I’ve gone off on learning styles before because there’s a lot of fluff and not much substance. I’d been pointed to Dan Willingham‘s video on brain based learning, and in pointing it to someone else, found his one on learning styles. He’s a cognitive psychologist (my background, btw), and is putting out the research-based views on these topics.
My point has been that the learning styles instruments are broken, though the idea makes sense in that it helps teachers/instructors be sensitized to individual learner differences. And I’ve argued that you use the right medium for the message, not try to re-represent. Dan goes into more detail, and points out that people do learn certain things better, but that meaning is the core, and that you match the presentation to the nature of the knowledge. He argues that learning styles shouldn’t make a difference to what you do (if you already use appropriate design). I love his conclusion: “good teaching is good teaching, and teachers don’t need to adjust their teaching to individual learning styles”. Hear, hear (and not “see see” or “feel feel” :).
He also goes on about brain-based learning, and talks about how most of it (95%) doesn’t make sense. His point is that one level of research doesn’t necessarily translate to another. His claim is that much of this stuff isn’t really brain-based research, and then a lot of it is just wrong(!). He gets quite specific about what’s wrong with a couple of popular examples, and points to people who are doing it well. At the end, he says if someone’s claiming “there’s all this new information about the brain…will revolutionize teaching”, you should stay away.
Highly recommended, if you care about learning or education.