But the Theory Still Being Taught to Teachers (as fact)

Learning styles were a big thing at my grad. school.  It seemed like every class required an adherence to the theory that each student had an individual style of learning, and that if teachers could match their style of teaching to the student, then kids would learn more.

Guess what?  Nobody really bothered to test out the theory.

Change : The Magazine of Learning has an article from Oct. 2010 which follows up on studies which show no support for learning styles theory.  I’m very sure there will be some debate about this in schools of education, but I happen to know a colleague in an online master’s degree program.

His class on differentiated instruction presents Learning Styles as a fact, not as a theory or subject of controversy.  In other words, young teachers are still being taught that if you teach to a student’s learning style (tactile, auditory, kinesthetic for example) they that student will learn more, or more quickly.

Unfortunately, it’s just pseudoscience.  The Skeptic’s Society points to a terrific book on myths in an article written in the eSkeptic.


“This turns out to be an urban legend not supported by any acceptable evidence. It could backfire because students need to correct and compensate for their shortcomings, not avoid them. The authors cite a satirical story from The Onion about nasal learners demanding an odor-based curriculum. “

My problem with the theory has always been the obvious limits of tactile or kinesthetic learning styles.  If my student learns best feeling or acting out something, good luck adapting Calculus or the study of slavery to this student.

This entry was posted in Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Myth of Learning Styles

  1. Pingback: So Many Things We Think We Know Are Wrong – Forensics | Dave Alexander & Company — Ukuleledave and David Edgren

  2. Pingback: No, You Don’t Have a “Learning Style” | Dave Alexander & Company with David Edgren and Gus Bailey – The Artisan Craft Blog

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