Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection | Tesia Marshik | TEDxUWLaCrosse



The belief in learning styles is so widespread, it is considered to be common sense. Few people ever challenge this belief, which has been deeply ingrained in our educational system. Teachers are routinely told that in order to be effective educators, they must identify & cater to individual students’ learning styles; it is estimated that around 90% of students believe that they have a specific learning style but research suggests that learning styles don’t actually exist! This presentation focuses on debunking this myth via research findings, explaining how/why the belief in learning styles is problematic, and examining the reasons why the belief persists despite the lack of evidence.

Dr. Tesia Marshik is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her research interests in educational psychology include student motivation, self-regulation, and teacher-student relationships.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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28 thoughts on “Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection | Tesia Marshik | TEDxUWLaCrosse

  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    I really don't agree with this it seems that these researchers also need to conduct studies of this with the inclusion of students with autism or aspergers as well. Being one of those individuals, i can say without a doubt that, yes, learning styles do exist for us, but, there's almost never just one particular style for any one individual. Personally, I am literary, visual for math, but visual, kinesthetic for sports and anything related to technology. Yes, i have tried other ways to learn new information but the ones listed here are what make things click and stick in my mind the best.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    When she said telepathic communication didn't exist…in my experience..that part applies to someone who hasn't experienced it. Having a telepathic conversation is much different than when you're thinking of someone and they call. In the telepathic experience I had, you are having a conversation with the other person. When I meditated nearly 24/7, I had a telepathic conversation with my ex, who also meditated nearly 24/7. There is cosmic consciousness, a knowing beyond knowing. Science hasn't proven it, but it has been talked about in ancient texts for ages. [ Look up Edgar Cayce. In his self-written biography, he describes that after a "spiritual" experience he was able to sleep on books and recall them word for word, sentence by sentence, page by page].

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    I think she does not know what does critical reflective thinking means? Thats what her speech tells.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    While there are "preferred" ways to learn for many people, I think the speaker's statement towards the end (and I paraphrase) that "incorporating multiple sensory experiences into one lesson makes it more meaningful for all students" is the important takeaway. In teaching music for 30+ years, I have always tried to infuse my lessons with as many different sensory experiences as possible. It just always seemed to make sense that by using the tactile, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses together in the same lesson not only would touch upon students' individual preferences but also engage them with learning in multiple ways, thus giving them a better opportunity to actually perform and learn the concepts I was trying to teach them. One example of this is teaching students a folk dance. Breaking down the steps and practicing short phrases (kinesthetic), looking at a diagram of the choreography (visual), listening for the musical form of the piece and being aware of the A and B sections (etc.), and singing the lyrics (if there are lyrics to the dance) then combining these activities in various ways- have proven to me that students will be overall much more successful in the end. Elementary music teachers have taught this way for a long time.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    She is so wrong. As a teacher, kids that learn tactile/kenistheticly have failed in a normal special ed classroom. It's essential that this very new theory is used in classrooms and our schools divided into classrooms and taught by learning styles.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    I loved that this challenged me and I'm always willing to reflect on new possibilities, however, on deep reflection and I'm not 100% convinced. Science has been wrong throughout the centuries and it to has faults so to be completely one way or the other is not healthy. What if? What if people who feel more comfortable learning new information in a style that is easier for them are happy and confident with that? Why rock that boat? What I feel that I know is I have a preference to visual learning and am bored out of my brain when someone asked me to read instructions. Give me a YouTube video any day over a written manual 😉

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    It would have been better believed if she had cited sources of the studies she mentioned as "no prove of evidence". Also in my experience, I have seen that if you as a teacher find a learning method for your students that they prefer and enjoy it will make the perfect recipe for effective learning.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Something that stuck me in this talk was the theme that "we don't like to be wrong" and how this led in the close of the talk to implying that any resistance listeners might have to the "truth" of the speaker's conclusions is due to the listener's attachment in their experience/belief in learning styles – rather then to valid questioning of the research or conclusions. Seems to me that the speaker doesn't want to be wrong.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    And the solution or easiest way to remember stuff for a test is….? Cancer is bad because……and idk what to do to help treat it???

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    I mean, I saw the future a few times in my dreams so I dont appreciative her pejorative tone. I mean, it's her life lol… she can 'prove' anything. Stats are malleable.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Question would learning styles apply to people with learning disabilities? I find that I retain more information with repetition. As for the chess positions given one was of a legal position and the other was not a legal position. So being chess aware would not help. The comparison would be better if it where a legal position even if it would be highly unlikely.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    she is right, it really makes no difference what type of stimulus you get, if you see or hear the word dog you still picture the dog in your head. the way we differ in learning really is the way we encode information once it's in the brain. this can be easily improved with associations and meaningful encoding of stimulus. that's how you learn better.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    As student in Sol Plaatje University I think she is right because in mathematics we need to practice and it does not mean we are kinesthetic.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    I suggest, providing multiple ways to access the information will benefit all learners. So it probably doesn't really matter if there's a "style' or not…. we need to cater to all learners….

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    wow! another corporate shill trying to keep our broken school system the way it is so private "learning" industries can continue to make over 750 BILLION dollars a year!

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Cool video! I have to agree to this to a great extend, but I have to also mention: More often than not, just because some of the new theories are correct it doesn't mean we should dismiss everything in the older theories. Even new theories that seems accurate now are also sometimes just a bridge towards future newer theories. E.g. we though that it was smart to figure out the earth is actually round instead of flat, then someone said the earth is not really perfectly round, then someone would venture further about other answers in quantum physics and other new fields of theories that change everything again…

    I have never really believe that learning styles are very accurate or conclusive, it have always been more like something to help us, plus even many of these theorists had often suggested to tap on multiple senses (as the speaker suggested too) instead of concentrating too much on one type – which is why although I have heard that many people are 'visual learners', a lecture with nothing else except a powerpoint slides show for hours would still be frowned upon nowadays. Moreover we have always known that there are many factors other than learning styles which affect learning retention.

    I will be happy if the industry would agree with the speaker that it is not effective to spend too much time/resources to analyse into individuals' learning styles, and we can concentrate more on the contents and other critical factors of learning.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    This helps me understand why I am usually confused when I take one of those "learning style" surveys. I usually feel like I "have to" answer a question a certain way because I believed I was a "visual learner." When certain questions are posed, I want to write-in an answer like, "it depends." I have also felt conflicted when my desired response did not fit my label.

    This presentation presents a lot of great information and ideas to think about in the classroom.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Hola
    Comparto tu opinión, en algún momento de mi vida pensé que aprendía de diferentes formas, pero todos te dicen….es imposible. Ahora que te escucho entiendo que era cierto. De verdad es, que la gente no quiere pensar en cambios, se quedan en el lado cómodo, en donde ya les resolvieron sus dudas antes y no hay nada más. Te felicito.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Don't believe what she is selling. I can only speak from experience. I have been to more schools than I can count and it wasn't until one of my teachers found my learning style that I could retain the information that they were trying to give to me. I met more teachers fixated on reading from the text book rather than explaining the material, creating memorization tools, or having actual assignments that work with the knowledge being given in the lecture. There are learning styles. Besides she pretty much just contradicted herself @4:25. Not only that but storing meaningful info long term doesnt contradict how information is stored (ie visual, auditory, tactile) and thus doesn't contradict the validity of "learning styles." "Learning style" isn't theory, it's fact. That's why the "tell" of someone lying when their eyes go in a certain direction is no longer used in police interrogations. Psychologists found that people can store memories visually and proof is in how people recall information. In other words, people that when asked to spell a word they move their eyes across the sky bc they are visualizing the word and they can't spell the word unless they visualize it bc that information is stored as an image. Most schools I've been to don't teach by evaluating learning styles and the grades show the results. Her theory here is backwards thinking that will do more harm than good. Teachers can use this as an excuse to not do their due diligence and fail to learn about the children in their class and how to reach them (ie their "learning style"). I guess going back to crackpot interrogation days of the eyes going in the incorrect position equals guilt isn't such a bad thing. But schools in poorer communities don't in fact teach learning style and only the more prominent, white neighborhood schools do. The better schools aren't going to switch teaching methods on one persons BS dissertation but a low income school will not spend more money on reteaching their teachers if they believe the argument that basically says don't bother with "learning styles" bc it doesn't matter.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Very useful and informative research, hearing this gave me such a relief definitely doing some research on it.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    Aprendí que no tenemos un estilo de aprendizaje particular, que podemos aprender de muchas maneras. Lo que determina que yo aprenda no es un ''estilo de aprendizaje'' sino el sentido que tenga para mi lo que estoy aprendiendo, valga la redundancia. ( Excelente argumento el de los jugadores de ajedrez, por eso creo que es razonable saber eso)

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    To say someone has a learning style, isn't saying that person CANT learn another way. It's only saying they have a TENDENCY to retain knowledge more effectively in that style. An existing psychological tendency is practically impossible to replace for a teacher who only has contact with a student for a semester. This presentation is well intentioned but a little off base, in my opinion.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    The prospect of learning your instructors teaching style, and adjusting your studying strategies as best you can in a manner which complements your learning style is vital. Trying to equip your self with tools on how to adapt to the material is superb. That is because as much as it infuriates the scholastic community; you don't need to have a doctorates degree to know that in fact everyone learns a little bit differently. If the vast majority of people feel that they have manners in which their learning is significantly more optimal where others are difficult, who is She to contest that. Her high and righteousness imposed on her by the unnatural authority of a PhD does not mean you can discredit the first hand experiences of billions. The reason Her comparison of the "90%" of people believed in learning styles are wrong because they are living in denial is making diminutive the intelligence of all people who appreciate the complexity of human learning. I am very displeased with the way she reinforced her arguments as so. Also her comparison of so called "90%" of people to the likes of anti-vaxers and people who believed that ice-cream caused polio is appalling. She should be ashamed about giving such a biased and loose lecture for a professional of her station.

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