Stop worrying about learning styles

Regular readers here know I am somewhat skeptical of research about learning styles. I am far from alone on this.

Regular readers also know my frequent theme about the need for teachers and speakers to go beyond serving merely as information transmitters.

You can imagine my delight when I stumbled across a post that combines both of these, although you have to look several paragraphs into Getting Over Learning Styles to see the connection.

After talking about the huge amount of information on both sides of the learning styles question, Dr. Larry Spence opines:

Since the research on learning styles has failed to confirm that how we present material can improve student learning, maybe we should focus on what students do with course materials and think of our role more as managing a work team than transmitting metaphorical “content.”

Glory be! Excellent insight! That applies especially to the classroom teacher who works with a group of people one, two, three times a week for several weeks, but it also applies to speakers. It’s all about bringing an experience to the audience, because not only can they get information cheaper and easier elsewhere, but they can also find it in a way that suits their preferred method of taking in information. When you focus on experience, you find the common denominator among all the dozens or even hundreds of preferences.

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with individuals and organizations who want to forge top-notch communication skills to increase their influence and impact. He is associate professor of speech and journalism at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.