The idea that educators should cater to students’ “learning styles” persists despite scant hard evidence that the concept of learning styles holds. A recent article in Inside Higher Ed entitled ‘Neuromyth’ or Helpful Model? revisits the topic.
The authors of Urban Myths about Learning and Education make the point that there may be a difference between what students profess their preferred learning style to be and which teaching/learning strategies actually lead to better learning. The authors draw an analogy with food: what someone chooses to eat might not necessarily be good for them to eat.
Maybe variety is a better choice – expose students to a variety of ways of learning so that they can develop their skills beyond their preferences. Analogy with food? Some kids don’t like to eat vegetables. Exposing them to a variety of types could be good for them … and they might even end up liking some of them!
What’s your opinion on learning styles? Are they fantasy or fact?
Urban Myths about Learning and Education is available online through the McGill Library.