Learning in higher education - how cognitive and learning styles matter

Carol Evans*, Eva Cools, Zarina M. Charlesworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The cognitive and learning styles research domain is a highly complex one which has recently been the focus of rigour-relevance debates (Coffield et al. 2004; Evans and Sadler-Smith 2006; Rayner 2006). There is considerable support for the existence and value of style as a construct (Sternberg 1996) even though further work is needed to evidence greater impact on practice. This paper shares the work and experiences of one international research community - the European Learning Styles Information Network (ELSIN) and its attempts to advance understanding of the theory and application of cognitive and learning styles in higher education and other contexts. In so doing it highlights the principles around the development, collation and integration of research as exemplified by the ELSIN experience and considered by other research domains in higher education. Future directions for cognitive and learning styles research within the context of higher education are outlined along with the role of ELSIN in highlighting and leading on these.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-478
Number of pages12
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • Approaches to learning
  • Cognitive styles
  • Higher education
  • Learning styles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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