Tip #908: The Persistent Myth of Learning Styles

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

“There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers

 

What is it about the idea of learning styles? It has been proven that there are no such things. Yet, even esteemed trainers, who ought to know better, continue to refer to learning styles. They write about what methods to use to meet the needs of different learning styles.

I think I know why, or at least two reasons come to mind.

Pervasive and Foundational

First, learning style models are varied and pervasive. One identifies three styles: visual, verbal, and kinesthetic. One identifies four: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Another model mentions five: visual, auditory, written, kinesthetic, and multimodal. Still another model has six: visual, aural, print, tactile, interactive, and kinesthetic.

There is a model with seven learning styles: auditory and musical, visual and spatial, verbal, logical and mathematical, physical or kinesthetic, social and interpersonal, and solitary and intrapersonal. There is even a model with eight styles: visual, aural, physical, verbal, logical, social, solo, and natural.

As a teaching profession, we have spent decades coming up with these different explanations and models of how learners learn. It’s been a foundational principle for so long, it is automatic to categorize learners according to our favorite learning style model. It has become a habit, it is part of our vernacular, and we do it unconsciously.

Guidance for Design

Second, models help us make sense of the world. Life is too large and too complex. We need to compartmentalize to make life (and training) manageable. So, we wrestle to pin each new observation or idea into a meaningful category. But life and the world are constantly changing. For this reason, we have multiple models for almost everything, including personality types, leadership styles, management styles, and communication styles, etc.

Models give us a sense of order and control. We like to know where everything fits. A learning style model gives trainers guidance when they design training programs. It tells them to plug in a variety of different learning activities, to make sure that there is something for everyone.

Even if we know that there are no such things as learning styles, the idea is so ingrained in us that we still tend to think in those terms when we design and facilitate our training programs.

I just don’t see that ending any time soon.

Question: Do you still design your training with learning styles in mind?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.

Deborah

#learningstyles #learningmyths #models

Related Posts

Manage Your Holiday Stress Before It Manages You!

Saturday, December 10th from 11 AM to 2:30 PM CST

Over the river to grandmother’s house- we have an idea in our mind about how the holiday should be. But planning, shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, and preparing the house all take a toll. It’s easy to become anxious, worried about creating a perfect, memorable holiday. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some other winter holiday. There are traditions to keep, favorite foods to prepare, and decorations to put up. It’s exhausting.

Then there’s the actual day. You will want everyone to feel happy and get along, but you know that the stress of the day can easily result in overexcited and grumpy grandchildren and irritable adult children. You imagine that all the time and effort you put into creating a lovely day could end up being wasted and unappreciated.

Holidays are supposed to be a joyful time. Let us help you get clear about what is not worth worrying about- and give you practical coping strategies that will help you stay calm when things don’t go the way you want them to go.

Join us for this highly interactive half-day virtual workshop on how to Manage Your Holiday Stress Before It Manages You on Saturday, December 10th from 11 AM to 2:30 PM CST. Your investment is $120. We guarantee that you will have a much less stressful holiday.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to Deal with Difficult People.

In this course you will define the behavioral characteristics and underlying needs of difficult people, assess situations in which you effectively handled a difficult person, review five steps for handling difficult people Laurel & Associates now offers courses through Teachable. Learn at your own pace.
Popular Post

Share This Post