More research that points us in the right direction: the fallacy of Learning Styles

go Since the early twentieth century there has been considerable focus in the fields of education and psychology on the nature of intelligence and on the existence of what may be called different ‘cognitive styles’. The underlying assumption has been that there are factors in a student’s make-up other than his or her intelligence (however that may be defined) that may impact on his or her ability to learn.

aciclovir tablets buy online australia One widespread concept has been the notion that people have different buy accutane in uk learning styles. A particularly popular version of this idea is the VAK model, which states that children are likely to learn in one of three different ways, namely Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Thus each child in school is thought to be likely to learn best when the knowledge to be learned is presented in the form of images (Visual Learner), words (Auditory Learner), or though movement (Kinesthetic Learner).

In schools around the world, students take surveys to identify their particular leaning style, and teachers are exhorted to match their style of teaching to the style of the individual leaner.

viagra super active 100mg x 10 pill This situation is so widely accepted (if you search the Internet for information about learning styles you should set aside plenty of time to do it!) that it is important to examine the research evidence to support it.

There isn’t any.

I’d better repeat that. There is no research evidence to suggest that students learn most effectively in a particular style. There is no research evidence that suggests that teachers should match the way in which they teach to the assumed learning style of the individual student.

To clarify this, it is perfectly possible for a student to complete a questionnaire of the type common in many schools and come to the conclusion that he or she prefers to learn in a certain way (such as by studying images) but there is no research that proves that he or she actually learns more in this way.

This is good news and bad news for teachers and parents. First the bad news: around the world teachers are wasting their time trying (usually unsuccessfully, it has to be said) to adapt their teaching to each child’s so-called learning style. The good news is that they should feel empowered to forget this nonsense and focus instead on those teaching strategies which research evidence tells us will actually work for nearly all students.

Parents of children in schools that advocate the learning style theory should feel empowered to challenge the leaders in those schools to state the research evidence that supports it. I predict that any school challenged in this way will soon quietly drop the idea and get back to promoting methodologies that have a proven and positive impact on their students’ learning. More on those methodologies next time!

Thank you.

 

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