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What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus

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.

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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?

via What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus.

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.

Dear CSTD…why you should stop talking about Learning Styles

While this response is directed to the good folks at CSTD, I leave it as a public artifact for those interested in the whole Learning Styles thing.

There was a time when I admit that I subscribed to the concept of Learning Styles. I also understand why there’s an instinctive sense-making and buy-in when people look at it. Whether you subscribe to Kolb (1984) or to the VAK theory, we generally accept that people tend to learn in different ways.

Yes.

But… Read the rest of this entry