Are learning preferences really a myth? Exploring the mapping between study approaches and mode of learning preferences

Elena Fitkov-Norris, Ara Yeghiazarian


This article tested for the presence of the conversion effect in the mapping related to the strength of students’ preferences for receiving information in a visual, auditory, read/write or kinaesthetic modality and the study approaches they adopt when taking notes in class, learning new concepts and revising for exams. The results indicated that the conversion effect is not ubiquitous but is context specific and only present when students seek to learn a new concept and revise for exams. It was present for students with strong visual and read/write preferences but only when attempting to learn a new concept. It was also present for students with a strong auditory preference when revising for exams, while these students preferred to learn a new concept by reading about it. However, the conversion effect did not emerge with kinaesthetic-leaning students in any of the contexts studied, while these students were significantly more likely to utilise auditory input when learning a new concept. Overall, the findings suggest that traditional educational approaches such as lectures and tutorials can be effective in supporting the learning for diverse student groups.

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