Learning styles

 

Learning styles are a set of assumptions around how someone uses their senses to perceive information; how their brain stores and processes information and how they organise and present information.

The three most cited learning styles are:

  • Visual learners who prefer images, pictures, diagrams, films and videos or demonstrations.
  • Auditory learners who learn best through the process of listening and talking.
  • Kinesthetic learners who learn by doing.

These ideas associated with learning styles are contentious and widely debated.

What we do know is that people learn in different ways. Riener and Willingham’s article The myth of learning styles (2010) argues that there is no credible evidence that learning styles exist. Further, they argue that learners differ in their ‘abilities, interests, and background knowledge, but not in their learning styles’.

Myths or otherwise?

Other academics, such as Richard Felder, believe that while learning styles do not provide a complete portrait, they can potentially provide an outline or framework. However, addressing learning needs is infinitely more complex than implied by learning styles ideology.