Title

Is learning styles-based instruction effective? A comprehensive analysis of recent research on learning styles.

Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

2015

Publisher

Sage

Book or Journal Information

Theory and Research in Education

Keywords

Achievement, cognition, interaction effect, learning styles, matching hypothesis, research-based instruction

Abstract

In an influential publication in 2009, a group of cognitive psychologists revealed that there was a lack of empirical evidence supporting the concept of learning styles-based instruction and provided guidelines for the type of research design necessary to verify the learning styles hypothesis. This article examined the literature since 2009 to ascertain whether the void has been filled by rigorous studies designed to test the matching hypothesis and identify interaction effects. Correlational and experimental research recently published on learning styles is reviewed, along with an examination of how the subject is portrayed in teacher education texts. Results revealed that the more methodologically sound studies have tended to refute the hypothesis and that a substantial divide continues to exist, with learning styles instruction enjoying broad acceptance in practice, but the majority of research evidence suggesting that it has no benefit to student learning, deepening questions about its validity.

Author Biography

Josh Cuevas is a professor and educational psychologist at the University of North Georgia.

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Is learning styles-based instruction effective? A comprehensive analysis of recent research on learning styles.

In an influential publication in 2009, a group of cognitive psychologists revealed that there was a lack of empirical evidence supporting the concept of learning styles-based instruction and provided guidelines for the type of research design necessary to verify the learning styles hypothesis. This article examined the literature since 2009 to ascertain whether the void has been filled by rigorous studies designed to test the matching hypothesis and identify interaction effects. Correlational and experimental research recently published on learning styles is reviewed, along with an examination of how the subject is portrayed in teacher education texts. Results revealed that the more methodologically sound studies have tended to refute the hypothesis and that a substantial divide continues to exist, with learning styles instruction enjoying broad acceptance in practice, but the majority of research evidence suggesting that it has no benefit to student learning, deepening questions about its validity.