Every student has a strategy they use to remember information more efficiently while studying. Some of them take notes; some make diagrams; some prefer to listen to lectures, etc. Since no learning style fits all students, scientists have conducted research in order to understand the way students learn new information best.
Let’s look at the different types of learning they have distinguished.
What Are the Main Four Types of Learning in Education?
We mentioned before that scientists have for years tried to understand the best ways students learn through research. One of the popular theories, to this day, is the VARK model. This model identifies four types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing.
Most people are a combination of these four styles, but more times than not, they have a predominant style of learning. Each of these styles has a complementary way of teaching. Now, let’s see the characteristics each of these styles entails and how best to make use of them.
Visual learning style
Visual learners are individuals who prefer to take in their information visually—be that with maps, graphs, diagrams, charts, and others. However, they don’t necessarily respond well to photos or videos, rather needing their information using different visual aids such as patterns and shapes.
The best way to present to visual learners is by showing them the relationship between different ideas visually. For instance, when explaining a scientific process, it can be done by using a flow chart.
Auditory learning style
Auditory learners are individuals who learn better when they take in information in auditory form when it is heard or spoken. They are prone to sorting their ideas after speaking, rather than thinking ideas through before. Since, to them, saying things out loud helps them understand the concept.
Auditory learners learn best when information is presented to them via strategies that involve talking, such as lectures and group discussions. They can benefit from repeating back the lessons, having recordings of the lectures, group activities that require classmates explaining ideas, etc.
Kinesthetic learning style
Kinesthetic learners are individuals who prefer to learn by doing. They enjoy a hands-on experience. They are usually more in touch with reality and more connected to it, which is why they require using tactile experience to understand something better.
The best way to present new information to a kinesthetic learner is through personal experience, practice, examples, or simulations. For instance, they can remember an experiment by recreating it themselves.
Reading/writing learners consume information best when it’s in words, whether that’s by writing it down or reading it. To them, text is more powerful than any kind of visual or auditory representation of an idea. These individuals usually perform very well on written assignments.
There are different ways to get a reading/writing learner to engage and understand a certain lesson. For instance, it would be best to have them describe charts and diagrams by written statements, take written quizzes on the topics, or give them written assignments.
Other Types of Learning Styles
Now that we have discussed some learning styles that have been around for a while, it’s time we dug a little deeper and introduced some other, lesser-known learning styles. It is important to note that not everyone agrees on the types of learning styles, their names, or even their number. Recent studies and theories from psychologists and experts in the field suggest that there are anywhere between 3 to 170 different types of learning styles. Other types of learning styles, based on one of the senses and a social aspect, include:
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As the name suggests, analytical learners depend on logic and analytical skills to understand a particular subject. These types of learners search for connections, causes, patterns, and results in their learning. A teacher can engage and motivate analytical learners by posing questions that require interpretation, using material that activates problem-solving skills and stimulating students to reach conclusions based on facts or reasoning.
These types of learners favor educational lessons that include peer work or participation. Social/ linguistic learners get two things out of this participation: socializing (which they love) and a better understanding of a subject. Teachers can motivate these types of learners by using role-playing, group activities, and encouraging student interaction (asking questions, sharing stories, etc.).
Otherwise known as solo learners, these students are the opposite of social learners. Solitary learners prefer to study alone without having to interact with other learners. Individual work is a solo student’s forte. Teachers can help these types of learners by using activities that require individual work (including keeping a diary) and problem-solving skills, recognizing a student’s individual accomplishments, etc.
These types of learners excel when in contact with nature. A nature learner’s ideal study environment is a calm and relaxing environment. If we had to compare nature learners with another type, it would be tactile learners. The only difference is the nature part of this deal, as nature learners need to be outside to learn better. While learning in nature may not always be possible, teachers can still nurture this learning style in students by assigning hands-on activities, having classes outdoors when possible, and using nature examples when explaining a new lesson.
How Do Students Learn Best?
Given that everyone has a unique learning method, it would be wrong to say that a specific learning style is the best way to go. However, understanding your own style of learning is very important to your studies.
Since the way someone best consumes information can be a deciding factor in their academic success, understanding what kind of learner they are is vital. You can do this by trying all four methods of learning, and then deciding which one helps you remember best. Once you know what kind of style fits you, you can tailor your studies to fit your needs.
There are many factors that affect how someone learns best, including the environment, and cognitive and emotional factors. However, understanding your learning style can help you learn more easily.
On the other hand, even teachers need to be aware of the many different learning styles they might encounter when teaching. Though it is easier for one individual to understand and incorporate a specific learning style to get better results, it is not that easy for a teacher with, say, 20 students in one classroom. However, this does not mean that a teacher should just give up trying to understand and cater to their students’ needs altogether. A simple solution to this dilemma might be using as many activities and exercises as possible that cater to different learning styles. This way, a teacher has a better chance of reaching a bigger ‘audience’, and every student gets an opportunity to learn in their preferred circumstances every once in a while.
According to the VARK system, there are four types of learning styles—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. We hope this article helped you understand in which category you fall!