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The great misconception of learning styles

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Learning and development | 20 Nov 2015, 11:13 AM Agree 0
It is a difficult, if not impossible task to apply learning styles to training programs, according to one leading academic.
  • GByrne | 20 Nov 2015, 01:51 PM Agree 0
    I think the true beauty of learning styles is not to pigeon hole anyone as they are merely a snapshot in time. However they are great to be aware of and easy to apply when designing training sessions to ensure you use a variety of different activities and methods to get your point across.
  • Stephen Dinham | 20 Nov 2015, 03:55 PM Agree 0
    There is no evidence they exist and the categorisation they are based upon is potentially harmfull. I am amazed people continue to use learning styles and advocate for them despite the lack of evidence. By all means use a variety of methods suited to the learning needs of the group but let's not endure any more of this rubbish about the styles. If anything at all they are preferences and what we prefer is not always what's best for us.
    • Julian King | 23 Nov 2015, 02:38 PM Agree 0
      Hi Stephen

      There are plenty of supportive studies for learning styles. here's one:

      Kinshuk Æ Tzu-Chien Liu Æ Sabine Graf Coping with mismatched courses: students’ behaviour
      and performance in courses mismatched to their learning styles
      Education Tech Research Dev (2009) 57:739–752

      "This finding shows that learners with strong learning style preferences can especially benefit from adaptivity, either aiming at providing them with courses that match with their learning styles or providing them with suggestions on how to learn from mismatched courses."
  • Glenn Martin | 18 Feb 2016, 07:48 AM Agree 0
    My view is that it is helpful to look at "learning styles" in conjunction with the concept of the learning cycle. I think that people tend to differ in which part of the learning cycle they are most comfortable with. The issue is that to learn many types of things, you need to experience all four parts of the learning cycle. There are two implications from this. First, it's about how you appeal to people at the start. Do you tell a story, provide a framework, discuss the application of the concept (etc)? People are attracted differently. Second, how do you appeal to people along the way, to ensure that you get them to address all parts of the learning cycle and embed the concept? Some people may like the experiential story, but a mental framework may still be an essential part of the learning. Having said this, I think there is a lot of truth in what David Boud says.
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