After searching through my Terminology Tuesday posts, I was shocked I had yet to discuss learning styles. Oi. I recently had a great discussion with my graduate students about their thoughts on learning styles, so it seems appropriate to share some of that discussion here with you lovely folks!
The idea behind the concept of learning styles is that everyone receives and processes information differently. This may be correct, but that assumption places a lot of pressure on the teacher to be able to correctly identify each student’s learning style and THEN accommodate that learning style. In classes of 20, 30, or 200…that just doesn’t seem like a feasible task.
It has not yet been proven that ”designing instruction to meet the specific learning styles of individuals increases academic achievement” (Ellis, 2005). However, awareness that learners comprehend information differently should remind anyone responsble for designing instruction to provide a number of activities that stimulate learners’ thinking in a variety of different ways.” (Brown & Green, 2016, p. 76).
The main argument against learning styles right now is that they don’t exist and are merely preferences. Every learner has individual learning preferences.
Within the Ted Talk video, below, the speaker discusses the emergence of learning styles and it seems almost conspiratorial in that we’ve been so brainwashed to believe in learning styles that the sheer suggestion they don’t exist can take some time to process and investigate further.
What do you think about learning styles?!
Brown, A. H., & Green, T. D. (2016). The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Ellis, A. K. (2005). Research on educational innovations (4th ed.). Poughkeepsie, NY: Eye on Education.