- The best known review (that of Pashler et al in 2008) prompted a small rush of new studies. Like previous studies, many of these were poorly designed. I identified 16 studies that were interpretable. Three offered support for two different learning styles theories, which I suggested indicated these theories merit further investigation. Thirteen studies did not support styles theories. In short, this review leads to the same conclusion that previous reviews have. There are many theories, but none come close to the standard of evidence we'd want before advising teachers to revise their practice to align with the theory.
- What’s new: Previous reviews have consistently shown that people believe they have a learning style, but only recently has evidence emerged showing that people will act on that belief, recoding information to be consistent with their style, if given the chance. This conclusion is tentative (there are only a handful of studies showing it, but the studies were very tightly crafted) and it only applies to a couple of learning styles theories. Acting on your learning style does not bring any benefit—you don’t do the task any more efficiently.
- There are, however, substantial task effects. That is, you’re much more successful doing certain tasks verbally, and treating other tasks visually. The cost or benefit of using one or the other type of processing is the same, whether you’re a “verbalizer” or “visualizer.”
I close the article with some considerations for the classroom, focusing on these task effects.