If you’ve attended a personal or professional development workshop in the last 30 years you’ve probably heard of learning styles. It’s supposed to help you understand your own style to be a “better learner”. And teachers and instructors design their courses based on these learning styles.
Although this model is thoroughly challenged by research, it is still being promoted. Teachers and instructors believe they will design and deliver better learning experiences. However this is not the case.
A blog article, Learning styles: the limiting power of labels talks about debunking the myths around this topic. The process of labelling is discussed and once you or someone else assigns a label to you it becomes fixed. It becomes the background to your self-talk. It might even hold you back from wanting to learn more or apply for a job. Learning is much more than this and it is affected by our own attitudes. This is a thoughtful article for everyone, not just learners and teachers. And easy to read.
Universal Design for Learning is not learning styles
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a better way to consider the way people learn in all its diversity. A blog article, Universal Design for Learning is Not Learning Styles explains.
As the article above states, UDL is is not the same as learning styles. It’s been debunked because it doesn’t have supporting evidence. In contrast, research on UDL has been widely replicated and grounded in learning sciences, neuroscience, and cognitive science. And it’s not just for learners with a learning difficulty – it’s good for all learners just like kerb cuts help everyone.
Implementing UDL could help learners who cannot keep up with their peers, or have some learning disabilities. UDL does not just provide accessibility, but it eliminates barriers so every learner can succeed. Extensive research shows that the use of UDL supports strategic learning and enhance learners’ learning experience. CAST is a lead organisation in the field of UDL – it has many resources and frameworks for teachers and instructors. The video below gives an overview.
See also the post on the myth of learning styles.