There is a challenge for the first decent study that proves that adapting your education to learning styles work. This new study that I found via this blog post by Jeroen Janssen is decent. Pashler et al (2008) stated that good research investigating learning styles should take the following 3 steps into account:
- You start examining the learning style of the respondents in the study (in this new study by Rogowsky they examined visual versus auditory learning styles).
- The participants than need to random allocated to groups with half of the participants getting education adapted to their learning style or to a group that is not suitable for their learning styles. E.g. visual learners in one group have to read, while the visual learners in the control group will have to listen.
- All participants need to make the same test.
This study by Rogowsky did all that, but guess what?
Results failed to show a statistically significant relationship between learning style preference (auditory, visual word) and learning aptitude (listening comprehension, reading comprehension).
Abstract of the study:
While it is hypothesized that providing instruction based on individuals’ preferred learning styles improves learning (i.e., reading for visual learners and listening for auditory learners, also referred to as the meshing hypothesis), after a critical review of the literature Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, and Bjork (2008) concluded that this hypothesis lacks empirical evidence and subsequently described the experimental design needed to evaluate the meshing hypothesis. Following the design of Pashler et al., we empirically investigated the effect of learning style preference with college-educated adults, specifically as applied to (a) verbal comprehension aptitude (listening or reading) and (b) learning based on mode of instruction (digital audiobook or e-text). First, participants’ auditory and visual learning style preferences were established based on a standardized adult learning style inventory. Participants were then given a verbal comprehension aptitude test in both oral and written forms. Results failed to show a statistically significant relationship between learning style preference (auditory, visual word) and learning aptitude (listening comprehension, reading comprehension). Second, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups that received the same instructional material from a nonfiction book, but each in a different instructional mode (digital audiobook, e-text), and then completed a written comprehension test immediately and after 2 weeks. Results demonstrated no statistically significant relationship between learning style preference (auditory, visual word) and instructional method (audiobook, e-text) for either immediate or delayed comprehension tests. Taken together, the results of our investigation failed to statistically support the meshing hypothesis either for verbal comprehension aptitude or learning based on mode of instruction (digital audiobook, e-text).