Myths about “Learning Styles Persist in Society

I first heard the formalized theories about “learning styles” as a junior faculty member, at a faculty workshop. I didn’t build my whole pedagogy around it, but it was one of the things I thought about, especially in the context of encouraging students to take intellectual risks with multimodal student projects (rather than just fun using their tools in the way they were accustomed to using them).

Many people, including educators, believe learning styles are set at birth and predict both academic and career success even though there is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Psychological essentialism is the belief that certain categories of people have a true nature that is biologically based and highly predictive of many factors in their lives. People with essentialist opinions about learning styles may be more resistant to changing their strongly held views even when they learn that numerous studies have debunked the concept of learning styles, Nancekivell said. —American Psychological Association