Learning Styles - final nail in coffin?
You can't go for more than 30 mins at an educational conference without hearing the phrase 'learning styles'. It's one of those fixed narratives trotted out by every teacher and educational academic in the land, without the slightest concern about whether there's any evidence that they're useful or whether they even exist. I've posted Coffield's research in the past, which I thought would finally put paid to this madness, but no, almost every school in the land trots through this stuff in useless INSET days.
So thanks to Wil Thalheimer for this blog post. The Association of Psychological Science commissioned a review of the evidence for the benefits of using learning styles, and the report is clear.
"We conclude therefore, that at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general educational practice. Thus, limited education resources would better be devoted to adopting other educational practices that have a strong evidence base, of which there are an increasing number. However, given the lack of methodologically sound studies of learning styles, it would be an error to conclude that all possible versions of learning styles have been tested and found wanting; many have simply not been tested at all. (p. 105)
Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 105-119.
Surely, someone in charge of teacher training will finally kill this stuff off, before we stereotype learners into pigeon-holes which limit, rather than enhance, their educational aspirations.