EdTech News Round-Up: Learning Styles, Honest Ads, And Enhancing Cognition

Learnosity edtech news round up

The latest education and technology stories doing the rounds: The myth of learning styles, honest ads, and the future of assessing learning.


Our run-down of the education and technology stories hitting the headlines.

The Myth of “Learning Styles”

The idea of “Learning Styles” was originally coined in the 1990s by Neil Fleming while observing students in a classroom. The idea transformed into what is known today at as the  VARK (Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic) questionnaire, which Fleming used to determine the learning style that best suited individual students.

However, there’s more evidence to indicate that people aren’t really one kind of learner or another, yet a recent study shows that hundreds of students are still taking the VARK test to determine what kind of learner they supposedly are.

The evidence suggests that people do try to treat tasks in accordance with what they believe their learning style to be. However, it seems that this type of categorization doesn’t actually help.

It’s since become evident that students have different abilities but not necessarily different learning styles. Therefore, learners who view themselves as having a particular learning style might be doing themselves a disservice. In other words, tests may help you learn a bit about yourself but might not actually help you learn.

Twitter endorses the Honest Ads Act, a bill promoting political ad transparency

Twitter has announced that they will be backing the Honest Ads Act, following Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg endorsement last Friday. Zuckerberg stated in a Facebook post that “Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act.”

The bill would impose ad transparency requirements on social media platforms, websites and ad networks that see more than 50 million unique visitors a month.

Are Algorithms the New Campaign Donation?

In the past month, there has been much discussion in the news about the use of algorithms in elections.

The development of new behavioral models shines a light on a new and dangerous age of algorithmic electioneering. These behavioral models would combine psychological profiles, an enormous collection of demographics, and consumer data already bought by political campaigns from commercial data brokers.

These types of behavioral models would enable political campaigns to promote content and political advertising to a segment of people who were susceptible to tailored messages and are also likely to share this content within their social networks.

A Futuristic Look at Assessing Learning

How do we enhance cognition?

The brain is now having to work harder because of how our brains intersect with devices, programs, and software.

Ninety-five percent of people report multitasking with technology every day. This constant drain on our attention affects our cognitive control or the mental abilities that enable us to enact our goals.

Enhancing human cognition is not about increasing the amount of information that is available to students, it is building the underlying information processing systems that this transfer depends upon. Click To Tweet

The multitasking brain is a “distracted mind” and cognitive interferences affect sleep, relationships, education, emotion, working memory, decision-making, and perception.

Enhancing human cognition is not about increasing the amount of information that is available to students, it is building the underlying information processing systems that this transfer depends upon.

In order to allow our brains to develop their full potential, we need to take control over how we use technology.

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