Learning Styles – A Complete Myth

Learning styles are a complete myth. Say what?? It’s true, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First of all, what are learning styles? Unless you’ve slept through every single
class you’ve ever attended, you’ll know it’s the idea that everyone has a preferred
way to take in information. If you’re taught or you study using your
preferred style, you’ll learn more effectively. This idea’s been around since the 1970’s
and it’s been continued on by well-meaning teachers and diligent students aiming for
effective learning. We all want to learn faster and more effectively,
that’s no surprise. Unfortunately, there is no credible evidence
that learning styles exist. In fact, the best evidence indicates the opposite. Every student will have different levels of
ability, interest and background knowledge, but not learning styles. Research shows that when people have a favorite
style of presentation, it’s usually a preference for a type of task or subject they have a
high ability for, and already feel successful at. If you’re good at music, you might think
you’re an auditory leaner, or if you’re artistic you might think you’re visual. You might prefer to learn in a particular
way, but there’s no evidence that it will help you learn more effectively. When researchers now look at students who
are using their preferred style, the results of those students aren’t any better than
students who are not using their preferred style. But here’s the really crazy thing. Up to 90% of teachers still believe learning
styles are real. Here’s a couple of interesting tests for
you to try. Ask your teacher if they support the idea
of learning styles. Search Google or YouTube for ‘learning styles’
and see how many of the top results still push this myth. And here’s a good one to check out. Go to the website for any college or university
and search for ‘learning styles’. You might be amazed how many research institutions
teach something that’s been debunked by research. So why hasn’t the message gotten out, why
is this myth still perpetuated? There’re a number of reasons, but I think
a big one is because academic and scientific researchers are typically not great at marketing. It’s like when a newspaper makes a false
claim or statement on their front page. Everybody hears about the original claim and
thinks it’s true. Unfortunately, when the newspaper retracts
that statement and apologizes for their error, it only appears on page 8. Nobody knows or cares. So if learning styles aren’t real, what’s
the solution? What’s the most effective way to learn and
study? Follow the card on your screen and check out
my video on the top six study strategies that are supported by academic research. But what happens if you still don’t believe
all the latest evidence? What if you’re determined to keep using
what you think is your strongest learning style? Well, you’ll just learn more slowly and
less effectively than other people, get lower grades than you’re capable of achieving
and waste a lot of time and effort. And you’ll probably look a bit silly too. Leave a comment below and tell me what school
or university you can find that’s still pushing the myth of learning styles.

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