Ending the year in style(s)

3-Star learning experiences

Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

We’re approaching 2023 and we wish we didn’t have to write this blog. It’s not as ‘stylish’ as the title might suggest. Unfortunately, the idea that we should adapt instructional/learning methods for various ‘learning styles’ because it accommodates for diversity is still flourishing. It’s worth exploring why that idea is fundamentally flawed and what we should do instead.

Recently, a very senior learning leader[1] posted on LinkedIn about the importance of acknowledging workplace diversity and (s)he then used learning styles as an example of how we can accommodate for diverse needs in the context of learning. (S)he used this article, in which Terrence Maltbia, associate professor of organisation and leadership at Columbia University, argues that employers should understand individual differences and ‘personalise learning accordingly’. He goes on to explain Kolb’s learning styles (note that Kolb isn’t referenced in the article): diverging, assimilating…

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