Stop propagating the learning styles myth

Paul A.Kirschner, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.12.006 Computers & Education

Abstract

We all differ from each other in a multitude of ways, and as such we also prefer many different things whether it is 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, auditively, kinesthetically or whatever another 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! Broadly speaking, there are a number of major problems with the notion of learning styles. First, there is quite a difference between the way that someone prefers to learn and that which actually 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. The assumption that people cluster into distinct groups, however, receives very little support from objective studies. Finally, nearly all studies that report evidence for learning styles fail to satisfy just about 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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