We have this tendency in higher education to throw babies out with bath water. It derives from dualistic thinking. Either something is right or wrong, it’s in or out, up or down. As mature thinkers, we disavow these dichotomous perspectives, but then find their simplicity hard to resist. They make complicated things easy.
Any number of us have had our doubts about learning styles. The instruments that detect, name, and classify these various approaches to learning just seemed too straightforward. How can there by only two or even four styles? And how can every learner fit neatly into one of those boxes? We also worried about how students responded to them. “I’m a visual learner,” one told me, “I don’t do textbooks.” A certain learning style then excuses one from other learning modalities?
My take: This is a detached and well-reasoned discussion on the polarizing issue of Learning Styles. What I like is that it goes beyond the purported lack of scientific rigour and speaks of the impact on learners themselves, e.g. “I’m a visual learner”. If nothing else, this article should be required reading on both sides of the ongoing debate.
I follow a number of vendors through my Facebook presence and this post from Atrixware caught my eye. The title certainly had some drawing power because L&D professionals are frequently (and often unwittingly) engaged in destructive behaviour. Not for themselves, of course, but in terms of learning outputs and impact. Let’s face it: we’ve all been there.
The major thread of the article is that the e-learning community is akin to the Lemming, following leaders or new ideas in droves. I suppose there’s some anecdotal truth to that assertion, in much the same way people become enchanted with the zeitgeist of the day in their work or social circles.
While the general guidance is OK at a basic level for L&D, I struggle somewhat with their points, so here are my thoughts. Read the rest of this entry