Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, March 24, 2017 06:08:24 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Are learning styles a myth?

photo by

By
12th-Feb-2017       Readers ( 166 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Anna Weinstein :
What kind of learner are you?
If you ask most adults, they'll tell you-"I'm a visual learner," "Definitely an auditory learner," "A kinesthetic learner for sure." In fact, this general understanding of how people learn is so ingrained in public perception that many parents even apply their understanding to their children. For example, "Tommy isn't an auditory learner because when I tell him to do something, he doesn't listen, but when I display a sticker chart on the wall, he responds. He must be a visual learner."
Though this example might make intuitive sense, it doesn't tell the whole story. According to Dr. James Witte, Auburn University Associate Professor of Adult Education, there are several types of learning styles, including: cognitive (how we think about learning), affective (how we feel about learning), and perceptual (how we perceive our environment and how it relates to learning). When we talk about someone being a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, we're talking about the perceptual learning style.
In fact, according to Witte, there are four other perceptual modalities: print (seeing written words); interactive (verbalization); haptic (sense of touch or grasp); and olfactory (sense of smell and taste). Witte, who established the Institute for Learning Styles Research Journal in 2006, explains that perceptual learning has to do with the five senses and the way in which people extract information from their surroundings.
"There's nothing restrictive about a learning style," Witte says. "Just because you prefer to read for informative purposes doesn't mean you can't learn through lecture." This is where many people get it wrong, Witte explains. It's not that someone is specifically one type of learner over another; it's that individuals have preferred learning styles.
Witte does not advocate testing perceptual modalities with children, however. "You have to read over and over again before you decide you like reading," Witte says. "I'm not sure that the child has sufficient neural network based on repetition to legitimately establish a modality preference. If a kid is just learning to read, why would you expect him to have a preference for reading?"
So is there such a thing as a kinesthetic learner (a person who learns best when involving the whole body)? Many parents have been told or have deduced that their energetic child who is constantly in motion, who must be "doing" at all times, is a kinesthetic learner. Witte would tend to agree that these children might be kinesthetic learners, though he admits that there's still a lack of evidence to demonstrate this with certainty. "I'm a very, very conservative researcher," Witte says. "I believe the learning styles investigation involving perceptual modalities are primary designed for adults. But even if we look at our high school students, if you are wiggling in your seat and showing a lack of attention, the odds are that you will not be identified as a ready-for-college student. And yet all the student wants to do is to learn by doing! It's amazing what students can produce if we can meet that kinesthetic need."
Witte's conservative approach to research is likely regarded as appropriate in the fields of education and educational psychology, particularly given the ongoing debate about whether there's any evidence that perceptual modalities and learning styles exist.
Dr. Daniel Willingham, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Virginia, says "kinesthetic learners don't exist, and learning styles don't exist." Willingham explains that the notion of children learning differently (that some learn better if you read a story aloud, act out a story, etc.) is just a prediction. "It's been tested over and over again, and no one can find evidence that it's true," Willingham says. "The idea moved into public consciousness, and in a way it's perplexing. There are some ideas that are just sort of self-sustaining."
It's understandable, though, why this particular idea is self-sustaining. The Dunn-Dunn Learning Styles model is one of the more popular learning styles models, developed in 1967, and widely used U.S. schools. The model incorporates the following premises:
Everyone has strengths, but different people have different strengths.
Most individuals can learn.
Instructional environments, resources, and approaches respond to diversified strengths.
Individual instructional preferences exist and can be measured reliably.
Given responsive environments, students attain statistically higher achievement and aptitude test scores in matched, rather than mismatched treatments.
Most teachers can learn to use learning styles as a cornerstone of their instruction.
Many students can learn to capitalize on their learning style strengths.
This model, though researched in more than 90 higher education institutions across the United Stated, has its share of criticism. Dr. Frank Coffield, Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, assessed the Dunn-Dunn model along with other learning style models and came to the following conclusion, detailed in his report "Should We Be Using Learning Styles? What Research Has to Say to Practice." "Despite a large and evolving research program, forceful claims made for impact are questionable because of limitations in many of the supporting studies and the lack of independent research on the model."
Willingham explains the criticism this way: "One problem is that nearly all of the empirical work that is supposed to support the Dunn and Dunn model are masters and PhD dissertations of students who worked with her [Rita Dunn], and were not published in peer-reviewed journals. This makes people suspicious that these studies are not methodologically rigorous enough to stand up to scrutiny."
Witte agrees that most methods for testing learning styles have not demonstrated validity. "The vast majority of learning styles instruments do not seem to report validity and reliability," Witte says. "That's not to say that learning styles don't exist, but I would say that they're very difficult to measure."
Willingham suggests that we think about differences in material and what is to be communicated rather than thinking the differences lie in children. "Let the material be the guide," Willingham says. "There's no doubt that seeing something in different ways is going to be a good thing."
In response to the suggestion that learning styles do not exist, Witte says, "Well, we still have people who are convinced that IQ tests are nothing more than vocabulary tests. This should not be a debate over whether learning styles exist, but how we measure them."

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

We mourn with brave British people who will not waver


THE very fact that Western cities are yet extremely vulnerable to extremists "Lone-wolf" attacks was once again proved on Wednesday when such an attacker drove a vehicle randomly along London's Westminster Bridge towards the Houses of Parliament - killing five including a police officer and maiming innocent bystanders as the ...

Cricket »

Miraz drafted in Tigers' ODI squad


Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz has been included in the Bangladesh ODI squad for the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Miraz is scheduled to reach Colombo later today, said a BCB press release on Thursday.Meanwhile, off break bowler Naeem Hasan, who made his first class debut for Chittagong Division in ...

City »

Former President of Chhatra League Noor-e-Alam Siddiqui speaking at a discussion organised by 'Prakton Chhatra League Foundation' at the Jatiya Press Club on Thursday marking Flag Day.


Entertainment »

Why is Varun Dhawan not taking up any TV offers?


Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Shahid Kapoor are among the young crop of stars who have worked on the small screen. Ask Varun Dhawan if he too is keen to get on the bandwagon and he says, "I have been offered a couple of game and dance shows. I had been ...

International »

Despite Trump push, healthcare vote going to the wire


AFP, Washington :President Donald Trump faces a reckoning Thursday as US lawmakers vote on his presidency's biggest legislative test, the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, as conservatives vowed to kill it unless important last-minute changes are made.The Republican-controlled House of Representatives votes on the controversial measure despite challenges ...

Editorial »

Digging city roads facing monsoon is intriguing


FACING the arrival of monsoon two Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) authorities have permitted different utility service providers to dig up road surface without taking into account that it will cause heavy traffic congestion and immense suffering to city dwellers. Utility providers like Dhaka Water Supply & Sewerage Authority (DWASA), have ...

City »

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) jointly brought out a rally yesterday towards the Office of the Prime Minister demanding immediate declaration of 9th Wage Board and later submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister.


.

Football »

Mexico`s Nestor Araujo (left) and Javier Hernandez practice during a training session in Cuernavaca, Mexico on Tuesday. Mexico will face Costa Rica in a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match on March 24.


.

Entertainment »

When people deter me, it only makes me stronger: Anushka Sharma


Hate begets hate. Positivity spawns positivity and failure is just one more step in our march to success - this is the mantra that Anushka Sharma lives by. She shrugs off slander, laughs away at the evils of social media and confesses that she didn’t have a clear vision from ...

International »

Afghanistan wants more US help in fight against Taliban, IS


AP, Washington :Afghanistan wants the United States to send more forces to help meet shortfalls in the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State group, the nation's top diplomat said Tuesday.Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani welcomed a recent call by U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander in Afghanistan, ...

Editorial »

End strike at BD Medical to end patients suffering


DOCTORS at Bangladesh Medical College Hospital (BMCH) are evidently causing havoc on patients as they continued strike for the past one-week on trivial issues. We must say there may be conflict in many issues between doctors and their parent body Bangladesh Medical Studies and Research Institute (BMSRI), but shutting the ...

Sports »

The Tamil Nadu players pose with the Vijay Hazare Trophy after their win against Bengal in final at Delhi on Monday.


.

International »

Trump admin weighing broad sanctions on North Korea


Reuters, Washington :The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach ...

City »

Visitors at a photo exhibition organised on the occasion of 98th birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Azimpur School playground in the city on Tuesday.


.

Entertainment »

Rani Mukerji`s first interview post- motherhood, she talks about everything


Rani Mukerji took a break from the life she knew to concentrate on the life she made - Adira. She was immersed in motherhood, and movies were nowhere in the picture. Now that the queen has committed to a film, she is coming out of her self-imposed exile. As she ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news