uses research findings to explain why learning styles is a dead end in terms of instructional design. Excerpt: Unless I, and the other reviewers of research in this area, have missed the publication of tons of replicated findings, there is no evidence of stable interactions between learning styles and instructional methods. Why then do otherwise knowledgeable educators and educational researchers persist in making unverified claims for learning styles? I can only conclude that they adhere to what Jeanne Chall (2000) in her last book called a romantic, as opposed to rational, view of education. Hits: 681 )

Top 10 Reasons to Write a Blog Post Debunking the Learning Styles Myth By Will Thalheimer
Thalheimer writes an entertaining AND enlightening piece on all the hype and myths around learning styles. Hits: 383 )

Will at Work Learning: Learning Styles Reviewed by Association for Psychological Science AND FOUND WANTING. By Will Thalheimer
Will Thalheimer is an outstanding training professional with the skills and knowledge to take on training and learning myths. In this article he looks at learning styles. Note: Will has offered a thousand dollar reward for anyone can prove that learning styles consideration can improve instruction. Hits: 630 )

Cognitive Scientists Debunk Learning-Style Theories By Debra Viadero
One of the interesting things about this article is the date: 2009. Some beliefs, such as those about learning styles and the value of looking at them die slowly. Learning styles are still accepted. It may take decades to reverse the false conclusions. Well, the earth was once thought to be flat. Hits: 378 )

Education: Learning styles debunked By Science Daily
Shorter take on the research which is characterized by a lack of scientific rigor. Learning styles is such a simple concept that its seductive, albeit wrong, and not reflective of how the brain actually works. Hits: 416 )

Learning Styles: What's Being Debunked By na
A response to those who claim (as do I) that learning styles have been completely debunked as a useless teacing and learning tool. In effect, a critique of the critiques. Decide for yourself. Hits: 366 )

The Myth of Learning Styles By Christopher Pappas
Great article with some good statistics and research plus infographics on why learning styles is relatively unimportant in training and instruction Hits: 722 )

Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say By Association of Psychological Sciences
The title says it all. More accurately, the massive body on learning styles and instruction is conflicted which usually means "there's nothing happening here, time to move on". Hits: 320 )

Research: Advice about the Use of Learning Styles: A Major Myth in Education By Myron H. Dembo
Download this 9 page research paper, with about 27 references that provides research based advice on the use and misuse of learning styles in instruction. Abstract: The authors' goal in this paper is to initiate a dialogue among educators who continue to make assertions about the usefulness of identifying students' learning styles with little or no research support. They discuss the status of learning style instruction and the unsubstantiated claims made by authors of learning style . Hits: 540 )

Do Learning Styles Matter? By Mary Bart
The answer? Not really. At least trying to match teaching style to learning style has been a big failure according to decades of research. This article suggests using active vs. reflective learning, and suggests some activities. new Hits: 221 )

Think You're An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely By Patti Neighmond
About a five minute clip/interview on auditory vs visual learners, and why the whole thing is mythical. From NPR, audio clip Hits: 674 )

The Myth of Learning Styles - Finding Common Ground By Peter DeWitt
For many years, educators, including me, were under the false notion that there were learning styles. It's harmful if we box students into one way of learning, because that creates a one-size-fits-all mentality. However, offering different ways of learning is really helpful to students because they need to take in information in a variety of ways. Hits: 729 )

9 Learning Style Myths Debunked (Mostly For Learners) By Gali Finkel
Something a little different. Nine myths about learning (and learning styles) looked at critically. What's different is that it's really useful for learners, who may hold false beliefs about what works and doesn't work for them as students. Hits: 278 )

Summary: Evidence-Based Training: Debunking the Myth of Learning Styles By Steve Nguyen
Very short summary of a section of a book by Ruth Clark that addresses the false impression that instructional design and delivery should cater to individual learning styles. Hits: 693 )

Why Is the Research on Learning Styles Still Being Dismissed by Some Learning Leaders and Practitioners? By Guy W. Wallace
Despite tons of research that disputes the power of learning styles in instruction, trainers still believe the wrong things about its usefulness. Here's an analysis. Hits: 630 )

Learning Styles FAQ - Why You Believe In It, Why Your Belief Is Wrong By Daniel Willingham
Frequently asked questions about learning styles, with a focus on the commonly held belief that instruction must take into account learning styles to be effective. Hits: 815 )

What's the Story on Learning Styles? By Maryellen Weimer
The major theme of this article, directed to teachers of adults, is that while they may not be perfect concepts, we shouldn't necessarily throw out the "baby with the bathwater". Personally, I think categorizing learners is limiting and harmful, but in the interest of balance. new Hits: 236 )

The Myth Of Learning Styles - Educators Really Believe This Sh!t By Katie Lepi
Interesting infographic and statistics that demonstrate how thoroughly teachers and trainers have bought into the most prevalent myth about teacher; matching education to learning styles. Hits: 699 )

Getting Over Student Learning Styles Theory By Larry D. Spence
Critiques learning styles and suggests it's far more useful to WATCH how learner behave to help them correct errors. new Hits: 198 )

Challenging the Notion of Learning Styles By Maryellen Weimer
One of the points in this article, is that not only is the idea of learning styles sloppy, but that categorizing students by learning style tends to reinforce the status quo and can actually limit students and their learning. new Hits: 195 )

Research: Learning Styles Evidence: A meta-analysis of VAK (pre-VARK) By Kevin R. Smith
This paper is a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis is basically an aggregation of many studies that is then analyzed to find any trends in the data. In their study, Kavale and Forness put together data from 39 studies in an attempt to find patterns and make conclusions. The authors focused on special education classes in this meta-analysis. Across this study, three patterns of conclusions begin to emerge: 1) Current (pre-1987) methods used to sort students into visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners do not adequately do so, 2) Many studies find no help for modality matched instruction, and 3) The studies that find benefits for modality matched instruction find very small benefits and are questionable from a research perspective. I will elaborate more on each of these points shortly. Hits: 475 )

The Myth of Learning Styles Debunked By na
In case you've missed the most recent research on the myth of learning styles with respect to instruction, here's an article for you. Great infograpahics too. Hits: 346 )

Student Learning Styles Debunked! By na
Article from a practicing teacher of children on her concerns about the lack of validity and usefulness of thinking about the seven learning styles that have been accepted wisdom for some 30 years. Hits: 296 )

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Pages Updated On: 22-Nov-2016 - 13:18:44

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