Learning – The continuing process of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, the base of our continuous strive to better ourselves, the backbone of all daily activities, and the process that teleported us from the caves into today’s society.
No matter where or when it occurs, learning, as a process, is an important component of our lives, and trying to find better ways of going through it generated many significant improvements over the years. It also generated a myriad of false facts, and without further ado, these are our top 5 learning myths that are losing touch with reality.
Myth number 1: Learning styles
More than 70 different models of learning styles have been proposed over the years. While most have been created with good intentions and with the learners’ best interest in mind, there is, in fact, no scientific evidence to prove that there is a sustainable link between learning styles and successful learning. Although numerous studies have claimed to show the existence of different kinds of learners (such as auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners), those studies have not used a research design that would make their findings credible.
Learning styles fans geared up behind the idea that we learn better when the teaching we receive is personalized to our preferred way of learning, when in fact the content should be the one dictating the way knowledge is shared. For example, learning a poem could be easy to do if you read the words over and over again, but the same principle wouldn’t apply if you want to learn how to drive a car.
Myth number 2: We are either right brained or left brained.
There’s a common belief that we all have a dominant side of the brain that dictates how we learn, or that we are more or less creative depending on the side of the brain we use most. However, neuroimaging data has not provided clear evidence whether such differences in the strength of left-dominant or right-dominant networks actually exist. Further, a study made by the UK’s Learning and Skills Research Center states that even in simple actions both hemispheres of the brain are engaged.
Myth number 3: Exercise your brain with memory games
No matter how many times you play these type of games, you are not becoming a genius. You will become better at the type of games you train on, but overall, your brain functions wouldn’t improve. Consider this myth a fad, just like listening to Mozart was considered beneficial for your baby.
Myth number 4: 10, 20, 30 and so on
People remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50 percent of what they see and hear; 70 percent of what they say; and 90 percent of what they do and say… Now, wouldn’t that be nice?!
This whole myth started with a misinterpretation of Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience. He used a graphical representation trying to demonstrate means to incorporate audio-visual materials into the classroom learning experience. He actually warned his readers not to take the cone too literally, but someone decided that adding misleading numbers would be cool. It’s not, and trying to design learning around this numbers is just futile.
Myth number 5: We only use 10% of our brain’s capacity
The sky is the limit, and harnessing all this unused potential would increase our intelligence for sure. Only that… it doesn’t. Barry Gordon, a behavioral neurologist, and cognitive neuroscientist, describes the myth as incorrect, explaining that, “we use virtually every part of the brain, and that (most of) the brain is active almost all the time. Unlike Bradley Cooper in “Limitless” or Scarlett Johansson in “Lucy”, brain scans have shown that all brain areas are always active, with some areas more active at any one time than others.