Modality preference and learning style theories: rethinking the role of sensory modality in learning

Lodge, Jason M., Hansen, Louise , and Cottrell, David (2016) Modality preference and learning style theories: rethinking the role of sensory modality in learning. Learning: Research and Practice, 2 (1). pp. 4-17.

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Learning styles have been widely accepted in pedagogical practice but suffer from a distinct lack of empirical support. While a diverse range of learning styles have been proposed, modality preference has received the most attention within educational research and practice. Supporters of this theory posit that each individual has a dominant sense and that when new material is presented in this preferred modality, learning is improved. For the most part this theory has been debunked, however, it leaves open the question of exactly how sensory modality influences learning. This critical review identifies methodological limitations in previous research and provides a perspective from psychological science, which supports the implausibility of modality preference as a basis for instructional design. To extend on the existing literature, an alternative position is presented suggesting that modality effects are task dependent, hence modality matters, but it matters for everyone in the same way depending on the nature of the learning activity.

Item ID: 40747
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2373-5090
Keywords: learning styles, modality preference, instructional design, cognitive style
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Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 03:10
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520102 Educational psychology @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390409 Learning sciences @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 100%
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