Every semester we go around with this. Every semester people argue with me about it. Every semester I run through the evidence and even with it staring them in the face, every semester teachers reject the idea that there is no credible evidence to support the idea of “Learning Styles” as currently applied in education. Here’s another study that agrees with me:
Our review of the literature disclosed ample evidence that children and adults will, if asked, express preferences about how they prefer information to be presented to them. There is also plentiful evidence arguing that people differ in the degree to which they have some fairly specific aptitudes for different kinds of thinking and for processing different types of information. However, we found virtually no evidence for the interaction pattern mentioned above, which was judged to be a precondition for validating the educational applications of learning styles. Although the literature on learning styles is enormous, very few studies have even used an experimental methodology capable of testing the validity of learning styles applied to education. Moreover, of those that did use an appropriate method, several found results that flatly contradict the popular meshing hypothesis.
I got this link from a NY Times article about how much we do in education is based–and I’m paraphrasing here–on superstition.
For the 682 class: What does this mean for your designs? If you’re restricted to using ONLY those techniques for which we have good, scientifically based support–as you’re required to do by NCLB, btw–what can you do in a classroom?
For the 801 class: Here’s a leadership challenge for you. You cannot support the use of learning styles as a valid, research-based practice. How do you deal with that?