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Re: Learning Styles Don't Exist

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A clarification of an important point on this learning styles video
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Text Comments (16)
Ronald Smallwood (5 years ago)
As an instructor teaching other instructors about the use of educational technology, I encourage my use VAK learning styles to think about how they use technology in the classroom. It is a guide to how you differentiate methods of instruction.
Dale Innis (5 years ago)
Bit of a necropost. :) Sure, there may be more similarities than differences, but still there are a nontrivial number of differences. Not ignoring them is better than ignoring them. I don't think every significant different in learning style can be accurately described as a difference in ability. I have two children, and I know that even in that tiny sample there are great differences in learning style that don't seem to be. Anecdote, I know, but a true one...
Rob Price (5 years ago)
So we should lie to teachers because they can't be trusted to differentiate otherwise? Ever heard of professional respect?
Patricia Darby (5 years ago)
Once upon a time, certain class or norms was not allowed to go to college. We have student enrolling into college-online that cannot operate a computer. In the 30's, 40's, and 50's era, this would not have been an option...I can truly say that learning style do not exist. What exists is "for profit/non profit."
Daniel Willingham (8 years ago)
@suifaijohnmak well. . .I don't know about the CCK08, so I guess i would need more details to understand
Sui Fai John Mak (8 years ago)
Thanks Daniel for sharing this. I could understand that Learning Style Theory may sound problematic when used in teaching, if learning is based on meaning, and so the focus should be how one could structure meaningful teaching to facilitate learning. How about learning? I have conducted research with CCK08, a massive open online course, and the results were that there were certain preferences amongst learners with preferences: with some Reflector, Pragmatist, Theorist, Activist - diff. style
Michael Henry (8 years ago)
Learning style theories serve to remind teachers to think about the subject from the student's point of view. One of the primary functions of learning style theories is to encourage teachers to explore a variety of learning modalities. It is a mistake to dismiss Learning Styles theory, and demand that student's learn based on my teaching style.
Dale Innis (8 years ago)
Ah, okay. :) I take back some of my comment on the original video. We agree that it's important to differentiate instruction based on relevant actual differences between learners; it's just that some particular theory that calls itself "learning styles" postulates differences between learners that don't actually exist. That's entirely possible. :) But while "Learning Styles (tm)" may not exist, I think it's pretty obviously true that learning styles do...
LearningEngineer.com (9 years ago)
Britain's NHS looked at learning styles for Dr. training and found there were about 100 theories. Many of these theories contradict each other and none are supported by evidence. In fact, most student don't try as hard if they think they are learning in their style. The field of education is filled with such fuzzy warm fads that need to be purged. However, we live in a world where people who don't read and don't know any facts think they are experts.
David P (9 years ago)
Thanks for the interesting, clear, concise talk. I wonder though whether an "auditory learner" might not learn the shape of the country even better if the clearly useful visual representation were supplemented by a verbal description. Secondly, how about more cognitive (supposed) learning styles like "general-to-specific" and "specific-to-general": couldn't these be more relevant than sensory styles to "meaning knowledge" of the kind that you say teachers want to get across?
sk8bow (9 years ago)
thank you for elaborating. i still believe it's better to focus on what's good about learning style theories compared to focusing on it's weak points. change your title please!
Nulty16 (9 years ago)
Arguing for the LS Its obvious that a person with poor visual LS will not learn material based in a visual modality such as the shape of a country as well as those with good visual LS. It is equally clear that this material cannot be learned aurally. Therefore some things will never be learned as well by people with poor visual LS compared to those with aptitude in this modality. Vice-versa. I dont think the theories are suggesting this. Perhaps you take the learning styles too broadly.
Kunya Zein (2 years ago)
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Nulty16 (9 years ago)
This for me is a complicated subject but you make a great point Dan. These are *theories* after all. I think that the most important point you make is that there is no *evidence* to support them, which is the factor by which we employ theories. Although they make sense on the surface there are big implications \ consequences to following them to the tee in a class room based on a best guess. Learning = Memory & Meaning Is it then that
Daniel Willingham (10 years ago)
this video is available for download on my website, so feel free to forward to anyone you would like. . .
joshig1983 (10 years ago)
What ways do you think are appropriate ways to differenciate instruction? You mentioned differentiating by a student's motivation, students personal interests but are there others?

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