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Why Phil Winne takes issue with notions about learning styles

Dr. Phil Winne, Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Faculty of Education, asks:

How often have you overheard comments such as these around campus?

“I can’t learn that way – I’m a visual learner.”

“For all you kinesthetic learners out there, try to feel the force diagram at the instant you reach the peak on a roller  coaster.”

Some students and professors believe that learning styles govern how people learn and should guide how people are taught. But there’s very little research that supports these beliefs.

Here’s what Professor Daniel Willingham, a psychologist from the University of Virgina, has to say:

You can also take a look at the following articles for further ideas about learning styles:

Mayer, R., & Massa, L. (2003). Three facets of visual and verbal learners: Cognitive ability, cognitive style, and learning preference. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 833-841.

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork. R. (2009). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 105-119.

Let us know what you think about these ideas in our comments section below. Are learning styles an urban legend or scientifically valid?


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