Learning Hacks: Learning Styles

The Hack

While people may prefer to learn in certain ways, learning styles do not exist

Try to learn new things in many different ways to solidify your learning

The Story

text that says "learning styles" with a red circle around it and a slash through itVisual learners claim to be people who learn more effectively through pictures, charts, graphs, and videos. Auditory learners claim to be people who learn more effectively through lectures, audio books, and podcasts. Kinesthetic learners claim to be people who learn more effectively through moving around, working with their hands, or acting things out. The truth is, while people may have a preference for how they learn, learning things with their preferred method of learning does not help them learn more effectively than other methods of learning. This means that everyone is an audio-visual-kinesthetic learner because we can all learn new things from all of these different sources.

The Research

There is overwhelming research evidence showing that when instructors adjust their teaching to account for learners’ preferred learning styles, it does not impact learning. This means that there is no such thing as a visual learner. While some people might have a preference to learn visually, anyone* can learn visually, just like anyone* can learn auditorily or kinesthetically. In fact, if you learn about the same thing from many different sources explained in different ways, you will learn more than if you are only exposed to one single explanation or source.

*some learners may have disabilities that impede learning in certain modes (blindness impairs visual learning, deafness impairs auditory learning), in which case learners can focus on other modes of learning

The Source

Kirschner, P. A. (2017). Stop propagating the learning styles myth. Computers & Education, 106, 166-171.

You may also review the additional resources below to learn more about why learning styles are a myth.

Blog articles:

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