Those who work in the psychology of learning, education, pedagogy or education systematically end up encountering the question of "learning styles". The basic concepts that are usually tried to pass are mainly two:

  1. each individual has his own particular way of learning (for example, visual, auditory or kinesthetic);
  2. each individual learns better if the information is presented to him in a way that is congruent with his learning style.

These are fascinating concepts, which undoubtedly give a less rigid perspective of the learning context (which is often perceived as “stale”); they allow us to look at school (and beyond) as a potentially dynamic context and with personalized, almost tailor-made education.

But is this really so?

Here comes the first bad news.
Aslaksen and Lorås[1] they conducted a small review of the scientific literature on the subject, summarizing the results of the main researches; what they observed, data in hand, is simply this: teach according to the individual's preferred learning style (for example, presenting information in a visual format for "viewers") it would bring no quantifiable benefit over those studying in a modality other than their preferred one.

In this sense, the approach of many teachers should then be revised, especially considering the amount of additional work that involves modifying teaching following the indications of what appears to be a neuro-myth rather than a fact.

So what is the relationship between teaching methods and beliefs with respect to learning styles?

Here comes the second bad news.
Another review of the scientific literature on the subject[2] pointed out that the clear majority of teachers (89,1%) seem to be convinced about the goodness of education based on learning styles. No more encouraging is that this belief does not change significantly as we continue with years of work in the field (even if, it must be said, teachers and educators with the highest level of education seem to be the least convinced by this neuro-myth).

What to do then?

Here comes the first good news.
The initial step could be to disseminate correct information during the training of future teachers and educators; this no, it does not seem like a waste of time: in fact, within the same literature review it is found that, after specific training, the percentage of teachers still convinced of the usefulness of an approach based on learning styles (in the samples examined , we pass from an initial average of 78,4% to one of 37,1%).

Well, some are now wondering how students' learning can be improved since the learning style approach does not seem effective.
Well, here it is then second good news: techniques for teaching and learning really effective (experimentally demonstrated) there are e we have already dedicated an article to them. Also, in the near future we will return to the topic with a another article always dedicated to the most effective techniques.



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