I have written before about Victoria University’s 2016 education faculty handbook which promoted learning styles theories. Such theories are widely accepted to lack any evidence of being educationally useful. I also agree with Professor Stephen Dinham that they are potentially harmful in the way that they seek to label students.
So I thought I’d take a look at the 2017 handbook.
In the unit, Development Studies 2, we read that:
“Pre-service teachers are introduced to major theorists and current research across a range of developmental areas including: cognition, physical, emotional, social development; diversity issues; individual learning styles; and the contribution of play to children’s development.”
In the unit, Reforming Pedagogies:
“…students will address a number of areas as they influence pedagogy and teaching and learning practice. Students will investigate definitions of pedagogy and andragogy; learning styles and approaches; teaching styles and approaches; praxis inquiry about personal pedagogy; multi-literacies and their impact on teaching and learning.”
The unit on Developing Professional Practice:
“…will include an exploration of: adult learning theory and individual learning styles, preferences and processes; workplace learning theory and practice; and theories and practices of mentoring and coaching in workplaces.”
One of the intended outcomes of a unit on early childhood development is that students will be able to:
“Identify, interpret, analyse and evaluate specific teaching strategies for a range of individual children’s learning styles and abilities.”
One positive development for those of us who wish to see learning styles consigned to history is that I only counted eight references in the 2017 handbook whereas there were 15 in the 2016 version. So that’s progress.