Design Blended Learning

Stop propagating the learning styles myth

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Paul A.Kirschner, Computers & Education


We all differ in many ways, and as such, we also prefer many different things, whether music, food or learning. Because of this, many students, parents, teachers, administrators and even researchers feel that it is intuitively correct to say that since different people prefer to learn visually, additively, kinesthetically or whatever other way one can think of, we should also tailor teaching, learning situations and learning materials to those preferences. Is this a problem? The answer is a resounding: Yes! There are several significant problems with the notion of learning styles. First, there is quite a difference between how someone prefers to learn and what leads to effective and efficient learning. Second, a preference for how one studies is not a learning style. Most so-called learning styles are based on types; they classify people into distinct groups. However, the assumption that people cluster into distinct groups receives very little support from objective studies. Finally, nearly all studies that report evidence for learning styles fail to satisfy all of the key criteria for scientific validity. This article delivers an evidence-informed plea to teachers, administrators and researchers to stop propagating the learning styles myth.

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