One of the scariest things you can ever hear is:
“That’s just how we’ve always done it.”
Most people have heard of study styles. You know the old “Some people study better visually and others through audio” etc…
I know it’s not the first time we’ve touched on this but there’s been another study recently which didn’t just prove it’s bogus – their study suggests it might actually be harming students.
Now there is some truth to it depending on what you consider a studying style but we put out a post a few weeks ago Study Styles are Crap – Here’s What to Do Instead because of one simple fact.
They’re. Not. Based. In. Reality.
There’s no scientific basis for them. At all.
The idea that your studying preference is defined at birth has no basis in science and this has been proven time and time again. But it hasn’t stopped a surprising number of students and teachers sticking with the idea. Current studies estimate 80%-95% of people believe in learning styles.
In two online experiments with 668 participants, more than 90 percent of them believed people learn better if they are taught in their predominant learning style, whether that is visual, auditory or tactile. But those who believed in learning styles split evenly into an “essentialist” group, with more strongly held beliefs, and a “non-essentialist” group, with more flexible beliefs about learning styles, said lead researcher Shaylene Nancekivell, PhD, a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan.
“We found that some people are more likely to believe that students inherit their learning style from their parents and that learning styles affect brain function,” she said. “We also found that educators who work with younger children are more likely to hold this essentialist view. Many parents and educators may be wasting time and money on products, services and teaching methods that are geared toward learning styles.”
The study went on to show that people believe learning styles are heritable and your academic career is defined by your parents.
This is dangerous thinking right away. It’s important we take responsibility for our studying and our results and this (entirely unfounded) belief is giving people an easy scapegoat.
Previous research has shown that the learning styles model can undermine education in many ways. Educators spend time and money tailoring lessons to certain learning styles for different students even though all students would benefit from learning through various methods. Students study in ways that match their perceived learning style even though it won’t help them succeed. Some teacher certification programs incorporate learning styles into their courses, which perpetuates the myth for the next generation of teachers. Academic support centers and a plethora of products also are focused on learning styles, despite the lack of scientific evidence supporting them.
This stuff matters. It’s important to assess what works for you. It’s also important to realize that even though this myth of learning styles is so widespread it’s also complete bunk and shouldn’t be relied upon as well.
There are students basing their studying methods based on what they’ve always known because that’s what they’ve been taught or that’s what someone thought their style would suit. It’s pretty insane it’s reached this point.
If you’re trying to make the most of your studying time – make sure you grab the free audiobook Unlimited Memory by a chess grandmaster which will absolutely transform your results overnight if you apply the techniques. We focus on it mostly from a studying standpoint (because that’s what the site is about) but really it’ll help any kind of memory retention.