Learning Styles and Generational Differences: Do They Matter? (2010)
Philip Westfall, Ph.D.
Director, Air Technology Network
American InterContinental University Air University
Background: Beginning in the early 60s, Lee Cronbach and
Richard Snow searched fruitlessly for interactions of abilities by looking
for aptitudes (characteristics that affects responses to the treatment) that
explained how to instruct students one way and not another, i.e., evidence that
showed regression slopes that differed from treatment to treatment. Continuing
through the 70s and mid 80s, Cronbach and Snow continued their research by
advocating a closer scrutiny of cognitive processes by focusing on Aptitude
Treatment Interactions (ATIs) (Learning Orientation Research, 2004).
*Simply stated, the research has not revealed a compelling
argument as to the impact of learning styles and their effect on predicting
Postulates learning/cognitive styles have <5% effect on
the variability in learning.
*The majority of research does not support a significant
statistical relationship between learning/ cognitive styles and learning
*Low validity and reliability scores of the instruments used
to identify specific learning styles raise serious doubts about their
psychometric properties, particularly the VAK learning style tests
_Cognitive science has revealed learners differ in their
abilities with different modalities, but teaching to a learners best modality
doesn't affect their educational achievement.