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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

Debunking the Myths About Different Learning Styles

Are you an auditory learner or a visual learner?  If you answered, "yes," you'd be right. That's because we use all our senses to learn and process information.

In this edition of Two Guys On Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke dispel the myths behind learning styles preferences: In fact, they don’t really exist. 

Our reliance on the theories of learning styles to explain our success or failure of understanding certain information is actually more about serving our human need to put things into categories – combined with our need to explain things when they don’t work. 

Identifying with a specific category of learning style allows us to sit back in our comfort zone and never break the boundaries that restrict us. Learning is hard and inherently requires a certain amount of discomfort. 

What every good teacher strives to offer is a what University of California-Berkeley Psychology Professor Robert Bjork calls desirable difficulty – a challenge that doesn’t incite so much discomfort that the student is driven away by fear of incompetence. 

We all need to flex our brain muscles a bit when we’re learning something and take advantage of our ability to learn in different ways. We can all learn via different modalities, though we may have a preference of one over another.

Below, check out a video of Dr. Robert Bjork describing learning and desirable difficulty.

Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.
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