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Helping bridge neuroscience and education: 30+ experts debunk the theory of fixed, rigid “learning styles”

No evi­dence to back idea of learn­ing styles (OpEd in The Guardian co-authored by 30+ neu­ro­sci­en­tists and psy­chol­o­gists):

There is wide­spread inter­est among teach­ers in the use of neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic research find­ings in edu­ca­tion­al prac­tice. How­ev­er, there are also mis­con­cep­tions and myths that are sup­pos­ed­ly based on sound neu­ro­science that are preva­lent in our schools. We wish to draw atten­tion to this prob­lem by focus­ing on an edu­ca­tion­al prac­tice sup­pos­ed­ly based on neu­ro­science that lacks suf­fi­cient evi­dence and so we believe should not be pro­mot­ed or sup­port­ed.

Gen­er­al­ly known as “learn­ing styles”, it is the belief that indi­vid­u­als can ben­e­fit from receiv­ing infor­ma­tion in their pre­ferred format…There are, how­ev­er, a num­ber of prob­lems with the learn­ing styles approach. First, there is no coher­ent frame­work of pre­ferred learn­ing styles…The sec­ond prob­lem is that cat­e­goris­ing indi­vid­u­als can lead to the assump­tion of fixed or rigid learn­ing style, which can impair moti­va­tion to apply one­self or adapt.

Final­ly, and most damn­ing, is that there have been sys­tem­at­ic stud­ies of the effec­tive­ness of learn­ing styles that have con­sis­tent­ly found either no evi­dence or very weak evi­dence to sup­port the hypoth­e­sis that match­ing or “mesh­ing” mate­r­i­al in the appro­pri­ate for­mat to an individual’s learn­ing style is selec­tive­ly more effec­tive for edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment.”

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  1. stu says:

    A great lit­tle arti­cle.

    I don’t think there is any such thing as a learn­ing style every­body learns a dif­fer­ent way and at a dif­fer­ent rate, there­fore there would be just as many ways of learn­ing as there are peo­ple to learn.

    I used to learn bet­ter if I made every­thing into a “mind Map,” then i start­ed cre­at­ing a mem­o­ry house…like the guys who count cards do. I was then told that I have a visu­al mem­o­ry which total­ly made sense to me as I would visu­alise every­thing first..thats just how my brain would work.

    I then had a brain injury and total­ly lost that abil­i­ty, I used to write stuff down and could recite it by visu­al­is­ing the piece of paper, I could even see it in my own hand­writ­ing. Now none of that works at all.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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