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, 6, 1908
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The Learning Styles Myth Is Thriving in Higher Education

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The Learning Styles Myth Is Thriving in Higher Education

Philip M Newton. Front Psychol.

Abstract

The existence of 'Learning Styles' is a common 'neuromyth', and their use in all forms of education has been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited in the research literature. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that their use remains widespread. This perspective article is an attempt to understand if and why the myth of Learning Styles persists. I have done this by analyzing the current research literature to capture the picture that an educator would encounter were they to search for "Learning Styles" with the intent of determining whether the research evidence supported their use. The overwhelming majority (89%) of recent research papers, listed in the ERIC and PubMed research databases, implicitly or directly endorse the use of Learning Styles in Higher Education. These papers are dominated by the VAK and Kolb Learning Styles inventories. These presence of these papers in the pedagogical literature demonstrates that an educator, attempting to take an evidence-based approach to education, would be presented with a strong yet misleading message that the use of Learning Styles is endorsed by the current research literature. This has potentially negative consequences for students and for the field of education research.

Keywords: Kolb; Vark; evidence-based education; higher education; learning styles.

Figures

FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1
Research database search results for the term “Learning Styles” filtered by individual calendar year.

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