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The Learning Styles Neuromyth Is Still Thriving in Medical Education
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Volume: 15
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Learning Styles theory promises improved academic performance based on the identification of a personal, sensory preference for informational processing. This promise is not supported by evidence, and is in contrast to our current understanding of the neuroscience of learning. Despite this lack of e...
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Learning Styles theory promises improved academic performance based on the identification of a personal, sensory preference for informational processing. This promise is not supported by evidence, and is in contrast to our current understanding of the neuroscience of learning. Despite this lack of evidence, prior research shows that that belief in the Learning Styles “neuromyth” remains high amongst educators of all levels, around the world. This perspective article is a follow up on prior research aimed at understanding why belief in the neuromyth of Learning Styles remains so high. We evaluated current research papers from the field of health professions education, to characterize the perspective that an educator would be given, should they search for evidence on Learning Styles. As in earlier research on Higher Education, we found that the use of Learning Style frameworks persist in education research for the health professions; 91% of 112 recent research papers published on Learning Styles are based upon the premise that Learning Styles are a useful approach to education. This is in sharp contrast to the fundamental principle of evidence-based practice within these professions. Thus any educator who sought out the research evidence on Learning Styles would be given a consistent but inaccurate endorsement of the value of a teaching technique that is not evidence based, possibly then propagating the belief in Learning Styles. Here we offer perspectives from both research and student about this apparent mismatch between educational practice and clinical practice, along with recommendations and considerations for the future.
evidence based education, neuromyth, VARK learning style, Kolb, medical education
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences