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RESEARCH AND EXPERT
Charles B. Hodges, Ph.D.
The purpose of this collection of slides is to
provide a reference for individuals who want
a quick glimpse into the research base
regarding learning styles.
There are many opinions and beliefs regarding
learning styles in Education. I urge you to move
away from beliefs and opinions that are not
formed from a careful exploration of the
scholarly works on the topic. The information
in these slides is a starting point for your
MORRISON, ROSS, KALMAN, & KEMP
“Despite the extensive literature on learning styles,
questions remain regarding the degree to which such
styles can be matched to teaching methods with any
benefits to learning (Knight, Halpin & Halpin, 1992;
Park & Lee, 2004; Snow 1992). ” (p. 59)
Morrison, G.R., Ross, S.M., Kalman, H.K., & Kemp, J.E. (2011). Designing effective
instruction (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Mr. Wallace has assembled some great
comments from respected learning
professionals. References are included.
Wallace, G.W. (November, 2011). Why is the research on learning styles still being dismissed
by some learning leaders and practitioners? eLearn Magazine. Retrieved from: http://
DEMBO & HOWARD
“...learning style instruments have not been shown to
be valid and reliable, there is no benefit to matching
instruction to preferred learning style, and there is no
evidence that understanding one’s learning style improves
learning and its related outcomes.” (p. 107)
“We urge instructors to reconsider their instructional
practices, especially the advice they give students about
learning styles, and base their practices on sound
research.” (p. 107).
Dembo, M.H., & Howard, K. (2007). Advice about the use of learning styles: A major myth in
education. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 37(2), p. 101-109
KIRSCHNER & VAN MERRIËNBOER
“The second legend is the widespread belief that learners
have specific learning styles and that education should be
individualized to the extent that the pedagogy of teaching/
learning is matched to the preferred style of the learner.”
Kirschner, P.A., & van Merriënboer, J.G. (2013). Do learners really know best?
Urban legends in Education. Educational Psychologist 48(3), 169-183.
Dr. Steve Wheeler is an Associate Professor of Learning
Technology at Plymouth University. This blog post, A
Convenient Untruth, is nicely done and is very accessible
for many audiences.
Wheeler, S. (November, 2011). A convenient untruth. Learning with ‘e’s [blog]. Retrieved from:
PASHLER, MCDANIEL, ROHRER, & BJORK
“We conclude therefore, that at present, there is no
adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles
assessments into general educational practice. Thus,
limited education resources would better be devoted to
adopting other educational practices that have a strong
evidence base, of which there are an increasing
number...Further research on the use of learning-styles
assessment in instruction may in some cases be warranted,
but such research needs to be performed appropriately.”
Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2009). Learning styles: Concepts and
evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119. doi: 10.1111/j.
DANIEL T. WILLINGHAM, PH.D.
Dr. Willingham is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the
University of Virginia. He authored a popular YouTube movie on
learning styles, and he has assembled an FAQ on learning styles.
You will find many resources promoting learning styles as an
essential element of teaching and learning. For example, they
are referenced by NCATE (standard 4) and by ISTE (NETS-T).
Review the resources provided in this set of slides. You
can find more. Do not accept learning styles as a truth
because it feels right, because you read about it in a book, or
because you have seen them in your classroom. Consider the
scholarly evidence. Think critically.
The information in this set of slides has been
compiled over time with help from friends and
colleagues. My thanks to those of you who have
pointed me to these resources, especially: Michael
M. Grant and Michael K. Barbour.
Charles B. Hodges, Ph.D.