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      The Learning Styles Neuromyth Is Still Thriving in Medical Education

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          Abstract

          Learning Styles theory promises improved academic performance based on the identification of a personal, sensory preference for informational processing. This promise is not supported by evidence, and is in contrast to our current understanding of the neuroscience of learning. Despite this lack of evidence, prior research shows that that belief in the Learning Styles “neuromyth” remains high amongst educators of all levels, around the world. This perspective article is a follow up on prior research aimed at understanding why belief in the neuromyth of Learning Styles remains so high. We evaluated current research papers from the field of health professions education, to characterize the perspective that an educator would be given, should they search for evidence on Learning Styles. As in earlier research on Higher Education, we found that the use of Learning Style frameworks persist in education research for the health professions; 91% of 112 recent research papers published on Learning Styles are based upon the premise that Learning Styles are a useful approach to education. This is in sharp contrast to the fundamental principle of evidence-based practice within these professions. Thus any educator who sought out the research evidence on Learning Styles would be given a consistent but inaccurate endorsement of the value of a teaching technique that is not evidence based, possibly then propagating the belief in Learning Styles. Here we offer perspectives from both research and student about this apparent mismatch between educational practice and clinical practice, along with recommendations and considerations for the future.

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          Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't.

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            Neuromyths in Education: Prevalence and Predictors of Misconceptions among Teachers

            The OECD’s Brain and Learning project (2002) emphasized that many misconceptions about the brain exist among professionals in the field of education. Though these so-called “neuromyths” are loosely based on scientific facts, they may have adverse effects on educational practice. The present study investigated the prevalence and predictors of neuromyths among teachers in selected regions in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. A large observational survey design was used to assess general knowledge of the brain and neuromyths. The sample comprised 242 primary and secondary school teachers who were interested in the neuroscience of learning. It would be of concern if neuromyths were found in this sample, as these teachers may want to use these incorrect interpretations of neuroscience findings in their teaching practice. Participants completed an online survey containing 32 statements about the brain and its influence on learning, of which 15 were neuromyths. Additional data was collected regarding background variables (e.g., age, sex, school type). Results showed that on average, teachers believed 49% of the neuromyths, particularly myths related to commercialized educational programs. Around 70% of the general knowledge statements were answered correctly. Teachers who read popular science magazines achieved higher scores on general knowledge questions. More general knowledge also predicted an increased belief in neuromyths. These findings suggest that teachers who are enthusiastic about the possible application of neuroscience findings in the classroom find it difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from scientific facts. Possessing greater general knowledge about the brain does not appear to protect teachers from believing in neuromyths. This demonstrates the need for enhanced interdisciplinary communication to reduce such misunderstandings in the future and establish a successful collaboration between neuroscience and education.
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              Neuroscience and education: myths and messages.

              For several decades, myths about the brain - neuromyths - have persisted in schools and colleges, often being used to justify ineffective approaches to teaching. Many of these myths are biased distortions of scientific fact. Cultural conditions, such as differences in terminology and language, have contributed to a 'gap' between neuroscience and education that has shielded these distortions from scrutiny. In recent years, scientific communications across this gap have increased, although the messages are often distorted by the same conditions and biases as those responsible for neuromyths. In the future, the establishment of a new field of inquiry that is dedicated to bridging neuroscience and education may help to inform and to improve these communications.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-5161
                11 August 2021
                2021
                : 15
                Affiliations
                Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University , Swansea, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Edited by: Guilherme Lepski, University of São Paulo, Brazil

                Reviewed by: Nathan Emmerich, Australian National University, Australia; Chariklia Tziraki-Segal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

                *Correspondence: Philip M. Newton, p.newton@ 123456swansea.ac.uk

                This article was submitted to Cognitive Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

                Article
                10.3389/fnhum.2021.708540
                8385406
                dcc41fcd-2096-4cd3-9c7c-b69d24954266
                Copyright © 2021 Newton, Najabat-Lattif, Santiago and Salvi.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 24, Pages: 5, Words: 0
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Perspective

                Neurosciences
                evidence based education,neuromyth,vark learning style,kolb,medical education
                Neurosciences
                evidence based education, neuromyth, vark learning style, kolb, medical education

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