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Author Topic: Learning Styles Debunked?  (Read 7324 times)

Joe Hubbard

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Learning Styles Debunked?
« on: February 01, 2011, 11:48:42 AM »

Are you a verbal learner or a visual learner? Chances are, you've pegged yourself or your children as either one or the other and rely on study techniques that suit your individual learning needs. And you're not alone— for more than 30 years, the notion that teaching methods should match a student's particular learning style has exerted a powerful influence on education. [read full story]:

http://www.labspaces.net/101195/Learning_styles_debunked

Joe
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Kelly Knight

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2011, 01:15:57 PM »

Joe,

Thanks for the link. Vital to all MA instructors, I think. I remember reading that article a while back, late '08 maybe? After reading it, I did some other research on the subject and here is one of the bookmarks (from early '10) that I still have:

http://cedarsdigest.blogspot.com/2010/02/learning-styles-whats-being-debunked.html

...on debunking the debunkers. Interesting stuff and well worth a gander if it pertains to other SFCers!

I have yet to meet another MA instructor that teaches in one style only. I certainly make it a point to incorporate every style that I possibly can. Ain't that the beauty of MA and another reason that MA is such a powerful tool.

Another selling point to potential students!

Thanks again.

Kelly Knight
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 01:17:31 PM by Kelly Knight »
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Joe Hubbard

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 05:35:20 AM »

I don’t think that article has much credibility.  It is a biased account from a teacher who has faith in the different learning styles system.  The whole “learning styles” approach seems to make sense on the surface (I must admit I have fallen for and/or put way too much emphasis on learning styles in the past), but I am beginning to believe it is not the holy-grail that many modern day educators peddle these days.

Every time I have seen Hock teach he has controlled his audience from beginning to end by presenting facts.  Most people absorb factual information relatively in the same way.  That’s why the majority of the traditional education system has worked for so long.  I am beginning to believe that maybe these “learning styles” are more suitable in getting people interested in putting in the required time to get good at something.  After 30 years of teaching I definitely “know” one thing- if someone puts in the required time, they can be as good as anybody.  For some people though, the amount of time needed to become good may be more than they are willing to give.  In that case they should really be doing something else.

Any thoughts?

Joe 
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Kelly Knight

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 07:41:32 AM »

Mr. Hubbard,

I concur wholeheartedly that time and repetition result in ...results!

And I think you're touching on an age-old argument regarding MA instructors who have seen "combat" versus ones that haven't.

In the case of this topic, on one side you have a scientific group. On the other you have an experienced teacher. Each have their own agenda and each have their own experiences to pull from.

Who is right? Is there a right? There isn't to me. The important thing is that we, as MA instructors, acknowledge that some people learn by feeling/touch. Some learn by seeing the material being demonstrated in person or in some sort of media presentation (books/video/etc.). Some must hear information to make any sense of what's being discussed.

The truth is that as human beings, we receive information in many different ways..."learning styles"! Not just one.

An example of poor teaching would be a PowerPoint presentation to a group of blind students or audio tapes teaching to the deaf. You wouldn't do that in your classes and neither would I! But some folks do, just in a more subtle fashion.

For example, I once went to a seminar once where the instructor was so softly spoken that everyone spent the entire time trying to figure out what the hell he was saying. It was distracting and ridiculous. Another seminar, the instructor was so loud that it was equally distracting. And how many seminars have you been to where there was just too much talking? Me too! I just wanna try it! How about instructors who spend an age teaching the topic, then yell at you that you're doing it wrong after you've tried it (unsuccessfully) exactly once?!? Sheesh, that's some bad teaching going on there! Maybe his ongoing group of students can learn that way, but I can't. I need to practice and play with something for a while.

This issue is even more important with children. They are still forming in all ways, so it's important to teach them using every learning style possible. Tactile, auditory, visual.

Having said all of that, I thoroughly enjoy not saying a word for an entire class. I do so at least once a month in all of my classes, with adults and children. It's refreshing, frankly. To deprive ourselves of one or more of the senses/learning styles is enlightening and fun for me as an instructor! Alternatively, I turn off all of the lights and we train in pitch black. This is fun and "mixes things up."

So, to me, "learning styles" are all about the senses and the engagement or disengagement of them. It should be a natural process that is fluid and situational to the individuals present. There is no best way, clearly. You can't force one or the other on anybody - that would be counterproductive.

Should you trust a teacher or a group of scientists? Neither! It's interesting what both sides are presenting.

No, the important thing about this thread is that the process of constant, ever-evolving self-evaluation for MA instructors is vital, in my opinion. We must never stop caring about how we are presenting information to our students. Ever. Quality control is job number one!

How many instructors have you come across that are stuck where they are as teachers and individuals? I'll bet you can come up with a ready list. I can too. It's the ones that aren't that I'm drawn to. And those are the ones to emulate...

Thanks for your response! Good points, all. Newbie instructors should pay attention to this stuff - this is some deep stuff about being the best MA instructor possible.

Kelly Knight
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whitewolf

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 09:16:50 AM »

Good points- one thing- old timer instructors should review this also.Some are stuck in one particular way and do not see how other styles can fit in.
WW
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Kelly Knight

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 09:23:30 AM »

Excellent point, whitewolf.

Kelly Knight
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 09:33:06 AM »

In my experience there are different learning styles, but they can vary with the individual student.  A good teacher will observe his students and see how well they are learning what is being taught, and if some are not, adjust until they get it.  I've switched what I was doing in mid drill to do another drill that I made up on the spot to help students learn who were not learning from the drill I was having them do, and I've had a lot of success at this.  One thing I did was to notice what a student was good at and tie it to what he was having problems with.  Other times I had them do visualization drills.  Other times I'd do a drill to isolate a movement or put the movement in context.   

Someone just following the same lesson plan his teacher gave him won't get the same results.

When it comes to representational systems, I usually never bother with them.  They are often contextual, but motivational seminar speakers fount that it is an easy way to "type" people, and with many types of seminars, a 1-2 hour motivational speech with a few "tips" is more popular with companies, organizations, and individuals than a multi-hour or multi-day training where you'd actually learn something.

"Debunking" something that was intended to be used in the moment and changes with context but instead is mis-used to type people really isn;t good "debunking," it is just debunking the mis-application of some of the ideas.
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whitewolf

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 10:43:56 AM »

Ben- that is good what you say about some students have a hard time learing a tactic-so you adjust to thier physicl limitations-that is a sign of a good teacher.
I have some students who were either in a auto accident or someting that prevents them from doing the tactic as shown-so we work on somehting that will work-also which is important is that i get some OLDER students who need to have only ONE tactic taught
for the whole lesson as they forgt if you pass on three or four at a time.
ww
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Professor

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2011, 03:55:26 PM »

I have posted on here about learning styles before....it's not the type, it's teaching flexiblilty.

Why learner?
What learner?
How learner?
If Learner?

based on David Kolb and Bernice McCarthy

I'll read the article later and try to respond better.
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Hock

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2011, 06:10:52 PM »

We will await the words of the Professor. (who is actually a real, college professor)

Hock

Joe Hubbard

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2011, 06:07:01 AM »

“And I think you're touching on an age-old argument regarding MA instructors who have seen "combat" versus ones that haven't.”

Nope, those are your words, not mine.  My post makes no reference to that argument at all.


“In the case of this topic, on one side you have a scientific group. On the other you have an experienced teacher. Each have their own agenda and each have their own experiences to pull from.”

Not necessarily.  The scientific research done by an qualified unbiased group is much more reliable that a group of teachers defending a belief system.  Scientists deal with facts.  People with belief systems believe in the faith of that system which is clearly a biased opinion.

“The important thing is that we, as MA instructors, acknowledge that some people learn by feeling/touch. Some learn by seeing the material being demonstrated in person or in some sort of media presentation (books/video/etc.). Some must hear information to make any sense of what's being discussed.”

That may be true (show me the evidence), but who here as instructors have cognitively operated like this on the fly.  I once asked Hock about this at the height of my reading about NLP.  Hock said he had no recollection about thinking in these terms when teaching.  The next time you see Hock teach, analyse what he does.  Past being a great entertainer, he basically organises and presents facts.  I have never seen him explain something to somebody – including me – in terms of denying any one of the senses in order to get his point across.

“An example of poor teaching would be a PowerPoint presentation to a group of blind students or audio tapes teaching to the deaf. You wouldn't do that in your classes and neither would I! But some folks do, just in a more subtle fashion.”

This is a moot point as I am only referring to able bodied people with all of their senses in tact, not special cases.


“For example, I once went to a seminar once where the instructor was so softly spoken that everyone spent the entire time trying to figure out what the hell he was saying. It was distracting and ridiculous. Another seminar, the instructor was so loud that it was equally distracting. And how many seminars have you been to where there was just too much talking?”

This doesn’t apply as these are examples of teachers with poor presentation skills.  

“To deprive ourselves of one or more of the senses/learning styles is enlightening and fun for me as an instructor.”

Think about that- it’s a ridiculous concept.  We have all learned throughout childhood by employing all of our senses.  If this were untrue, then the traditional education system that we have would not produce positive results.  To deny any one of our senses in order to learn something doesn’t make any sense.  I had always thought the blindfold training during Chi Sao in Wing Chun (many did this with hubad as well) was ridiculous.  Hock was the first guy to totally debunk this learning myth.

“This issue is even more important with children.”

There is nothing wrong with the way we have learned as kids.  Just try to define the color blue.  Most of you won’t be able to because you just know that information and learned it as a kid.  Troubled kids have always been victims of sociological issues not educational.

“So, to me, "learning styles" are all about the senses and the engagement or disengagement of them. It should be a natural process that is fluid and situational to the individuals present.”

It is not a natural process to deny your senses while learning.  In fact, much of this 1970s psycho-babble only creates hoops that you must jump through when you need to recall the information.

“No, the important thing about this thread is that the process of constant, ever-evolving self-evaluation for MA instructors is vital, in my opinion. We must never stop caring about how we are presenting information to our students. Ever. Quality control is job number one!”

I’m right with you on this one, but caring is a different subject than denying one’s senses while learning and having to cognitively cater to that on the fly.

“How many instructors have you come across that are stuck where they are as teachers and individuals?”

Many- most of these individuals shouldn’t be teaching.  Not everyone can teach; Joe Frasier proved that.

Just for the record, I have taught all over the world for over thirty years.  As far as teaching at established colleges and universities, I have taught at:
-   The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles
-   The Academy of Contemporary Music in England
-   The Rotterdam Music Conservatory in Holland
-   The Guitar Institute in London
-   Brunel University in London (member of staff)
-   Richmond Community College in London (member of staff)
-   Bass Tech in London (member of staff)

With that said, I'm no scientist.

Best- Joe


« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 07:17:56 AM by Joe Hubbard »
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"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side"

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Kelly Knight

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2011, 09:21:15 AM »

Mr. Hubbard,

Right you are. I should have worded that particular observation differently. I had no intention of implying that you brought that particular subject up. That was mine solely.

My additions to the conversation seem to have irritated you. Was your original intent with the topic posting to preclude discourse? If so, that was, again, my mistake.

Regardless, I have found this particular discussion interesting and have enjoyed the discussion - both sides of the argument! I hope that you understand that I was merely adding my two cents worth and not looking to question you personally in any way.

Thank you for posting the link to the article.

Kelly Knight
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TLE

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 11:30:11 AM »

one of the things an instructor must overcome is teaching to his/her learning style. We tend to teach the way we were taught and also the way we we like to learn. I love lectures by experts.  I love theory.  However, I have learned I am in the minority.  Most people want to be actively engaged, constructing their own meaning and knowledge from experience. For example- throw two students bubber knives and tell them to try to kill each other and then have them de brief and take it from there, rather than talking bout knife grips, footwork, blade orientation, angles of attack, etc... Now, I blend both- lecture and theory with experiential activities.
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Hock

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 12:36:37 PM »

This is similar to have I have to teach my sims gun courses. For example, I often let people do a close-quarter shoot-out task, and they resort to paper target range training methods, and often, they both wind up shoot each other multiple times.

Then I ask, "How's that working for ya?"

Then we work from there. I can't say I do that with everything though. Often I don't have the time. I load them up first with some ideas and moves, then let them experiment. I can't make a fighter (and I hate using that term) in a seminar. All that experimentation has to be done in regular, routine classes - the core of training.

Hock

Joe Hubbard

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 04:31:37 AM »

Mr. Hubbard,

Right you are. I should have worded that particular observation differently. I had no intention of implying that you brought that particular subject up. That was mine solely.

My additions to the conversation seem to have irritated you. Was your original intent with the topic posting to preclude discourse? If so, that was, again, my mistake.

Regardless, I have found this particular discussion interesting and have enjoyed the discussion - both sides of the argument! I hope that you understand that I was merely adding my two cents worth and not looking to question you personally in any way.

Thank you for posting the link to the article.

Kelly Knight

Hi Kelly

Relax…and please do away with the Mister business- we’re just having a chat here; I’m not irritated with you at all.  That’s the trouble with these forums; people often respond with their feelings rather than knowledge or research of a subject.  I’m not claiming to be right or wrong here; I’m just stating that I no longer believe in these “learning systems” as they are now espoused.  Denying anyone (teacher or student) of any of their senses during the learning process is a preposterous notion.  I was merely reporting that there is now scientific evidence supporting this view.  If anyone has any other information to the contrary based on non-biased research, then please come forward and share that with us.

Joe

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"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side"

Hunter S. Thompson

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Visit My Blog: http://joehubbard.wordpress.com

Kelly Knight

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Re: Learning Styles Debunked?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2011, 01:32:47 PM »

Joe,

No worries, then! Thanks for your clarification.

I also would like to read further studies, papers or opinion published post-2008. Though, biased or unbiased in my case, I find both interesting.

Kelly Knight
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