Learning Styles Don’t Exist!

Hey, did I get your attention?!

I find this controversial learning topic very interesting. After reading Brain Rules a few years ago I believe I was already personally convinced that the accepted theories around the importance of learning styles in educational design that I had been previously taught weren’t necessarily a proven fact. Since then, I’ve been at conferences where presenters even make fun of the idea of learning styles as an archaic idea that noone believes anymore. So, I also found it interesting when I was at an ASTD meeting last week and a woman who calls herself a “Learning Futurist” on her business card began talking to me about learning styles in MOOCs …

I’d say the jury’s still out about learning styles and I thought this might be an interesting conversation for the Learning Network to have. What do you think about learning styles?

Here is a video from Daniel Willingham, Cognitive Psychologist, claiming that Learning Styles Do Not Exist.

Other resources on Learning Styles:

•Are Learning Styles a Myth – from Education.com

•Learning Styles Don’t Matter Who Knew? – from Educatis blog

•Do Learning Styles Matter for Education – from Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/keep-it-in-mind/201308/do-learning-styles-matter-learning


When organizations start investing in defining and measuring against performance outcomes rather than learner reactions, we can stop worrying about the validity of learning styles, and turn instead to what organizations really want out of learning – employees who learn, retain and use what they’ve learned from the training on the job.                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                    Jennifer Hofman





But What About The Learning?

I watched the Learning Solutions Best of Solutionfest webinar yesterday. There was one of the winners that I can’t stop thinking about.

The assignment was to teach about lab safety at a university in North Carolina. The training dept. hired a production crew and actors to create a very professional 10 minute movie. I thought it was all very cool and really great, however in my humble opinion, I didn’t really think it was a great learning piece. It seems to me it would have been so easy to just add in a few things that would have helped to cement the 5 steps to lab safety but they did not and I had a great tune stuck in my head by the end of the film, but not the 5 steps to lab safety. It seemed like a really expensive project ($35k probably not counting cost of in-house team of 5 which worked on it) which ended up being more about wanting to do something cool and less about teaching people or changing behavior. Like I said, I thought it was really cool too, but I think it’s a good lesson to watch getting caught up in the cool stuff only for find out you just produced $50k worth of clicky, clicky, bling, bling as Cammie Bean likes to say. Sorry Zombie College. I loved it but wonder if this really improved lab safety at your university. Maybe the ultimate lesson is, if it’s cool enough, no one cares about behavior change. I would like to have both.

Here’s the link. What do you think?