Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

"Every student learns and processes information differently, mainly due to their behavioral or cultural differences." To me, it would be surprising if this were not true. Despite the repeated assertions in several quarters that there are no such things as learning styles, research on them continues to be published. In this article the authors use an artificial neural network (ANN) to identify individuals' learning styles based on their work. It's not the first such study, and I expect that future data mining research will continue to find differences in the way students study and learn. And if studies continue to find them it becomes absurd to continue saying they don't exist. The best that can be said, I think, is that knowledge of learning styles is not relevant to instructional design or selection of learning materials. The authors report that "the findings of this study are now being used in the development of a self-regulated smart learning environment to support students learning experiences." So even these latter assertions become more difficult to sustain.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 21, 2021 4:23 p.m.