The term “learning style” refers to the way individuals prefer to learn. There are four basic ways in which people learn: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (Cherry, 2019). Read the following descriptions below about each of the four learning styles. You can also take this quiz to see which type of learning style best fits you.
Visual learners prefer to take in information using charts, maps, graphs, diagrams, and more. Using images to explain concepts and ideas is the best way to reach a visual learner. However, this type of learning style does not include photographs or videos. Instead, visual learners learn best when information is presented using patterns, shapes, and other visual aids in the place of written or spoken words. One way educators, employers, and mentors can differentiate their instruction for visual learners is by using graphic organizers to teach a lesson. For example, a flow chart might be used to explain a scientific process.
This learning style describes students who learn best when information is heard or spoken. They benefit from lectures, group discussion, and other strategies that involve talking things through. According to the VARK learning model, aural learners remember information with music and prefer podcasts (Cherry, 2019). To help auditory learners learn, teachers can post audio recordings of lessons on class websites, or incorporate group activities that require students to explain concepts to their classmates.
Individuals who learn best from reading/writing prefer information to be presented using words in text. They love to read and perform well on written assignments such as stories or book reports. “This preference emphasizes text-based input and output – reading and writing in all of its forms” (VARK, 2022) A great way to learn through reading/writing is to describe diagrams or charts using written statements. Notes can then be studied later to better retain the information.
Kinesthetic learners retain information best when they can use tactile experiences and carry out a physical activity to practice applying new information. Sitting still is hard for people with this learning style. Hands-on approaches such as practice with manipulating objects suit a kinesthetic learner. Give these students a working example of an idea or process, or task them with recreating experiments to illustrate concepts.
Fitting into one specific style of learning won’t resonate with everyone. Psychologists call these learners “multimodal” (Cherry, 2019). You may find that you use different learning styles depending on the setting. Try each of them to provide the best learning experience for you.
Vark Learn Limited. (2022). Visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic: a guide to learning preferences. https://vark-learn.com/
Cherry, K. (2019). Overview of VARK learning styles. Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/vark-learning-styles-2795156
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