The Debunker Club just held the "June is Debunk Learning Styles Month," enlisting its members and the larger community of learning professionals to debunk the myth that learning styles are valuable in designing learning. Here's a review of some of the evidence we were using.

So, did we make a difference in just one short month? Well, we got lots of folks to publicize the issue.

But that's activity, not results. Do we have any evidence that we made a difference? Well, it's probably too early to tell — because this needs to be a long-term effort — but it does look like we've moved the needle.

On June 1st, only one (that's right, just one) result on Google's first two pages of search results was negative or critical of learning styles. Even the Wikipedia page devoted to learning styles was heavily weighted to portray learning styles in a positive light.

One month later (today) on July 1st, four of the search items are critical of learning styles. While this 400% increase is good, and we ought to celebrate briefly, it's still not enough! Still over 75% of the first two search pages promote bogus information.

And note, one of us edited the Wikipedia page to make criticisms of learning-styles approaches much more salient! So folks looking for unbiased information on Wikipedia will now see a much more balanced overview.

How Can You Help?

At The Debunker Club, we have three main channels of persuasion:

  1. We can publicize the myth of learning styles by writing blog posts, talking with our colleagues, speaking at conferences, writing articles, posting information on LinkedIn, etc. By making people aware, and generally more skeptical of myths, we encourage more critical consumption of information in the learning field.
  2. We can make attempts at educating those who are spreading the misinformation.
  3. We can provide better information — information vetted by science or rigorous evidence-based practices as proven to improve learning results.

So, continue to do all these things!

Also, to move the search indices, promote and visit websites that have information critical of learning styles.

The Debunker Club has only been around for a few months. Already we are making a difference! We must always be vigilant!

Onward! Thank you!


One never knows what might happen when he/she declares something to the world and asks for volunteers. In May, The Debunker Club raised the flag and declared June 2015 to be DEBUNK LEARNING STYLES MONTH. With only a few days left in our first such effort, we've seen many tweets, much cheer leading, and likely many personal reflections. We've also got members and others to post their myth-busting efforts on blogs, LinkedIn, Scoop It, Pinterest, etc.

Here's a short list (THANKS TO THE DEBUNKERS!):

If you've seen other debunking efforts, please post here (in the COMMENTS below), AND at our sightings page.





By diagnosing learners based on their learning styles, and then using that diagnosis to guide instruction, learning will be improved.


Probably today’s most ubiquitous learning myth is that people have different learning styles and that these learning styles can be diagnosed and used in learning design to create more effective learning interventions. This myth has resonated and spread throughout the world’s learning-professional community probably because it hints at an idea that seems sensible — that people learn differently. Unfortunately, there are dozens and dozens of ways to separate people by type, so it’s hard to know which distinctions to use for which learner, for which topics, for which situations. More importantly, the research evidence shows clearly that using learning styles in designing/deploying learning does not reliably improve learning results.

Strength of Evidence Against

The strength of evidence against the use of learning styles is very strong. To put it simply, using learning styles to design or deploy learning is not likely to lead to improved learning effectiveness. While it may be true that learners have different learning preferences, those preference are not likely to be a good guide for learning. The bottom line is that when we design learning, there are far better heuristics to use than learning styles.

Even in terms of taking learners’ individual differences into account, there are better guideposts. For example, probably the most important individual difference is learner knowledge of the specific concepts being taught. Good instructors know that one of the most critical things they can do is to diagnose their learners’ conceptual understanding, and deliver instruction appropriate to their level of understanding.

Despite scientific research reviews that debunk learning styles, research is still being done to support the learning styles idea. As Furnham (2012) wrote: “The application of, and research into, learning styles and approaches is clearly alive and well.” (p. 77).

Furnham, A. (2012). Learning styles and approaches to learning. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, T. Urdan, S. Graham, J. M. Royer, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology. APA educational psychology handbook, Vol. 2. Individual differences and cultural and contextual factors (pp. 59-81). doi:10.1037/13274-003
For example, a recent research review of fifty-one scientific studies looked at whether learning styles might be an effective way to design adaptive elearning systems.
Truong, H. M. (2015). Integrating learning styles and adaptive e-learning system: Current developments, problems and opportunities. Computers in Human Behavior. Advance online publication.
The weight of evidence at this time suggests that learning professionals should avoid using learning styles as a way to design their learning events. Still, research has not put the last nail in the coffin of learning styles. Future research may reveal specific instances where learning-style methods work. Similarly, learning preferences may be found to have long-term motivational effects.

Debunking Resources — Text-Based Web Pages


Debunking Resources — Videos


Debunking Resources — Newspapers & Magazines


Debunking Resources — Peer-Reviewed Scientific Articles

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

  • Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119.
  • Rohrer, D., & Pashler, H. (2012). Learning styles: Where’s the evidence? Medical Education, 46(7), 634-635.
  • Klitmøller, J. (2015). Review of the methods and findings in the Dunn and Dunn learning styles model research on perceptual preferences. Nordic Psychology, 67(1), 2-26.


Debunking Resources — Research Reviews


Myth-Supporting or More-Neutral Research Reviews

  • Furnham, A. (2012). Learning styles and approaches to learning. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, T. Urdan, S. Graham, J. M. Royer, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology. APA educational psychology handbook, Vol. 2. Individual differences and cultural and contextual factors (pp. 59-81). doi:10.1037/13274-003.