Evoke Development Blog

Research study debunks the concept of learning styles

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In the controversial article, Think You're an Auditory or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely, Patti Neighmond discusses a recent study conducted by Psychologist Dan Willingham at the University of Virginia. According to Willingham, teachers should not tailor instruction to different kinds of learners. The article goes on to state that there is no scientific evidence supporting the fact that different people learn better based on visual, auditory, or kinesthetic methodologies.

However, if you listen to the article rather than read it (kind of funny if you think about the topic and then realize that the information is being presented in two ways), it goes on to say that research does show that “variety” in how information is presented boosts learning. 

So, even if this study doesn’t support the VAK model, it does encourage building stronger neurological connections by reinforcing information over time and presenting it in a variety of ways. So, what’s wrong with incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements into your learning? Absolutely nothing,  after all, variety is the spice of life!

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Is it best to adjust instruction in accordance with individual learning styles, or should students experience and be encouraged to participate in activites that require learning styles other than those they naturally prefer. If a childs preferred learning style is visual and filed independent , should all instruction be based on visual, independent activities, or should the student also be accountable for participation in group activities that incorporate other modes of learning.

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