Have you noticed how some ways of learning work better for certain people? Why is it that some individuals learn better through reading while others learn through videos? The answer lies in identifying and understanding learning styles.
“Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding.”
-Robert John Meehan
What are learning styles?
Learning styles are ways in which people organize and process information, which guides how they think, learn, and solve problems. Various researchers have characterized ways in which people prefer to learn. One of these is the VARK model (Fleming, 1987, 2001). It suggests four styles of learning people prefer, depending on whether they like to learn through:
- Visual modalities, like videos and pictures.
- Auditory resources, like podcasts and discussions.
- Reading and Writing, through books and note-making.
- Kinesthetic Methods, like field trips and hands-on activities.
Understanding the learning styles
What does each learning style entail and how can we use them to our advantage? Can integrating certain elements into our everyday life help us to learn well?
Knowing your style of learning can help you identify resources that you or your children use to learn. This can facilitate the creation of new and innovative methods that can help in creating an interesting learning environment.
People who use the visual learning style prefer to use graphics like charts, flowcharts, diagrams, and illustrations. They also learn through videos and pictures. New things can be learnt by increasing visual appeal through highlighting, colour coding, integrating designs and patterns with information.
Preference for the auditory learning can be seen when people learn by listening and discussing about the topics with those around them. They prefer to learn through lectures and speeches. Podcasts, stories, and songs can be used to understand how to perform activities and learn new concepts.
People who prefer reading and writing like to learn through books, definitions, and essays. They also take notes to learn and remember things. Integrating lists and journals into everyday life can help learners who prefer reading and writing to remember new information. Feedback in a written format can also facilitate learning.
Kinesthetic learning involves learning by using senses and ‘doing’. Field trips, laboratory demonstrations/experiments, trial-and-error methods help in a hands-on approach to learning. Using real-life examples to relate to conceptual information can help gain a better understanding of concepts for people who use the kinesthetic learning style. Role-plays can also be used to demonstrate aspects of social life.
Thus, a person can prefer multiple styles of learning, depending on their likings for different methods. Learning styles can also be situation-dependent at times. For instance, people might prefer to watch a video (visual) to learn how to bake a cake, while they prefer to take notes (reading and writing) while attending classes. Preference for one learning style does not mean you cannot use other styles to facilitate learning.
How to identify your learning style?
Your preferred style of learning can be found through observation of ways that help you learn and remember things. You may find that you prefer one learning style above others, or a combination of two or more works best for you. For instance, a person may prefer to learn by listening to podcasts and speeches by experts of the topic, which means they use the auditory style of learning. Other people may like to read books and highlight the important parts, which shows a preference for Visual, Reading and Writing learning styles.
It is important to remember that there is no style that is better than the other. Knowing your own preferences can help you determine ways that facilitate learning. They can also help teachers and parents design ways of learning based on the preference of their students and children.
Share with us your learning style or methods which help you learn new things.
We hope to create a community that can learn together!
Cherry, K. (2019, November 27). Overview of VARK Learning Styles. Retrieved from verywellmind:
Hawk, T. F., & Shah, A. J. (2007). Using Learning Style Instruments to Enhance Student Learning. Decision Sciences Jorunal of Innovative Education, 1-19.
Klement, M. (2014). How do my Students Study? An Analysis of Students’ of Educational Disciplines Favorite Learning Styles According to VARK Classification. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 132, 384-390.
Image Source: Canva & Freepik