Interesting points to ponder regarding learning styles, are we catering to preferences rather than targeting real learning needs?

The Bok Blog

Today’s guest post is from Sean O’Reilly, a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages.

As teachers, we’ve probably all heard someone say “I’m a visual learner.” But many of us have also become aware in recent years of the persuasiveresearch showing that so-called “learning styles” describe students’ learning preferences rather than any actual limitations on their learning capacity.  Even self-identified visual or auditory learners do not appear to retain information any better when teachers cater to their putative needs by, say, filling PowerPoints with lush visual effects (or audio).  But before we rejoice at being let off the hook and return en masse to the days of black-type-on-solid-white presentations, let me suggest that there’s a difference between audio-visual embroidery and the in-class use of genuine audio-visual sources.

The learning-styles debate has rightly put focus on how, and how effectively, we’re using multimedia in the classroom, but its…

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