When we learn in classrooms, teachers not only provide subject matter information but they also adapt learning experiences to support the ways that different students learn. When learning independently, we need to identify our own learning styles and find ways to support our own learning.
VARK Learning styles :
There are 4 key ways that people prefer to learn: visually (seeing); auditorily (hearing), reading/writing, and kinesthetically (doing). Some people use a combination of these styles. The acronym “VARK” is used to describe four modalities of student learning that were described in a 1992 study by Neil D. Fleming and Coleen E. Mills. These different learning styles—visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic—were identified after thousands of hours of classroom observation.
Visual Learners :
Students who best internalize and synthesize information when it is presented to them in a graphic depiction of meaningful symbols are described as visual learners. They may respond to arrows, charts, diagrams and other visualizations of information hierarchy, but not necessarily to photographs or videos.
Auditory Learners :
Auditory (or aural) learners are most successful when they are given the opportunity to hear information presented to them vocally. Because students with this learning style may sometimes opt not to take notes during class in order to maintain their unbroken auditory attention, educators can erroneously conclude that they are less engaged than their classmates. However, these students may simply have decided that note-taking is a distraction and that their unbroken attention is a more valuable way for them to learn.
Reading/Writing Learners :
Students who work best in the reading/writing modality demonstrate a strong learning preference for the written word. This includes both written information presented in class in the form of handouts and PowerPoint slide presentations as well as the opportunity to synthesize course content in the completion of written assignments. This modality also lends itself to conducting research online, as many information-rich sources on the internet are relatively text-heavy.
Kinesthetic learners also referred to as tactile learners are hands-on, participatory learners who need to take a physically active role in the learning process in order to achieve their best educational outcomes. They are sometimes referred to as “tactile learners,” but this can be a bit of a misnomer; rather than simply utilizing touch, kinesthetic learners tend to engage all of their senses equally in the process of learning.
Identifying your own learning style
Now that you know that there are different learning styles, you can start to identify your own preferred style. Part of a growth mindset is recognizing that you may need to find a different way of interacting with certain information for you to fully understand and apply it. This can help you determine the types of tools and methods you may need to use when learning independently. You can checkout your learning style using this learning style assessment tool.