The Biggest Myth In Education

You are not a visual learner — learning styles are a stubborn myth. Part of this video is sponsored by Google Search.

Special thanks to Prof. Daniel Willingham for the interview and being part of this video.
Special thanks to Dr Helen Georigou for reviewing the script and helping with the scientific literature.
Special thanks to Jennifer Borgioli Binis for consulting on the script.
MinutePhysics video on a better way to picture atoms —

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References:

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest, 9(3), 105-119. —

Willingham, D. T., Hughes, E. M., & Dobolyi, D. G. (2015). The scientific status of learning styles theories. Teaching of Psychology, 42(3), 266-271. —

Massa, L. J., & Mayer, R. E. (2006). Testing the ATI hypothesis: Should multimedia instruction accommodate verbalizer-visualizer cognitive style?. Learning and Individual Differences, 16(4), 321-335. —

Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 42(5), 32-35.—

Husmann, P. R., & O’Loughlin, V. D. (2019). Another nail in the coffin for learning styles? Disparities among undergraduate anatomy students’ study strategies, class performance, and reported VARK learning styles. Anatomical sciences education, 12(1), 6-19. —

Snider, V. E., & Roehl, R. (2007). Teachers’ beliefs about pedagogy and related issues. Psychology in the Schools, 44, 873–886. doi:10.1002/pits.20272 —

Fleming, N., & Baume, D. (2006). Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree!. Educational developments, 7(4), 4. —

Rogowsky, B. A., Calhoun, B. M., & Tallal, P. (2015). Matching learning style to instructional method: Effects on comprehension. Journal of educational psychology, 107(1), 64. —

Coffield, Frank; Moseley, David; Hall, Elaine; Ecclestone, Kathryn (2004). —

Furey, W. (2020). THE STUBBORN MYTH OF LEARNING STYLES. Education Next, 20(3), 8-13. —

Dunn, R., Beaudry, J. S., & Klavas, A. (2002). Survey of research on learning styles. California Journal of Science Education II (2). —

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Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Paul Peijzel, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

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Research and Writing by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Iván Tello
Filmed by Emily Zhang and Trenton Oliver
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Music by Epidemic Sound
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
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20 comments

  1. It’s more memory storage type than learning style. But my brain typically remembers things by location. Like geographically obviously sure, but way back when I was in school if I had a hard time recalling information, let’s say a definition, I’d try to remember the area in the book it was in, then page, & then basic structure of a page, then fill in what topics were Covered where on the page as I slowly rebuilt & remembered what was on the page. And sometimes I got down to the specific information needed

    Weird fun factoid

  2. I don’t think you learn better but you would rather learn it in a pacific way

  3. I remember taking the test in school. The results would always be even with auditory having a few less checks. I never understood how teachers thought we could only learn one way

  4. that just kicked out the psychology of education class I had few years ago

  5. There is a book “In their own way”…worth a read. I believe top down CORE misses the mark. We had 50 sand boxes to develop educational systems until the federal dept of Education started. Just my opinion.

  6. HELLO VERITASIUM IM A PROFESSOR, YOU KNOW I HAVE A MILLION DOLLAR. DO YOUR JOB NOW 😀

  7. Which is not to say that differentiated learning does not have evidence-based value, just that VARK appears to be a poor model to base those on. Neurodivergent students in particular may need information presented using or excluding more specific media types based on their personal needs.

  8. A person must have an interest in to a subject before you teach him.

  9. Most if not all of what was featured in the video wasn’t learning, it was memorizing. Looking at pictures or definitions then being told to recall them isn’t how anyone learns. You don’t memorize how to ride a bike, you learn how to by understanding why you have to keep peddling and you learn how to properly balance bu using you momentum. By understanding the concepts of riding a bike you’re able to retain that knowledge for almost your entire life.

  10. So as someone who teaches I disagree with your method of testing “performance”. You are missing a very clear point. When I say kids respond best to their preferred method of learning I am not talking about how well they perform on a test. A kid responding well is about how they engage in the classroom. The idea that learning styles harm learning is absolutely conjecture. Multi modal teaching techniques (that you state have been shown to be successful) are still based upon the foundation of recognising separate kinds of learning. I have never been met with a claim that someone can only learn in their preferred learning style or they test higher if they are taught in that style. What I have been told is to try and engage everybody and not limit lesson plans to a singular learning style. The aim of this hasn’t been to teach every lesson 4 times in 4 different styles. It is to grab the attention of people who respond poorly to things they struggle with.

    You have made such an obvious mistake and taken a social issue, thrown out all of the qualitative data, then tested for something separate and claimed that your purely quantitative data has disproven something that is not what people were claiming. You even quote the intent of the theory of learning styles and miss a very clear indication that it wasn’t supposed to be about improving test results. It is about reaching students that even good teachers have struggled with.

    I’m just really disappointed in how this video jumps into a field that it doesn’t understand and pushes this idea that teachers are all just going along with bad science when in fact they are reacting to the engagement and positivity of students. But you can’t measure those things so easily as a test score so I guess we should throw teachers under the bus again. Let’s have Ofsted come in and change the syllabus in a way that teachers aren’t happy with so we can see some test scores go up.

  11. As a school teacher I can tell you that there are a plethora of factors that go into learning such as parental support at home, living conditions at home, student buy-in, subject being taught, relationship between student and teacher, bullying, and even whether the student ate breakfast or not, just to name a few. I agree that multiple modes should always be utilized in every lesson but I still believe there are stronger connections with certain input versus others.

  12. What their tests are not taking into account are how many of the learners are converting to their style. A visual learner may hear the words and then visualize it. Even witj the test on the street. The successful ones admitted to converting the words to stories. It’s a variable none of the studies seem to take into account. Learners process the information differently.

  13. Learning feeds memory. Assuming the subject is neither blind or deaf, the auditory input or visual input contribute to the conceptualisation which is then stored as memory.
    The conceptualisation is the key; not the input medium.
    Personally, I remember what I see as concepts and when reading, where on the page I learned something. I also remember sounds and voices; that is simply audio memory, which only makes sense once conceptualised.