--Original published at Makayla Hockenbrock
There are many opinions out there about learning styles and whether one is better than the other. Many studies have been conducted to show if this truly is a myth or a fact. Teachers try and alter their ways of teaching to try and make the learning environment for the students better. There are many types of learning styles including kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. When children are younger, sometimes they are asked to take this test to determine what kind of learner they are. I remember having to take this test in the fifth grade. Not every child in the class got the same results because everyone learns differently. With that being said, a teacher could not simply teach with the focus of one learning style. This did not come to my attention until later in life when I realized how much pressure is on a teacher to be able to accommodate all the different ways children learn. So, if a child does not grasp a concept, is it the child’s fault, or is it because the teacher did not present the information in the context of that child’s learning style? Or are learning styles in deed just a myth?
According to an article written by Bettina Brown, teachers teach the way they themselves learn information. Teachers obviously have been through a sufficient amount of schooling to get where they are. They also have been through the process of how to study efficiently and effectively. Since they have had that much experience, it is not shocking to me that they would teach with that same style. So, if teachers teach the way they learn, the question arises what the outcome may be if the learning style of a child matches the teaching style of the teacher. A study looking at this in high school students, found that the same two styles was more beneficial to vocational students and the mismatching of styles was more beneficial to field-dependent students. David Kolb, the one who is credited for starting the movement of learning styles, has said that “it is more effective to design curriculum so that there is some way for learners of every learning style to engage with the topic, so that every type of learner has an initial way to connect with the material.” Once that is met, a teacher can then work on stretching that learning style, so the child’s learning capability can expand. Children need to learn to be adjust their learning styles so that when they change teachers, they can still learn the information presented well.
A study that was done on eleventh grade science students, using the inductive guided inquiry learning model, showed that the model influenced the students’ learning activities and achievement in the scientific field. The results showed that the convergers and assimilators presented steady performance improvement on observing, questioning, and design experiment, compared to the students who were considered divergers and accommodators. The model influenced the cognitive learning achievements, however, only convergers showed higher post test scores. This study showed that the learning model did showed sufficient improvement in the performances of the children, from all learning styles, in the scientific setting. This study shows that learning styles can be supported as helpful when it comes to a child grasping information in the field of science. In reference to that finding, it is then important to pay attention to the students learning styles so that they are able to get the best outcome of their education.
In contrast, an article from Yale University states that there is an overwhelming agreement among scholars that there is no scientific proof that backs up the statement of learning styles matching teaching styles is what’s best. Also mentioned in the article, it says studies reject that students learn better through a self-reported learning style. It is then recommended that teachers take a wider approach to teaching which calls students to reflect on their learning and not focus on a specific learning style, which has shown to improve the learning outcome. For example, teachers can help a student differentiate studying styles and learning processes. That then will allow the students to choose their own preferences.
In the International Journal of Instruction, Ivana Cimermanova presents findings on a study of the effect of learning styles on academic achievement in different forms of teaching. The researched examined the potential relation between learning styles and the form of teaching, as well as, the academic achievement of students. The study mentioned how now-a-days, technology has become a big part of education to enhance the learning experience of the children. The study conducted consisted of a group of online students and in-class students. To collect data, the Grasha-Riechmann Student Learning Style Scales was applied. At the end, once the data was collected, a Pearson correlation analysis was performed, and significant correlation only showed between competitive learning style and academic achievement in the online group. The findings from this study were as follow: “learning styles have no significant effect on academic achievement, form of teaching has no significant effect on academic achievement”, and lastly, “students with different learning styles do not statistically significantly differ in their academic performance based on the form of their study.”
After researching this topic, I now have a new perspective to learning styles. I used to think that they were important and that I should think of how I learn best when it comes to preparation for exams and so forth. Now, I think it really doesn’t matter how I learn best, but how the information is presented to me from the teacher. Based on my findings, I believe learning styles could be a myth.
Cimermanová, I. ivana. cimermanova@unipo. s. (2018). The Effect of Learning Styles on Academic Achievement in Different Forms of Teaching. International Journal of Instruction, 11(3), 219–232. https://doi.org/10.12973/iji.2018.11316a
Sudria, I. B. N. ibnsudria@gmail. co., Wayan Redhana, I. 2. redhana. undiksha@gmail. co., Made Kirna, I. 1. mdkirna@gmail. co., & Aini, D. ainiidiahh@gmail. co. (2018). Effect of Kolb’s Learning Styles under Inductive Guided-Inquiry Learning on Learning Outcomes. International Journal of Instruction, 11(1), 89–102. https://doi.org/10.12973/iji.2018.1117a
Learning Styles as a Myth | Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ctl.yale.edu/LearningStylesMyth
Brown, B. L. (2003). Teaching Style vs. Learning Style. Myths and Realities.