In the blog post, “Learning Styles Don't Work—But Who Cares If They Help?” located on the InSync Training blog, Jennifer Hofmann addresses a favorite topic among L&D professionals: the age-old debate about the role of learning styles in the development of training. 

First she poses the question: If there is so little evidence as to the value of learning styles, why do so many designers cite their importance in design. And why do the collective “rest of us” seem to buy into it? 

The answer she supposes is because the concept is easy to understand and apply to program design—especially when paired against organizational constraints and operational limitations. And she adds that often these programs are “visually stimulating, kinesthetically engaging, and well-scripted interactions that draw on a variety of technologies and treatments of the subject matter.” So, who cares, right?

The problem with many failed programs, Hofmann reminds designers, isn’t an investment in learning styles. Instead, the true fault lies with the fact that they allow Level 1 evaluations to define quality of instruction. Without Level 3 evaluations, designers never know that the fun, engaging programs aren’t meeting the intended outcomes. 

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Hofmann concludes: “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.” 

Read the complete blog post, “Learning Styles Don't Work—But Who Cares If They Help?” to learn more.