Accelerated Learning and Life Skills

VAK Learning Styles

For my next two blog posts, I am going to share with you some valuable information about learning styles. This post will focus on the three main kinds of learning styles while my next post will teach you how to use your preferred style to learn more effectively.

There are three primary ways that we acquire, process, and learn new information: visually (what we see), auditorily (what we hear) and kinesthetically (what we do). These different learning modalities correspond to the three primary learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK). Although everyone uses all three learning styles, people generally prefer one style over the other two.

Which style do you prefer? Are you a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? To answer these questions, you can try one of the many free VAK learning styles tests available online (click here for a google search). You can also read the brief descriptions below to get a good idea of which style you prefer.

Visual learners learn best through seeing. They enjoy pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, and watching videos. Visual learners pay close attention to a speaker’s body language and facial expressions. They find it easier to remember things they see than things they hear. They are generally not distracted by noise, tend to like art more than music, prefer reading for themselves rather than being read to, and tend to memorize by visual association.

visualAuditory learners learn best through hearing. They enjoy audio tapes, discussions, and verbal instructions. Auditory learners would rather listen to material presented in lecture than read the material in a textbook. They find it easier to remember things they hear than things they see. They usually enjoy reading aloud, tend to move their lips while reading, tend to like music more than art, and are frequently eloquent speakers.

auditoryKinesthetic learners learn best by doing. They enjoy manipulating, moving, touching, and hands-on experiences where they can be directly involved. They learn through movement and understand things better when they act them out. Kinesthetic learners find it easier to remember things when they are being physically active. They are usually good at sports, tend to gesture a lot while talking, and often can’t sit still for long periods of time.

kinestheticHopefully, you now know whether you are a visual, an auditory, or a kinesthetic learner. Knowing your preferred learning style is important because you can use that information to become a more effective learner. As a student, you usually can’t chose how information is presented to you during class. However, you can choose how to adapt and study the information in a way that is suitable to your preferred learning style. In my next post, I will share a variety of strategies and techniques that can be used for each of the different learning styles.

Comments & Responses

5 Responses so far.

  1. Michelle Stevens says:

    With today’s technology, I think visual learning is the most important.

  2. […] my last post, I discussed the three primary learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. If you haven’t […]

  3. A simple explanation of learning styles is this: Some students remember best materials they’ve seen, some remember things they’ve heard, while others remember things they’ve experienced.

  4. there has been an “utter failure to find that assessing children’s learning styles and matching to instructional methods has any effect on their learning.” Guy Claxton has questioned the extent that learning styles such as VARK are helpful, particularly as they can have a tendency to label children and therefore restrict learning.

    • You are correct in that there is no conclusive evidence showing that assessing a student’s learning style and then matching instructional methods to that student’s preferred learning style leads to an increase in standardized test scores. In my opinion, many of the research studies investigating this are poorly designed and executed.

      What we do know for a fact is that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information is stored in different parts of the brain. Therefore the more learning modalities (i.e. VAK) we can use when teaching new information, the stronger that information will be stored within the brain.

      As a college instructor, I make sure that I use multiple teaching modalities in every lesson.

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