One Of The Most Common "Facts" About Learning Is Actually Complete Nonsense


People may prefer to learn in different ways, but research shows tailoring teaching to students' preferences doesn't help them perform better.

A method called "micro-teaching" is a more proven way to help students learn.

Good communication and trust between teachers and students is also important.

We all like to do things in our own ways.

That's especially true in the White House, it seems, where presidents choose to receive top-secret information in different formats.

Former President Barack Obama got his daily briefing on a tablet, whereas President Donald Trump reportedly prefers to have oral briefings. According to a Washington Post report, that's because reading isn't Trump's "preferred 'style of learning.'"

For decades, there's been an idea that people have set "learning styles," which are often categorized into three types: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Some people also believe that some learners are more concrete while others are abstract. According to this logic, a teacher should pin down which learning style works best for their student and modify how they teach accordingly to help the pupil perform better. 

There is a grain of truth here: people do tend to enjoy getting information in specific, distinct formats. A 2008 study articulated this, saying "people differ in the degree to which they have some fairly specific aptitudes for different kinds of thinking and for processing different types of information."

But just because Trump may prefer to listen and Obama prefers to read doesn't mean either is better at receiving information in that format.

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In fact, research shows that teaching students according to different learning styles has no effect on how they perform on assessments. Every time scientists have tried to prove this theory, they've failed.

One research team in 2012 simply labeled their paper: "Learning styles, where's the evidence?"

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