There seems to be a stir among groups in higher ed regarding a recent piece on NPR titled “Think You’re An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It’s Unlikely” broadcast on August 29th.
To paraphrase the issue: A small industry has grown up around the concept that some people learn better from a verbal lesson, while others learn better when information is presented in a visual manner. Recent research (see press release on psychologicalscience.org from December 2009) suggests that most research supporting the concept of “learning styles” fails to satisfy scientific validity.
In the recent discussion resulting from this piece on NPR, some seem relieved that the concept of “learning styles” has been debunked in that statements such as “I’m a visual learner,” etc. are commonly used by students to avoid putting forth necessary effort to succeed in a course. Others acknowledge the research, yet say that caution should be exercised as not to further marginalize those with clinical learning disabilities.
There is also an emphasis in the discussion on the need to recognize that, although students may not necessarily have different “learning styles”, it is still essential to provide different methods of presenting the same information to enhance learning for all students.
What are your thoughts on the piece? Feel free to comment below.