Most everyone has heard of learning styles. They might even have identified their own learning style as either "analytical", "holistic", "verbal", or "spatial" - these being some of the most commonly acknowledged learning styles. The idea of there being specific types of learners is everywhere. Most of us have been told at some point that once we've identified our learning style, learning will become much easier. But is this actually the case?
Most careful research findings lead us to believe that learning styles are not as functional as they claim to be. Much of this is probably due to the fact that most people are not purely one type of learner, but instead learn through many different methods. Researchers of cognitive science have said, in fact, that students learn better when information is presented to them multiple times in varying ways. This gives the information to students from different angles, and better enables them to make sense of it.
This information seems to contradict the idea of people having one specific way that they learn best. Although, there certainly may be some truth to the idea of people getting more sense out of information presented to them in a certain format, such as visually. Perhaps this is because it forces students to think about the meaning of the information more deeply, as the article above suggests.
There is a great amount of information available about learning styles. Some of this information may hold some truth in it, however, we must be careful when evaluating such claims. Saying that every person has one particular form of learning best leaves little room for variability, which is a large part of psychology. Either way, the idea of learning styles leaves many questions. What careers do believers in learning styles think that certain learning styles gravitate towards? Does personality have a lot to do with learning style? Can a person's learning style change over time?