In the 1980s and 90s, the concept spread that every individual has a distinct learning style – visual, auditory, physical, or social, and that notion has become pervasive in both the academic and professional worlds. Lesson plans and job training are designed around the idea that different people learn differently, and that everyone should be accommodated. This idea is so widespread that it’s usually regarded as a given, and methodologies are built from this foundation. However, it may not be true. A wealth of evidence suggests there is not one kind of learner or another. One recent study demonstrated that students often do not study in the style that seemed to best reflect their learning style; another demonstrated evidence that people try to treat tasks in what they believe their learning style to be, but it doesn’t help them perform tasks any more effectively. Polly Husmann, a professor at the University of Indiana, says this framework can be helpful for people to understand how learning may occur, but not to get too carried away with it. The most successful earning occurs when lessons are planned around the type of material presented, rather than around different learning styles.
Are Learning Styles a Myth?