Learning Styles and Work Styles
Originally posted on Half an Hour, January 25, 2010.
Transcript of a Twitter exchange this afternoon on learning styles.
Downes: hmm: if there's no learning styles then there would be no working styles, just one best way to accomplish every task (which your boss knows)
nlowell: @Downes ok that has to be covered by one of your fallacies somewhere
opencontent: @Downes - Learning styles may exist - they just don't make any meaningful contribution to learning. E.g., http://bit.ly/66J4QJ
Downes @nlowell it's reasoning by analogy, so if there's a fallacy it'd be 'false analogy', which requires a relevant difference between the cases
nlowell: @Downes I'm havning trouble w/relationship of "no learning/working styles" and "only one best way"
nlowell: @Downes Learning Style holds that I should ALWAYS learn best in one style. Content/context are irrelevant. Seems absurd on its face.
Downes: @opencontent That doesn't save instruction either - "we cannot store up generalizations and constructs for ultimate assembly into a network"
DolorsCapdet: @opencontent @Downes Learning styles determine the choice of the PLE
Downes: @nlowell I think we can all reject extreme single-point interpretations of learning style theory (and still agree people learn differently)
Downes: Learning styles have historically been used to have an instructor 'select' an appropriate learning activity (and just as often get it wrong)
Downes: @DolorsCapdet But as Dolors says, learning styles are the ground and license to allow a learner to select his/her own learning activity
Downes: for if there are no learning styles, then there's only one learning style for each content, no matter who you are, and you should use that about
nlowell: @Downes No problem with rejecting single point interpretations, but doesn't that disallow identifying learners as VARK?
Downes: Doing a pretest may or may not help you understand your own style (probably not, with the usual unreliability of tests) but isn't predictive about 4 hours ago from web
nlowell: @Downes perhaps it's semantic but i'm failing to see the link between "no learning style" and "only one style for content"
geoffcain: @Downes Do you have any research on the selecting and getting it wrong bit? I only see learning styles used to ensure multimodal delivery.
Downes: @nlowell The point is that taxonomies like VARK are irrelevant; only instructivists try to test and prescribe; & anyway styles are complex
nlowell: @Downes agree re taxonomy but that appears to be the thrust of the application - instructivist, follow the recipe and learning happens.
scottbw: @Downes there is a big gap between accepting individual differences and asserting there are stable characteristics of individuals
Downes: @geoffcain on 'getting it wrong' - some evidence from the link @opencontent sent http://bit.ly/66J4QJ see also http://ow.ly/10eXs etc etc
Downes: @scottbw I don't need to assert there are stable difference between individuals, only that there ARE differences (these vary, of course)
scottbw: @Downes "everyone learns differently, lets see what works for us here, in this time/place" vs. "aha, you're a type B7, you need module 28b"
Downes: It's just like working - sometimes I know I'll do better coding, others tweeting, or writing - it's hard to tell which on any given day...
Downes: what's wrong is making me work the same as everyone else, as if there's only one best way to do work having nothing to do with the worker
geoffcain: @Downes "The authors draw negative conclusions about a field they fail adequately to review," Mr. Sternberg says. I keep running into that!
Downes: @scottbw no, it's more like a recommender system; without learning styles you don't need a recommender, just assign module 2b to everyone
Downes: @scottbw or it's like having a music selector system on your iPod; without individual styles you may as well play everyone the same song
geoffcain: @Downes That article that seems to be against learning styles points to some strong research in favor via Sternberg.
georgeroberts: Hmm not if she's a good boss RT @Downes if no learning styles then no working styles, just 1 best way to do every task (which yr boss knows)
It ends there. Just as well; I had a meeting and people were tuning it out anyways. Twitter just isn't the venue for this sort of thing, clearly.
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