Learning styles are a myth…a bold statement but a quick internet search we will open up a mind-boggling amount of arguments for and against. In this article in faculty focus Larry D Spence raises a good point that
“Researchers haven’t agreed on whether they are attributes, preferences, habits, strategies, or biological traits. We don’t know if they are cognitive, neurological, psychological, or situational.”
If you watch one of the many videos online reading the subject, its easy to be taken in by the discussions that completely destroy a theory which the vast majority of educational establishments believe. Factually, I understand that a lot of the information we want our students to learn is just that, information, not a visual or auditory example. Information is processed as meaning not a picture, a feeling or a sound although, if you attempt to recall the sound of a bell for instance, you will likely ‘hear’ that noise in your mind but that is because it is a sound. This doesn’t make you an auditory learner…it just means you know what a bell sounds like.
For a few years I have used a learning styles questionnaire at the beginning of term with new classes; I find that it’s a great discussion point even if I don’t tailor my teaching style for the students. I do believe that we have a preference in the way that we learn, rather than a specific style. Personally, I like to see and touch when I am learning how to do a physical task but equally, I am happy to read or listen to a lecture if that is more befitting of the topic…what is my learning style? Do I have one?…the discussion continues…