Linked – The science myths that will not die

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“Myth 4: Individuals learn best when taught in their preferred learning style

People attribute other mythical qualities to their unexceptionally large brains. One such myth is that individuals learn best when they are taught in the way they prefer to learn. A verbal learner, for example, supposedly learns best through oral instructions, whereas a visual learner absorbs information most effectively through graphics and other diagrams.

There are two truths at the core of this myth: many people have a preference for how they receive information, and evidence suggests that teachers achieve the best educational outcomes when they present information in multiple sensory modes. Couple that with people’s desire to learn and be considered unique, and conditions are ripe for myth-making.

Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right

“Learning styles has got it all going for it: a seed of fact, emotional biases and wishful thinking,” says Howard-Jones. Yet just like sugar, pornography and television, “what you prefer is not always good for you or right for you,” says Paul Kirschner, an educational psychologist at the Open University of the Netherlands.”

In over 4 years of full time training, and years and years of doing IT training as part of support, I’ve never seen much evidence for learning styles making much of a difference at all in adult learning. Some people want to learn, and others don’t. That’s a more likely explanation of the differences between what they learn.

The science myths that will not die

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