Do Learning Styles Exist?

When I was 12, my school made me fill out a form purporting to be able to tell me my learning styles. Apparently, I was either an auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learner. My teacher said that how you learn and revise should be different, depending on the form’s conclusions. An auditory learner might create a revision song while a kinaesthetic learner might count on their fingers.

My sensible classmates ploughed through the test and got on with their lives, but I was feeling cantankerous. I didn’t want some stupid label. It seemed silly. I could see myself learning in all three ways. In protest, I spent most of the lesson creating an information sheet on a new style of learning which I called oditory learning. An oditory learner, I decided, learned by smelling things.

I know, I know. I was a bit of a smartypants.

As an instructional designer, I still run into the concept of learning styles. But here’s a secret which shouldn’t be a secret: 12 year old me was right. The evidence behind learning styles is shaky at best, and could be a barrier to the creation of great learning.

Click here to read more over at GLAD Solutions.

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