Basic Learning Styles
Everyone is different. Our differences distinguish us from other people. Personality tests evaluate the dispositions of different people and group them into categories that people may relate to. Learning styles are similar to personality types in that most people generally have a tendency toward one or another. Whereas personality types distinguish the character of a person, learning styles specify methods of absorbing information. Most people have a learning style they use predominantly, only switching to a different learning style for particular situations.
This post breaks down some of the nuances of the four basic learning styles, described by the acronym VARK.
Visual learners are directed by imagery to focus on the information that is being conveyed by the resource. You may be a visual learner if you find yourself easily distracted by graphics or if you find it difficult to focus on a large quantity of words when attempting to learn something. Visual learners are most likely to interpret graphics as a representation of information.
The types of resources that work best for visual learners include graphs, diagrams, charts, symbols, patterns, and shapes. If you are a visual learner, you may want to consider including some of these methods to record the information as you receive it. Visual learners may find it difficult to learn through text documentation, as they are more likely to get bored with the lack of optics. If you are a visual learner and the resource you are using to absorb the information uses a lot of words, you can try rewriting the words using symbols or graphics.
Visual learning is the most common style of learning, which may be why it’s so common to hear about a student doodling while a teacher is presenting the information. Contrary to popular belief, this is actually a good way for visual learners to focus on what the teacher is saying, as it keeps their eyes entertained and their brains engaged while paying attention to what the teacher is saying. To the detriment of many, though – if this is done sans the intent of paying attention, it can become a distraction.
As the title would indicate, auditory learners connect with information best when it is absorbed by audible means. You may be an auditory learner if you find yourself attracted to listening to podcasts, radio shows, group discussions, or other mediums that are propelled by spoken word.
Luckily for auditory learners, we live in an age where podcasts are rampant. For example – if you are looking to learn about science, Dr. Andrew Huberman interviews other scientists and creates content that presents information from his own studies and research in podcast format.
I realize that it may not be ideal to pull out your phone during a lecture and record them, but you can ask the professor if you can record their lecture – or maybe they are already recording it. If neither of these options is available, the best you can do is record via text to have the information later.
Reading learners best intake information by way of text. Most if not all of us were required to use this style when in school and are likely to continue to have at least some proficiency reading and writing when in professional spheres. To no surprise, you may be a reading learner if you read a lot. Reading learners may also be attracted to PowerPoint presentations or text-based social media (Twitter – “X” now?, Reddit, Parler, Threads, etc.).
Reading learners are very likely to take copious amounts of written or typed notes when learning. For those who identify most with this style, this is highly encouraged, as reading learners connect with words more so than any other medium. Writing what you are learning in your own words is likely to improve the conversion of the information into knowledge.
Kinesthesia is being aware of the position and movement of the different parts of the body. Kinesthetic learners learn best through hands-on experience or hands-on demonstration. You may be a kinesthetic learner if you encounter difficulty learning through conventional methods, nearly requiring hands-on experience to grasp (no pun intended) the concept.
This is the most uncommon learning style – only about 5% of the world are kinesthetic learners. Whereas most of us would like to have some hands-on experience to solidify the knowledge that we have collected, kinesthetic learners need to use senses other than sight or sound – to actually feel what it means to know the information.
If you are a kinesthetic learner, you may consider videos or courses that instruct you how to experiment with the information.
You are capable of adapting your techniques of learning to any style. These are the basics of the learning styles. There are numerous mixtures and variations to these styles.
Thanks for reading!