Neuromyths about learning styles

13th Mar 2017

It has recently been found that educational practices based on neuroscience lack sufficient evidence to be supported. These educational practices are generally known as learning styles. 

Learning styles are based on self-report questionnaires and claim to optimise education by tailoring materials to match the individual's preferred mode of sensory information, whether this be audio, visual or kinesthetic. 

One problem of the learning styles approach is that there is no coherent framework of preferred learning styles. One study found that there are more than 70 different models of learning including the common three mentioned above. Another problem is that categorising individuals can lead to the assumption of fixed or rigid learning style, which can impair motivation to apply oneself. 

Overall, these neuromyths create a false impression of individual's abilities, leading to expectations and excuses that are detrimental to learning in general. Moving forward from this, neuroscientists suggest that teachers should avoid learning style techniques as these do not achieve the best results and move towards evidence-based practice.

As part of the campaign to spread awareness of this neuromyth, the organisation Speakezee are sending neuroscientists around schools to flag up the shortcomings of the learning style approach. 

To read full articles about the limitations of learning styles, visit the guardian website.

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