Matthias Huber, Claude Muller


Over the last twenty years the VAK learning-styles theory, which differentiates between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning types, has been criticized and debunked by various academic disciplines and declared by several scientists as a neuromyth. Regardless of its criticism, the concept has retained its popularity within the teacher-community and is regularly taught in teacher education. The aim of this article is to meet this theory-practice gap in a constructive way. After (1) a short introduction, this paper starts (2) with a differentiated assessment of the theory. The VAK learning-style theory will be deconstructed into four main hypotheses which are then (3) one at a time, evaluated (empirically as well as in view of teaching practice). After a complex evaluation of the concept and its criticism, this article continues with (4) showing, how the learning-style theory provides teachers with an approachable understanding of learning and comforts them in dealing with learning differences within a heterogenic student body. Considering the empirical evidence on the one hand and teacher’s needs on the other hand, this article (5) lines out fundamental insights of learning theories, as well as (6) the relevance and capacity of emotions for perception and evaluation processes. Approaching (7) learning style-theory from the perspective of learning-theories and theories of emotion, which highlights the interdependency of learning, achievement, and emotion, finally allows concluding the paper (8) with four specific and normative principles, which allows teachers to benefit from an empirical accurate understanding of a complex process of learning and teaching.


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