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Understanding Learning Styles Based on the VARK Learning System

Jan 12

Understanding Learning Styles Based on the VARK Learning System

Understanding Your Learning Style
It is a widely-accepted concept that each individual in an educational setting has a different method of taking in and understanding information, a process that is represented by their unique learning style. Discovering your own learning style will not only tell you which courses or subjects you are proficient at, but will also inform you of the most effective way of learning and studying for the topics of any subject.
While the idea of learning styles is well-known, there are many misconceptions about what each of the different styles mean, which would then lead to erroneous methods of study. Below follows an explanation of each of the four learning styles of the VARK learning system.

Perhaps the most easily misunderstood style of learning is the visual style. It is widely-thought that this means the individual learns best through the use of pictures, videos, or demonstrations; however, this is not the case. Visual learners process information the best through the use of graphs, flow diagrams, or other similar graphical tools which allows them to interpret data in a logical manner. Students with this learning style should formulate their notes in an orderly fashion, so that they would be able to visualize how the pieces of the puzzle are connected.

Aural or auditory learning refers to the emphasized use of hearing and speech in the learning process. Students with this particular learning style prefer the use of lectures, verbal discussions, and, in the case of independent study, reading aloud to themselves. It is vital to these individuals that their lessons are taught in an audio format, and they perform the best in group settings where they are able to debate and discuss with one another. It is also recommended for aural students to take their notes and reword them so that they will be more easily understood when read aloud.

A critical concept of learning, the read/write style often goes unmentioned when learning styles are discussed in an educational setting. The reasoning behind this is simply because the educational system is built upon the read/write style – and the majority of teachers simply require their students to be good at it. However, reading and writing do constitute a specific learning style, and the individuals that possess this style of learning would do best by simply reading, re-reading, and writing out the material learned in a structured form, such as a categorized list or dictionary. For those individuals who do not find the read/write style as the most proficient method of learning, it is very important to take and modify text-based materials to adhere to their own learning style in order to thoroughly understand the information given.

The final mode of learning in the VARK system is the kinaesthetic or tactile approach to education. This learning style is the embodiment of the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Individuals who are kinaesthetic learners are most effective with learning things through actively performing the required tasks. They also excel at the application of concepts into real-life scenarios, such as the incorporation of algebra concepts into word problems in a mathematics class. Tactile learners should focus on doing practice problems when studying, instead of simply reading over a textbook or notes.

For a quick quiz in order to determine your specific learning style, visit: