Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Despite the learning style sceptics, academic papers devoted to learning styles continue to appear. This paper (8 page PDF) serves the useful function of calling for people writing about learning styles to be clear about terminology and of describing and clarifying some learning approaches to learning styles in terms of their meaning, reproduction and orientation, "making inconsistencies appear to be less of an issue." They also seek clarity on whether the author thinks the dimension in question is fixed or changeable. All of this goes to show, I think, that thinking of 'learning styles' as a simple four-dimensional taxonomy used for differentiating instruction is narrow and unhelpful. We can look at factors related to intrinsic interest, the relation of ideas and evidence, the structure of critical reasoning processes, intention, and more. Additionally, "the author should, if possible, refer to an overarching term such as learning patterns or learning dimensions as suggested in this paper, and most importantly specify the model used if based on existing models, as well as the tradition to which the research has been most based." That should apply to critics as well as researchers.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Copyright 2021
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 8:49 p.m.