Sunday, June 3, 2018

The "Learning Styles" myth should be swept into the dustbin of history

I have voiced some skepticism about "learning styles" before. It seems good for a quick refresher now that many of us are either prepping for summer courses or prepping for our fall courses. Scientific American has a good and readable article on the topic of learning styles. Although students can apparently identify their preferences for acquiring new information, those preferences do not appear to have much of any impact on how they perform. Fortunately there are some techniques that do appear to aid in enhancing test performance - such as spacing study sessions over more extended periods of time (as opposed to cramming), using multiple modalities (visual, auditory, etc.) while learning new material, and using what I think of as elaborative processing as opposed to rote memorization. These are techniques that were researched extensively by cognitive psychologists several decades ago, and they appear to be "tried and true" as best as I can tell. As I like to remind my readers (and myself), fads come and go. I find it best to ignore the fads.

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