A Helpful Video On Learning Styles

August 27, 2008

Just in case you need to provide some INSET at the start of next term about how children learn, you might want to look at this (apologies to those readers who can’t access youtube):


  1. When I first saw this video, I couldn’t believe it. All the years we have spent in public education on teacher professional development over learning styles only to “discover” that such learning styles really don’t matter at all.

    BTW, tagged you for an award… you can go to my site for info if you wish.

  2. Cheers, will do so.

    I should probably mention that it was on your site I first saw the link to this video, so thanks for that too.

  3. Surely Mr. Willingham’s name is mud in academic circles? I was delighted to see his clear explanation, since I have always wondered if “learning styles” really worked in the classroom, not being able, as a high school English teacher, to visualize (!) how.

  4. Surely Mr. Willingham’s name is mud in academic circles?

    I suspect he’s not popular with the snake-oil salesman.

    But his credentials for talking about psychology check out perfectly well. The stuff we get told about how children learn has never been mainstream academic psychology. Have you ever noticed that most “psychology for teachers” books are written by people who have never lectured at anywhere more prestigious than an FE college?

  5. I have only one small quibble with the presentation:

    Why talk about the shape of Algeria and outline Tchad?

  6. Great video. I was taught that there was no real evidence to support learning styles but that it was just a good way of checking that your lesson had variety. I have looked on Willingham’s site. Some really really interesting stuff on deep learning and rewards. Thanks for pointing me in his direction.

  7. […] the professor of psychology from the University of Virginia (and poor geographer), who created the video in this blog entry has also produced a video on another fad: Brain-based […]

  8. What I have learnt from this video is that if you misidentify Chad as Algeria everything else you say will not be heard by your students.


  9. In case anyone wonders how the myths spread in the English system, well I have some evidence of one of the culprits right here:

    Click to access 8f0de18d05b36729b938129fe76d052c.pdf

  10. […] Never Forget: Learning Styles are Complete Arse April 21, 2010 Some time back I did my bit to publicise a rather good video made by Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology from the […]

  11. For a highly useful overview of the learning styles literature (dating from 2004), see:

    “Should we be using learning styles? What research has to say to practice,” at:

    Here are two quotes from this work:

    In addition, the complexity of the learning styles
    field and the lack of an overarching synthesis of the main models, or of dialogue between the leading
    proponents of individual models, lead to the impression of a research area that has become fragmented, isolated and ineffective. In the last 20 years, there has been only a single use of the term ‘learning styles’ and three uses of the term ‘cognitive styles’ in the Annual Review of Psychology. We have also noted that these terms are not included in the indexes in four widely used textbooks on cognitive and educational psychology. Instead, psychometric specialists speak mainly to each other about the merits or otherwise of particular instruments. (p. 55)

    Finally, we want to ask: why should politicians,
    policy-makers, senior managers and practitioners
    in post-16 learning concern themselves with learning
    styles, when the really big issues concern the large
    percentages of students within the sector who either
    drop out or end up without any qualifications?
    (p. 63)

  12. […] A Helpful Video On Learning Styles […]

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