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No research support for learning styles.

The application of learning styles (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile learners) to curriculum and instructional planning does not have strong research support according to a recent article (Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. [2009]. Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119). Although many articles have been published about the topic, few studies used experimental designs that had the potential to provide decisive evidence. For example, almost none of the studies have randomly assigned students so researchers cannot attribute causation or achievement to a particular style; they cannot say that a particular style of learning requires a particular instructional adaptation. The authors suggest that a learning-styles approach is popular because people like to identify their "type" and view themselves as unique. They suggest that the optimal curriculum should match the content being taught and vary across disciplines. For example, when teaching writing, emphasis should be in the highly verbal area, whereas, when teaching geometry, the emphasis should be on visual-spatial materials. The authors conclude, "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" (p. 117).

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Publication:Gifted Child Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2010
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