Do you say to people, "I'm a visual learner!" or "I can't remember anything from videos, I prefer reading blog posts" or "I love workshops but can't learn through video courses."
I said similar things myself too – I always thought of myself as learning best through visual means.
But... turns out: learning styles are a myth.
OK – wait, let me be clearer:
Someone's preferred learning style has no correlation with how well they learn the subject matter.
In the book Make It Stick, this is one of the "effective learning myths" they break right out of the gate (and further, in Chapter 7).
It's a doozy.
Learning styles are pervasive in educational, institutional, and professional settings. I bet right now you're ready to reply to this email with some 🔥 emojis, right?
But give me a sec!
A group of cognitive psychologists set out to find if there was any backing scientific evidence to the (many) learning styles theories. They wanted to answer the questions:
Is it true that you learn better when instruction is in your preferred learning style? And is it true that you are at a disadvantage when learning in another style?
To try and answer these questions they did two things: conducted their own study and reviewed existing evidence.
In their study, they divided students up. They sent each student to a random classroom teaching a subject using a specific instructional style (there was overlap in the subjects, to make sure they were all represented).
This meant that some students got taught using their preferred learning style and others were taught in whatever method suited the subject better (e.g. geometry being taught with visual instruction).
At the end of the study, they all took the same test to see how effective their learning was.
Can you guess what they discovered?
I'll be back tomorrow with the answer.
Have a lovely day,