The Biggest Myth In Education


You are not a visual learner — learning styles are a stubborn myth. Part of this video is sponsored by Google Search.

Special thanks to Prof. Daniel Willingham for the interview and being part of this video.
Special thanks to Dr Helen Georigou for reviewing the script and helping with the scientific literature.
Special thanks to Jennifer Borgioli Binis for consulting on the script.
MinutePhysics video on a better way to picture atoms —


Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest, 9(3), 105-119. —

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

Massa, L. J., & Mayer, R. E. (2006). Testing the ATI hypothesis: Should multimedia instruction accommodate verbalizer-visualizer cognitive style?. Learning and Individual Differences, 16(4), 321-335. —

Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 42(5), 32-35.—

Husmann, P. R., & O’Loughlin, V. D. (2019). Another nail in the coffin for learning styles? Disparities among undergraduate anatomy students’ study strategies, class performance, and reported VARK learning styles. Anatomical sciences education, 12(1), 6-19. —

Snider, V. E., & Roehl, R. (2007). Teachers’ beliefs about pedagogy and related issues. Psychology in the Schools, 44, 873–886. doi:10.1002/pits.20272 —

Fleming, N., & Baume, D. (2006). Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree!. Educational developments, 7(4), 4. —

Rogowsky, B. A., Calhoun, B. M., & Tallal, P. (2015). Matching learning style to instructional method: Effects on comprehension. Journal of educational psychology, 107(1), 64. —

Coffield, Frank; Moseley, David; Hall, Elaine; Ecclestone, Kathryn (2004). —

Furey, W. (2020). THE STUBBORN MYTH OF LEARNING STYLES. Education Next, 20(3), 8-13. —

Dunn, R., Beaudry, J. S., & Klavas, A. (2002). Survey of research on learning styles. California Journal of Science Education II (2). —

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Paul Peijzel, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Research and Writing by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Ivy Tello
Filmed by Emily Zhang and Trenton Oliver
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Music by Epidemic Sound
Additional video supplied by Getty Images

Date: July 9, 2021

40 thoughts on “The Biggest Myth In Education

  1. I've always felt like I was a combination of all learning styles depending on the subject. But there have been many times, including online, where I look something up, get a huge wall of text and WANT a picture or visual diagram. Then I use google images to find out wtf they were talking about and I understand way better. U watch a lot of youtube tutorials to fix things that help 100 times more than a book. lol

  2. It can depend on the subject. Some subjects can’t be visualized. Take something like Options trading.

    Personally, I am in the 5% highly analytical category, so I find complex subject learning is slower for me – so I can get granular. I retype out the entire matter in my own words and then check its accuracy. At times I reread this a few days or a week later and that locks it down. I also take notes at presentations and find it baffling few do. Are people that lazy or far smarter at picking up things? I then learned the People don’t remember much more than 5 or 10% over time. Why people are so lazy is also baffling to me. However, I am who the group turns to to answer virtually any question and I know where to look anything up. I get the feeling that some people are intimidated. I don’t consider myself an instant learner, a few folks can receive information dishes out fast as hell, I am not that smart. The point is I adapted and people have different memory skills or the lack thereof.

    Brought up life styles… Being a critical thinker I bring logic, reason and accountability to debate. I also question the source. Critical stinkers bring a chip on their shoulder, argue what wrong with the world against them (an excuse of lack of success) and have an overall short fuse and at times a big mouth of dummy talk. These same stinkers are easily manipulated by politicians who spend millions to use people as pawns. These same folks expect something magic to happen to get them more money, like tax breaks. 82% of Trumps tax breaks went to the top 1% and the middle class found 53% paid higher taxes. Yet these critical stinkers don’t realize the problem is too low of wages. Both husband and wife (or equivalent) have to work in an average middle class household. People feel stressed because they are not getting ahead. The billionaires are walking away with all the money and wages have not even kept up with inflation. Will this greed backfire when the middle class only afford essentials? In my opinion, we are heading to a tipping point. The problem is the critical stinkers have had the wool pulled over their eyes while the Trumps or the world walse away with the money and the only party pro labor has been the Democrats that the Republicans con the stinkers to believing Democrats are a horrible group of evil people. There are goofs on both extremes. However, most people just have a different point of view and are decent people.

    The answer is writing your congresspersons and senators to say wage minimums are too low and you will support those politicians who show aggression to offer and pass bills to shore up the gaps. Wake up America!

    The average union worker gets $12,500 more money a year with $700 in union dues. I am not saying Billy Bobs Auto Service Station should be unionized. As an analytical, I realize at times you would be far more ahead to move to the opportunities that pays well instead of wallowing in a cyclical trap circle with exit doors left unopened.

    Sorry for the mind bend.

  3. As a SPED teachers, we learn that it's not bput learning style, it's about learning accessibility. Deaf student are visual learners because auditory input is inaccessible. Blind students are tactile learners. Students with Dyslexia are kinesthetic learners, because visual and auditory language input is partially inaccessible. It's about access, not style. Necessity, not preference.

  4. Remember it's just a skill – it will improve with practice. No matter how difficult it seems at the start, you will improve. I thought I'm a dum-dum at maths – turned out I was discouraged because it first bad grade. We often get locked in patterns. Try to identify Yours. And never, ever give up. Keep going, even by little. You'll get there. Learning how to learn is extremely important too, but persistence is paramount in all endeavours.

  5. I’m just so happy that you addressed this topic. Certified teachers were boasting themselves, on how to differentiate between students learning styles. I never saw this theory in reality proven.

  6. The street experiment reflects working memory, not specifically learning style that might be utilized for long-term retention of information.

  7. Flemming argued that an educator should not 'overly rely' on one preference or style or adopt a more appropriate style for that lesson, topic, or theory. This has been misunderstood for years by educators.. A combination of approaches will always be best, not just focusing on a preference.

  8. I'm definitely more of a hands on learner. I have to be shown and then do. I struggled through most of school because it was mostly someone talking to you and then reading. Once I joined this experimental program called Century Hall where they were trying alternative teaching I started to do better and started getting As and Bs in my classes.

  9. That being said I think if you know you are visual and spatial learner its a cool secret to have. Most people won't know how you think or how you arrive at answers. Which is kind of cool advantage to have. Not great when you don't actually know you are visual spatial learner and learn like others though.

  10. i think i can say faithfully that i am not an auditory learner. i'm not sure how much it contributes to a multimodal example, but on its own, i cannot recall even a single 3 digit number if i don't stop and prepare for it 10 seconds in advance. i always have to ask someone to repeat both numbers if i'm comparing them.

  11. i actually was confused when the video started but by the end of the video i realised that i also felt the pressure of what method should i opt to memorise stuff better now i feel a it relieved about stuff

  12. Eh… Well that was obvious because our brain works associatively… The following question would then be: for each person which kind of lecture would benefit more: one that involves both visuals and auditory but lean towards visuals more or auditory more?

  13. The juxtaposition of scientific thought and non-scientific modes of cognition reveals a rather peculiar confluence. Your elucidation in the concluding segment of the video conspicuously resonates with the philosophical framework of phenomenology.

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