#Biggest #Myth #Education
– This video is about learning styles. What kind of learner are you? – Oh yeah, I’m a visual person so I have to see things, yeah. – Oh yeah, same. – I think visual learner. – Visual. – I mean, like, I remember formulas like auditory.
– I need to be like, interacting with the material. – I like to learn by doing it myself. – Very hands-on. – Hands-on learner. – Hands-on? – So like, if I have a model, I’d like to look at that and look it over. – Part of this video was sponsored by Google Search.
There is this idea in education that everyone has their own preferred way of learning, their so-called learning style. If information is presented in accordance with the learning style, well, then they’ll learn better. Now, there are dozens of different learning style theories, but the most common one identifies four main learning styles, visual, auditory,
Reading-writing, and kinesthetic or VARK for short. Visual learners learn best from images, demonstrations, and pictures. – People may say things, but I can’t really take it in. I just gotta see ’em act it out or write it or something. – [Derek] Auditory learners learn best from listening to an explanation.
– Like in school, I was always engaged in the lecture and that was usually good enough to pass a test. – [Derek] Reading-writing learners learn best from reading and writing. – Like I can get pretty much anything out of reading a textbook or something. – [Derek] And kinesthetic learners learn best by doing.
Physically interacting with the world. – Hands-on. You have to touch things, you have to play with things, you know, it’s a contact sport. You have to do it yourself. – I want to try something with you, a little experiment. I want to show you 10 pictures of things
And I don’t want you to say anything while you’re looking at them, and at the end of the 10 you tell me how many you can remember. – Okay. – Okay? – Okay. – Okay. – Now, learning styles make intuitive sense because we know everyone is different. Some people have better spacial reasoning.
Others have better listening comprehension. We know some people are better readers while others are good with their hands. – It’s sort of very much fits with a broad strain of thought in the recent Western tradition is, we’re all unique, we’re all different. And so you don’t want to say, like,
Everybody learns the same way. That sort of conflicts with our feelings about what it means to be human. – So doesn’t it make sense that people should learn better in their own preferred learning style? Well, teachers certainly seem to think so. A survey of nearly 400 teachers from the UK
And the Netherlands found that over 90% believed that individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style. – [Instructor] Just like every professor has a different style of teaching, you have a different style of learning. – [Instructor] But when his teacher starts using visuals, Johnathan finds it easier to focus
And understand the material so he might be a visual learner. – [Derek] Can you tell me what that means to you? Like, what does it mean to be a visual learner? – To me it means that for me to learn something
Sometimes you need to draw it or I need to write it down or I need to see a picture or a movie. – For example, science classes, I get bored easily just listening and I think it’s more interesting for me to actually be able to do it.
– [Derek] How do you know that you’re a visual learner? – I don’t, I just assumed. – To take advantage of learning styles then teachers need to do two things. First, identify the learning style of each of their students. And second, teach each student in accordance with their learning style.
On the VARK website it says, once you know about VARK, its power to explain things will be a revelation. But before you take an online learning styles quiz, it’s a good idea to ask, do learning styles even exist? I mean, do you have one? And if you’re taught in accordance with it,
Would you learn better? (warm instrumental music) Well, you could test this by running a randomized control trial where first you would identify learners with at least two different learning styles, say visual and auditory and then randomly assign learners to one of two educational presentations, one visual, one auditory.
So for half of the students the experience will match their learning style and for the other half it won’t. And then you give everyone the same test. If the learning style hypothesis is correct, the results should show better performance when the presentation matches the learning style than when they’re mismatched.
I tried a very unscientific version of this experiment on the street. For some people, I matched their learning style so I showed visual learners pictures of 10 items, but for other visual learners I read out the items instead. Bell, penguin, sun. – Okay, I’m maxed out. – [Derek] How many can you remember?
– I don’t know. – Hair, knife, duck, heart, butterfly. – Apple, bicycle, guitar. – There was a spider. Did I say eye already? – Trumpet, pear. – Pear. – Butterfly. – Duck. – Knife. – Boat. – Heart. – Knife. – Heart. – I couldn’t tell you the rest, that’s all I got.
– [Derek] Most people could remember only about five or six things. – Yeah, yeah. – Six, six is not bad. – All right. – Six. – Six out of 10 which is not bad, right? – Oh, all right, yeah. – That’s a passing score. Candle. – Oh.
– Candle. – Everyone forgets the candle. But a few could remember substantially more, say, eight or nine items. – Bug, I don’t know if I said bug. Guitar, bike, eye, bell, spoon, sun, chair. I’m forgetting the last two. – That’s pretty good. – Eight is really good. – Oh, cool.
– Nine? – Nine out of 10. – Nine, very impressive. But the reason didn’t seem to be because the presentation matched their preferred learning style but because they employed a memory strategy. – So as you were showing I was making an order in my head.
So as I saw more I would just add it to the list and I was repeating the list as I was looking at them so I could just say it out loud. – Did you try a strategy while you were looking at those pictures? – Yeah, yeah.
So I guess I tried creating a story ’cause it’s easier to remember a story than just individual objects. So I tried to tie it all into one story. – This is all obviously anecdotal evidence, but rigorous studies like the one I outlined have been conducted. For example, one looked at visualizers versus verbalizers
Instead of visual versus auditory learners. The study was computer-based, so first students’ learning styles were assessed using questions like, would you rather read a paragraph or see a diagram describing an atom? The researchers also provided some challenging explanations with two buttons, visual help or verbal help. The visual one played a short animation
Whereas the verbal help gave a written explanation. From these measures combined, the researchers categorized the students as either visualizers or verbalizers and then the students were randomly assigned to go through a text-based or picture-based lesson on electronics. When a student hovered their mouse over key words in the lesson in the text-based group,
A definition and clarification came up. But in the picture group, an annotated diagram was shown instead. And after the lesson, the students did a test to assess their learning. The students whose preferred learning style matched their instruction performed no better on the tests than those whose instruction was mismatched.
The researchers ran the test again with 61 non-college-educated adults and found exactly the same result. But learning styles are a preference so how strongly do learners stick to their preference? Well, in a 2018 study during the first week of semester, over 400 students at a university in Indiana
Completed the VARK questionnaire and they were classified according to their learning style. Then at the end of the semester the same students completed a study strategy questionnaire. So how did they actually study during the term? Well, an overwhelming majority of students used study strategies which were supposedly incompatible with their learning style,
And the minority of students who did did not perform significantly differently on the assessments in the course. The visual auditory reading-writing, kinesthetic or VARK model came about from Neil Fleming, a school inspector in New Zealand. Describing the origins of VARK he says, I was puzzled when I observed excellent teachers
Who did not reach some learners and poor teachers who did. I decided to try to solve this puzzle. There are, of course, many reasons for what I observed. But one topic that seemed to hold some magic, some explanatory power, was preferred modes of learning, modal preferences. And thus, VARK was born.
There was no study that revealed students naturally cluster into four distinct groups. Just some magic that might explain why some teachers can reach students while others can’t. But how can this be? If we accept that some people are more skilled at interpreting and remembering certain kinds of stimuli
Than others like visual or auditory, then why don’t we see differences in learning or recall with different presentations? Well, it’s because what we actually want people to recall is not the precise nature of the images or the pitch or quality of the sound. It’s the meaning behind the presentations.
There are some tasks that obviously require the use of a particular modality. Learning about music, for example, should have an auditory component. Similarly, learning about geography will involve looking at maps. And some people will have greater aptitude to learn one task over another. Someone with perfect pitch, for example,
Will be better able to recall certain tones in music. Someone with excellent visual-spatial reasoning will be better at learning the locations of countries on a map. But the claim of learning style theories is that these preferences will be consistent across learning domains. The person with perfect pitch should learn everything better auditorily
But that is clearly not the case. Most people will learn geography better with a map. Review articles of learning styles consistently conclude there is no credible evidence that learning styles exist. In a 2009 review, the researchers note, the contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning styles approach within education
And the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing. If classification of students’ learning styles has practical utility, it remains to be demonstrated. – What we’re expecting is, if your style was honored you’re going to perform better than if
You had some experience that conflicted with your style. And this is where we don’t see any support for the learning styles theory. – One of the reasons many people find learning styles so convincing is because they already believe it to be true. For example, they might already think
That they’re a visual learner, and then when a teacher shows them a diagram of, say, a bike pump and suddenly the concept clicks, well, they interpret this as evidence for their visual learning style. – You already believe that learning styles is right. When you have an experience the first think you think is,
Is that in some way consistent with learning styles? And if it is, you don’t think further. – When in reality that diagram might just be a great diagram that would have helped anyone learn. When we already believe the world to be a certain way,
Then we interpret new experiences to fit with those beliefs whether they actually do or not. So if learning styles don’t improve learning, then what does? Well, there’s a large body of literature that supports the claim that everyone learns better with multimodal approaches where words and pictures are presented together
Rather than either words or pictures alone. Now there’s gonna be words as well as the picture. We’re gonna see if this is any better. This is known as the multimedia effect, and it explains in part, at least, why videos can be such powerful tools for learning when the narration complements the visuals.
Duck. – Duck. – Heart. – Heart. – [Derek] In my PhD research, I found explicit discussion of misconceptions was essential in multimedia teaching for introductory physics. – How many is that? – Six. – Six, okay, that’s good. – That is a whole 50% better. Do you think that was easier?
– Yeah, yeah, 100%, 100%. – Yeah, with the words, yeah. – Ultimately, the most important thing for learning is not the way the information is presented but what is happening inside the learner’s head. People learn best when they’re actively thinking about the material, solving problems or imagining what happens if different variables change.
I talked about how and why we learn best in my video, “The Science of Thinking” so check that out. Now, the truth is, there are many evidence-based teaching methods that improve learning. Learning styles is just not one of them. And it is likely, given the prevalence of the learning styles misconception
That it actually makes learning worse. I mean, learning styles give teachers unnecessary things to worry about, and they make some students reluctant to engage with certain types of instruction. And all the time and money spent on learning styles and related training could be better spent on interventions that actually improve learning.
You are not a visual learner nor an auditory learner nor a kinesthetic learner, or more accurately, you are all these kinds of learner in one. The best learning experiences are those that involve multiple different ways of understanding the same thing. And best of all, this strategy works
Not just for one subset of people but for everyone. This part of the video was sponsored by Google Search. Now, there are lots of topics out there that are controversial like learning styles, for example. Most people believe learning styles are a thing whereas educational researchers find no robust evidence for them. And if you search for learning styles,
You’ll get lots of sites with resources and quizzes. But if you search for learning styles debunked, well, then you’ll find articles about how there is very little evidence for the learning styles hypothesis. I think one of the most common traps people fall into is only searching for information
That confirms what they already believe. A common mistake is putting the answer you’re looking for right in the search query. A better idea is to try another search, adding debunked or false at the end and see what comes up. And Google makes it easy to get more detail
About the source of the information. Just click the three dots next to any search result and then you can judge for yourself whether the information is trustworthy and if you want to visit the site. A Google Search is meant to surface the most relevant information for your query.
But it’s up to you to formulate that query, try a few different searches, and assess whether the information is reliable. And the whole point of Veritasium is to get to the truth. So I’m excited to encourage everyone to think more critically about how we get information.
I want to thank Google for sponsoring this part of the video and I want to thank you for watching.