Learning is an extremely important and personal experience for people of all ages. It has been discovered that there are a number of different types of learning styles and the different ways that humans retain and process information. The more you know about these different types of learning, the more prepared you will be to help yourself learn a new skill, idea, language or concept regardless of the type/size of the material involved.
The term “learning styles” refers to the understanding that every student learns differently. Technically, an individual’s learning style refers to the preferential way in which the student absorbs, processes, comprehends and retains information. For example, when learning how to build a clock, some students understand the process by following verbal instructions, while others have to physically design the clock themselves. Individual learning styles depend on cognitive, emotional and environmental factors as well as one’s prior experience. In other words, everyone is different.
BASIC TYPES OF LEARNING STYLES
VARK is one of the most popular learning styles inventories, these styles are often categorized by sensory approaches: visual, aural, verbal [reading/writing] and kinesthetic. VARK is an acronym that refers to the four types of learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing Preference and Kinesthetic, it is also referred to as the VAK model-eliminating Reading/Writing as a category of preferential learning. The VARK model acknowledges that students have different approaches to how they process information, referred to as “preferred learning modes.”
1. VISUAL OR SPATIAL
Visual or spatial learning style requires the availability of visual aids around to guide the learning process well. As the name suggests, visual learners are those that learn best when they have an image or cue to help them process the information, they learn best from diagrams, pictures and graphs. They may also need to map out or write out their thoughts in order to really process what they are thinking.
Common Characteristics of Visual Learners:
- They possess a good spatial sense and a sense of direction.
- Can easily visualize objects, plans, and outcomes.
- Like colouring and drawing.
- They have a good colour balance.
- They are good at using maps.
WAYS TO HELP VISUAL LEARNERS RETAIN INFORMATION
- Use charts, graphs, maps, diagrams, timelines and infographics.
- Replace words with colours and images.
- Stay away from blocks of text, focusing on one idea per slide
- Highlight important points in colour.
2. AURAL (AUDITORY/MUSICAL)
Aural learning is a unique type of learning style but it is used to classify those who respond primarily to sound. Unsurprisingly, most musicians are aural learners. This is a learning style that is not often addressed in many schools because it can be hard to teach outside of music class. This class of learners are individuals who respond best to things such as binaural beats. A song that helps you remember the alphabetical order of all the states is a way to tap into the aural learning style.
Common Characteristics of Aural Learners:
- Certain music invokes strong emotions.
- Enjoy listening to music in the background while learning.
- Have a good sense of pitch or rhythm.
- Jingles and themes tend to pop in their head without prompts.
WAYS TO HELP AUDITORY LEARNERS RETAIN INFORMATION
- Hold discussions and debates.
- Speak clearly so your audience can hear you
- Incorporate background music into your presentation.
- Create jingles or rhymes to help teach information.
3. VERBAL OR LINGUISTIC (READING/WRITING)
Linguistic or verbal learning is the need to learn information through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Verbal learners learn best both under verbal instruction and writing. They typically excel with both and these learners are typically those that go into public speaking, writing, journalism, and debating.
Common Characteristics of Verbal Learners:
- Express themselves in both written and spoken word.
- Enjoy reading and writing.
- Like tongue twisters and rhymes.
- He/She has a large vocabulary and enjoys learning new words.
WAYS TO HELP LINGUISTIC LEARNERS RETAIN INFORMATION
Kinesthetic style of learning involves learning by doing, it requires the learner to be hands-on in order to understand the process and retain information. They learn best by going through the motions of what they are learning. You are a physical learner if you don’t learn something until you do it.
Common Characteristics of Physical Learners:
- Notice and appreciate the physical world around them such as textures.
- Enjoys sports and working with their hands.
- Tend to use and pick up on body language.
WAYS TO HELP KINESTHETIC LEARNERS RETAIN INFORMATION
Originally written by Eshna Verma and can be found here.