Friday, August 10, 2007

More on Learning Styles

Today Mark Oehlert points to Stephen Downes' post Professor Pans 'Learning Style' Teaching Method (in particular, the comments thread which I had missed as I typically just read Downes post right through the feed reader).

The whole Learning Styles controversy just won't go away; it's an entrenched theory at all levels in the education and e-learning field. The Telegraph article that Downes refers to shows how much attention the topic still garners.

I went on a mad crusade a few months ago trying to figure out if the Learning Styles theory holds any water after reading Ruth Clark & Richard Mayer's book, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. Read about my humble moment regarding learning styles and more on my history with learning styles. Jean Marrapodi, in the comments on that post, urged me not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater."

I went on to write more about debunking the learning styles myth and why some folks consider learning styles to be a form of fortune telling.

The fact is, there are still a lot of people who stand behind the theory and believe it to be a useful tool when teaching. And there are people making a business out of it.

In fact, just yesterday, I received an email from Performance Professionals, the company behind the TIPP Learning System, the "learning character profile" I completed last year for a teaching job.

Some excerpts from that email:
Last month Performance Professionals launched our redesigned website and began offering several new products through the TIPP™ Learning System. The good news for your friends and family is that NOW they too can access the TIPP™ Assessment and receive a personalized Learning-Character™ Profile just like you...

Second, we are also happy to announce the availability of our newest product, a set of Learning-Character™ Profiles for Parent-Teachers. These profiles are specially designed to help adults help kids learn!

A special offer to me, because I took the test in the past:

Because you have used the TIPP™ Learning System in the past, we would like to offer you the opportunity to re-take the TIPP™ Assessment and update your profile (...because our learning-style values can change over time) and receive either a full Parent-Teacher profile (LCPPT) or a new Instructor profile (LCPI) at the significantly reduced rate of $9.95. [My emphasis added in bold].
On the website, Performance Professionals describes the customized Learning-Character™ Profile as a way to "gain insight into how you learn and how you can help others do the same."

To be fair, I did gain some insight from the experience and found my mind more open to the different ways people approach content and, perhaps, learn.

So should I pay $9.95 to see if my profile results are different today than they were a year ago?

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