Learning styles are, simply put, various approaches or ways of learning. They involve educating methods, particular to an individual, that are presumed to allow that individual to learn best. It is commonly believed that most people favor some particular method of interacting with, taking in, and processing stimuli or information. Based on this concept, the idea of individualized "learning styles" originated in the 1970s, and has gained popularity in recent years. It has been proposed that teachers should assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student's learning style. The alleged basis for these proposals has been extensively criticized.
Sudbury Model democratic schools (Sudbury School) assert that there are many ways to study and learn. They argue that learning is a process you do, not a process that is done to you.
Some psychologists and neuroscientists have questioned the scientific basis for these models and the theories on which they are based. Writing in the Times Educational Supplement Magazine (29 July 2007), Susan Greenfield said that "from a neuroscientific point of view (the learning styles approach to teaching) is nonsense".
Many educational psychologists believe that there is little evidence for the efficacy of most learning style models, and furthermore, that the models often rest on dubious theoretical grounds. According to Stahl, there has been an "utter failure to find that assessing children's learning styles and matching to instructional methods has any effect on their learning."
Coffield's team found that none of the most popular learning style theories had been adequately validated through independent research, leading to the conclusion that the idea of a learning cycle, the consistency of visual, auditory and kinesthetic preferences and the value of matching teaching and learning styles were all "highly questionable."
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