Saturday, February 23, 2019

Learning style Essay

There is no credible picture that schooling styles exist. While we exit elaborate on this assertion, it is terrific to subvert the genuine harm that whitethorn be d star by equivocating on the matter. In what follows, we testament begin by defining schooling styles then we impart address the title of respects made by those who believe that they exist, in the process acknowledging what we aver the valid claims of starting-styles theorists. nevertheless in separating the wheat from the pseudoscientific chaff in teaching-styles system, we pull up stakes make clear that the wheat is contained in new(prenominal)(a) educational approaches as well.A article of faith in information styles is non demand to incorporating useful knowledge just nearly go steadying into unmatchables command. We lead then discuss the reasons why learning styles beliefs argon so prevalent. Fin on the wholey, we will offer suggestions about collegiate pedagogy, given that we slang no separate learning styles do non exist. What is a Learning Style? The claim at the center of learning-styles theory is this Different schoolchilds bring on varied trends of learning, and their learning could be improved by matching cardinals indoctrinateing with that preferred learning mode.The way theorists suffer defined modes of learning has changed oer the more than(prenominal) than 50 years that this concept has been in vogue. Proposed modes allow include dichotomies such(prenominal) as linear vs. holistic, impulsive vs. reflective, reasoning vs. insight, and visual vs. verbal. The closely popular current conception of learning styles equates style with the preferred hooey understanding by means of which one receives information, whether it be visual, auditive, or kinesthetic (for round reason, no one claims that thither are tactile or olfactive apprentices).We use this sensory definition of learning styles in the examples below, scarcely our conclusions take to equ each(prenominal)y to other definitions. As you will see, the claim that the mode of demonstration should match the preferred mode of learning subsumes several(prenominal) other claims, and it is worth(predicate) unpacking the learning-styles concept in order to consider its constituent subclaims separately. Which Claims of Learning-Styles Theorists are even up? We believe that about general assertions of learning-styles proponents have nearly universal consensus, establish on a wealth of differentiate.We begin by acknowledging the truth of these claims in order to protestentiate them from other ones without fight. The commencement ceremony claim is this Learners are different from each other, these differences affect their functioning, and teachers should take these differences into account. This is dead on target and recognized by educators and cognitive scientists alike. While many of those scientists seek to discover general principles of learning, we all bed that there are differences among students. Understanding these differences and applying that understanding in the campaign of instructionroom usher out improve everyones education.We can find further agreement on some of the differences that matter for learning. First, whether we call it talent, ability, or intelligence, passel convert in their capacity to learn different areas of case. One of the authors (Riener) has fraternal twin sons, and contempt having most of the same implements, one has learned to read earlier and the other is a better basketball player. This is clearly due to genetic differences in talent quite a than a bizarre experiment in which the parents persistent that one would be a basketball player and the other a professor.With educators under 6 feet tall for both parents and grandparents, they are both probably doomed to proceed to graduate school rather than to the NBA. Second, and ofttimes intertwined with ability, students differ in their inter ests. If a student loves the piano, or basketball, or chess, or the biological science of frogs, that student will no doubt learn material cogitate to that subject faster than a nonher one who does non share that fascination. We all agree that interest and heed are presumptions of learning and vary from student to student, depending on the subject.Third, students differ in their background knowledge, and that difference influences their learning. This is obviously true in the sense that a large vocabulary allows one to read a wider variety of books. And it is further true in fields such as history One cant hope to learn much about the causes and consequences of the American Civil War without knowing facts about the growth and separation of the colonies, the history of economic differences between the North and the South, policy-making facts about our three branches of government, etc.But background knowledge is similarly quite important in things we think of as skills. For ex ample, learning basic math facts is critical to the acquisition of later math skills. Finally, some students have special learning disabilities, and these affect their learning in peculiar(prenominal)ized ways. For example, there is sizable research on dyslexia and the strategies for addressing it. These strategies of course differ from those grant for those students on the autistic spectrum or those with hearing difficulties.In each of these cases, a specific difference in the student calls for individual diagnosis and attention. So in claiming that learning styles do not exist, we are not saying that all scholars are the same. Rather, we assert that a certain number of dimensions (ability, background knowledge, interest) vary from person to person and are known to affect learning. The emphasis on learning styles, we think, often comes at the cost of attention to these other important dimensions. What Do Learning-Styles Theorists Get Wrong?The next claim is that learners ha ve preferences about how to learn that are independent of both ability and content and have meaningful implications for their learning. These preferences are not better or faster, according to learning-styles proponents, but merely styles. In other words, just as our social selves have personalities, so do our memories. Students do have preferences about how they learn. Many students will report preferring to study visually and others through an auditory channel.However, when these tendencies are displace to the test under controlled conditions, they make no differencelearning is uniform whether students learn in the preferred mode or not. A deary mode of presentation (e. g. , visual, auditory, or kinesthetic) often reveals itself to be instead a preference for tasks for which one has high ability and at which one feels successful. But even if we did identify preferences that were independent of ability, finding ones that are independent of content is a much trickier proposition . If I were to tell you I want to teach you something.Would you rather learn it by seeing a slide line of battle, reading it as text, hearing it as a podcast, or enacting it in a series of movements, do you think you could answer without first asking what you were to learna dance, a piece of music, or an equation? While it may reckon like a silly example, the claim of the learning styles approach is that one could make such a choice and improve ones learning through that choice, independent of content. We all agree that some kids show more interest in math, some start their education more interested in poetry, and others are more interested in dodgeball.The test copy that the learning-styles theorist must find is that for some sort of contentwhether it be math, poetry, or dodgeballchanging the mode of presentation to match the learning styles helps people learn. That evidence has simply not been found. Finally, we arrive at the critical and specific claim of learning-styles propo nents Learning could be improved by matching the mode of reading to the preferred learning style of the student. Learning-styles believers do not make the claim that students sort neatly into sensory categories One need not be purely visual, auditory or kinesthetic.But according to the theory, an educator should be able to improve the performance of those who have a hearty preference for one of these sensory styles by matching instruction to their preference. adversity to find any experimental support for matching the mode of instruction to a preferred learning style would simply leave us where we were at the end of the section above Students have different interests, backgrounds, and abilities. And indeed, a recent review article in the journal Psychological cognition in the Public Interest by a group of distinguished entrepot researchers sought to find evidence for this claim in particular.If you are visual, you should learn better with a visual presentation of information th an with an auditory one. If you are auditory, you should learn better with auditory materials than with visual ones. Each of this twain of results is necessary to support this element of learning-styles theory. But experiments that tested this prediction with a variety of content material have not found support for it. While such evidence of learning styles would serve as a proofread that they exist, the lack of evidence does not prove definitively that they do not exist.However, in order to persuade us to devote the time and efficacy to adopt a certain kind of differentiated teaching, the burden of proof is on those who argue for the existence of that description of students cognitive strategies. In other words, a good rule of thumb is that we should only bring estimates from the research laboratory into our teaching if (1) we are sure that the laboratory phenomena exist under at least some conditions and (2) we understand how to usefully apply these laboratory phenomena to ins truction.The first of these two conditions is not met for learning styles, and the first is obviously a precondition for the second. Why Does the Belief in Learning Styles Persevere? What are the reasons for this figments perseverance? First, we think that a belief in learning styles persists because the more general claims (the ones we turn to above) are true. Learners do differ from one another. But many who believe in the myth do not consider the critical differences between styles and abilities. Teachers should take into account the differences in learners abilities.And adjusting a lesson not just to be appropriately pitched at the students direct of ability but to take into account their background knowledge and interests is for sure an important first step in fostering learning. Second, a belief in learning styles fits into an egalitarian view of education Everyone has value, according to the theory, and everyone has strengths. The corollary for some learning-styles theori sts is that if you think that the theory is wrong, you must think that all students are analogouswhich is obviously untrue.Again, we agree that students differ and all students have value, but we do not need learning-styles theory to convince us of that. Third, learning-styles theory has succeeded in becoming common knowledge. Its widespread acceptance serves as an unfortunately induce reason to believe it. This is accompanied by a well-known cognitive phenomenon called the confirmation bias. When evaluating our own beliefs, we tend to seek out information that confirms our beliefs and write out contrary information, even when we encounter it repeatedly.When we see someone who professes to be a visual learner excel at geography and an auditory learner excel at music, we do not seek out the information which would disprove our interpretation of these events (can the auditory learner learn geography through hearing it? Can the visual learner become better at music by seeing it? ) Why Should College Educators Care? We have addressed the direct costs of the learning-styles myth above, but there are considerable opportunity costs as well. The same research in cognitive science and education that has failed to find evidence for learning styles has offered many insights into how memory does work.mindset (2006) by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck is an excellent summary of the interesting ways that incentivesboth carrots and sticksas well as internal drives influence learning. And henry L. Roediger and his associates at Washington University in St. Louis have demonstrated the value of interrogatory for learning. stock-still the act of taking a test when one does not know the answers can support learning the correct answers faster and more effectively. Of course learning is an enormously complex activity, and this is not the place to blueprint all of the basic research on learning.We seek only to evince that attention to learning styles, for which evidence ha s not been found, may lead educators to snub research on learning for which there is solid scientific support. Even though the belief in learning styles has influenced pedagogy in the schools removed more than it has in higher education, we believe that there are several other reasons faculty might pay attention to the fact that researchers have failed to find evidence of learning styles, reasons that have important implications for the college yrroom.First, when we poll our undergraduate classes on the belief in a number of myths of popular psychology, the one that people have their own learning styles is typically endorsed by more than 90 percent of our students. This belief has the potential to shape and constrain the experience that students have in the college schoolroom. For example, if a student believes she is a visual learner and therefore disengages and daydreams when a lecturer turns off the PowerPoint and tells a story, this will proceed her from learning the concep t through a compelling narrative.And while these beliefs may not have as direct an impact on performance reviews as they do in K-12 settings, a belief in learning styles occasionally shows up in student evaluations of teaching I am a visual learner, so the visual examples were good, or I am an auditory learner, so more auditory content would have helped. Second, learning-styles theory is sometimes offered as a reason to include digital media in the classroom.While including multimedia may be a good idea in general (variety in modes of presentation can hold students attention and interest, for example), it is not necessary to tailor your media to different learning styles. We shouldnt compliment ourselves for showing a video to engage the visual learners or pass podcasts to the auditory learners. Rather, we should realize that the value of the video or audio will be determined by how it suits the content that we are asking students to learn and the backgroundknowledge, interests, and abilities that they bring to it. Instead of asking whether we engaged the right sense (or learning mode), we should be asking, what did students think about while they were in class? Finally, when one has the opportunity in a smaller class to watch information about students and more specifically to tailor a lesson to that particular group of students, it is a waste of time to assess learning styles rather than, for instance, background knowledge. The latter can obviously be extremely useful.We often use prerequisites to ensure common background knowledge of students in a given class, but assessment at the beginning of a class can be an excellent reminder of how little of the prerequisite course content is easily recalled. Assessment of student interest can in addition be a useful tool for deciding how to approach the material in a given class. Some indication can be gained by what majors are represented in the class, but more specific interests assessed through a brief questi onnaire or class preaching can also be useful in certain situations, such as small or homogeneous classes.So here is the lagger line Students differ in their abilities, interests, and background knowledge, but not in their learning styles. Students may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning. As college educators, we should apply this to the classroom by continuing to present information in the most appropriate manner for our content and for the level of prior knowledge, ability, and interests of that particular set of students. Resources 1. Dweck, C.(2006) Mindset The new psychology of success, Random House, New York, NY. 2. Paschler, H. , McDaniel, M. , Rohrer, D. and Bjork, R. (2010) Learning styles Concepts and evidence. Psychological learning in the Public Interest 9, pp. 105-119. 3. Roediger, H. L. and Karpicke, J. D. (2006) The power of testing memory canonical research and implications for educational practice. Perspectives on Psychological Science 1, pp. 181-210. Cedar Riener is an friend professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College. Daniel Willingham is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.He blogs at the Washington Post and is the author of Why outweart Students Like School? (Jossey-Bass, 2009). Related Notes Change Magazine September-October 2010The falsehood of Learning Styles by Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist. While we will elaborate on this assertion, it is important to counteract the Learning with es A convenient untruthThursday, 24 November 2011 A convenient untruth What do you think is the teachers strap enemy? Some would say lack of time. Others would say unsupportive leadership, or the dreaded government inspect

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