The way that we learn has been categorised into four styles after a detailed and in-depth study by Neil Fleming and Coleen Mills in 1992. They spent a significant amount of time observing learners in the classroom to identify the VARK model of learning; Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing and Kinesthetic.
Understanding what kind of learner you are will enable you to make informed decisions about what direction to take after your secondary and further education.
Students who respond more effectively to information that is presented in a visual way, through images, charts and symbols, are described as visual learners. Summarising information using visual methods including arrows, charts, diagrams and other visualisations of information means that information will be retained more easily.
Auditory (or aural) learners learn by listening to information that is presented to them verbally. This means that they are often focussed on giving their full attention to what is being said resulting in a lack of note-taking for later reference. Handouts support auditory learners as they can read aloud to themselves at a later stage to embed their learning.
Auditory learners also enjoy group activities where they can participate in discussions, taking in information and learning from the vocalisation of ideas.
Students that respond positively to making notes, reading handouts and researching text heavy information are referred to as reading/ writing learners. The internet is a great source of information and the reading/ writing learner will thrive on the amount of information they can access. Reading/writing learners achieve better outcomes when they take detailed notes as it helps them to process information, making it easier for them to recall it at a later stage.
Kinesthetic learners enjoy taking an active role in their learning through physical participation in the process. This style of learning often results in difficulties in the individual engaging in traditional classroom settings. Kinesthetic learners are often more successful in practical subjects where they can develop their knowledge and understanding through the practical application of the course content.
Which type of learner am I?
The way we respond to learning is not as simple as falling into just one of the styles of learning. Many of us will respond to each style of learning to varying degrees and people that fall into this category are known as multimodal learners.
Take this short quiz to find out what kind of learner you are.