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Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences: Debunking the myths EDP5216 - dr. vanessa dennen - fsu

Learning styles and multiple intelligences are two "theories" that have become quite popular among practitioners, despite lacking the empirical support necessary to be widely accepted in research circles. It's quite likely that you've encountered one or both of these ideas before, and perhaps you've even incorporated them into your own practice or teaching. If so, you wouldn't be along. Many people have done so -- and even textbooks often incorporate these and other myths or pieces of misinformation.

Learning Styles

The article linked below discusses (among other things) why learning styles are not a real thing. It is written by two very well respected educational psychologists.

Citation: Kirschner, P. A., & van Merriƫnboer, J. J. G. (2013). Do learners really know best? Urban legends in education. Educational Psychologist, 48(3), 169-183. doi:10.1080/00461520.2013.804395

If you have the time and interest to read a highly academic dismantling of Learning Styles, I recommend this article.

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidenc. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119. doi:doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01038.x

Neil Fleming, the creator of the VARK Inventory, has even cautioned about what VARK really is and is not. He doesn't claim that it represents how people learn best, just what they self report as a preference at a given moment in time.

Fleming, N., and Baume, D. (2006) Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree!, Educational Developments, SEDA Ltd, Issue 7.4, Nov. 2006, p4-7.

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner himself provided commentary on his theory of multiple intelligences 20+ years after it was launched. In this brief piece, Gardner explains a bit about how he identified the intelligences and what his actual purpose was (and was not).

In this Washington Post article, Gardner indicates that MI should not be confused with Learning Styles (and that it has long bothered him to see this confusion persist among educators).

Created By
Vanessa Dennen
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Created with images by janeb13 - "student concentrated preparation"

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