Archive for May 24, 2011

There are no learning styles

This is an older (year old) NYTimes piece, but wow, what a cool one! Really interesting insights into study skills and misconceptions about how studying works. My favorite part, though, is addressing one of the most prevalent claims I hear: That there are “learning styles.” There aren’t. They don’t measurably exist.

For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.

“We have known these principles for some time, and it’s intriguing that schools don’t pick them up, or that people don’t learn them by trial and error,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Instead, we walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works that are mistaken.”

Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded.

via Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits – NYTimes.com.

May 24, 2011 at 7:52 am 7 comments


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