Monday, August 29, 2011

"This shouldn't come as a big surprise..."

Last summer, as Metro State faculty gathered for a teleseminar by Professor Linda Nilson on "The Mind Has a Mind of Its Own: Teaching and Learning That's in Sync with the Mind," we heard Dr. Nilson claim that there is no such thing as distinct "learning styles."

This morning, NPR aired this story that confirms Dr. Nilson's claim. While individual students have particular strengths, we should not assume that there are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners who learn best when presented with new information in their "learning style."

Does this mean that we can all go back to lecture and expect students to learn, retain, understand, and apply what they have learned? Not quite. Research also shows that variety, or mixing things up, boosts both attention and retention. Spreading learning over time with recurring learning activities also helps to strengthen the synaptic connections that can create deep learning and understanding.

The Center for Faculty Development has a recording of Dr. Nilson's teleseminar available for listening. Interested Metro State faculty should contact the CFD.