Students’ Guide to Different Learning Styles

Illustration by Алена Молчанова via Dribbble

Every person sees the world around them in their unique way. We all have our particular methods to learn, process new information, communicate, and express ourselves. Our learning preferences actually define the way we speak, interact with others, and achieve our goals.

According to the framework introduced by Neil Fleming, there are four approaches to acquiring knowledge: visual, auditory, reading/writing (linguistic), and kinesthetic. Other scholars have proposed their models, but VARK is still the most widely cited in modern educational theory. Let’s have a closer look at its components.

 icon-chevron-circle-right Visual

Visual learners comprise the largest portion of the student population. According to the Social Science Research Network, approximately 65% of people need to see what they are learning. This type of students like to render new material into concept maps, flowchart, graphs, tables, and labeled diagrams. They also respond well to images, posters, infographics, and creative presentations.

The visual style is also often dubbed spatial learning. That is because adherents of this approach tend to use visual symbols not just as a way to convey information but also to show the relationship between concepts, thoughts, and ideas. Symbolic arrows, color-coding, joining spokes, and other marks are efficient means to make the links between different subject areas or to establish a hierarchy of various elements.

Good spatial understanding not only serves educational purposes but has a practical application as well. It gives learners a superb sense of direction. If you belong to this category, you are likely to have a flair for map reading and navigation. Other “superpowers” may include good dress sense, color balance skills, and remarkable visual memory. These could lead to careers in design, visual art, photography, architecture, and engineering.

 icon-chevron-circle-right Auditory

Some people are able to remember more when they are given a chance to listen to information. The current educational system gives such students plenty of opportunities to succeed as 80 % of all instructions are delivered orally. Auditory learners also benefit from watching videos, using mobile phones, and listening to audiobooks, sound recordings, or radio.

These students are at their best when participating in study groups. Discussing course materials with their peers helps them to gain valuable insights into complex issues. They can also enhance their learning experience by doing presentations or answering questions. However, as good as they are with vocal statements, they may fret over written assignments. If this sounds like you, you can try or to get professional help.

A sure way to spot an auditory person is to watch how they respond to the sounds of their environment. They can notice audible signals like changes in tone, pitch, or timbre. They are also good at catching rhymes, tunes, and jingles. Auditory learners tend to use their own voices to reinforce new concepts. They often read aloud to themselves and like to talk things through.

Using music is a perfect anchoring technique for this group, where songs and audio recordings are the means to create an association with learning content. The natural aptitude for sounds often leads auditory learners to careers related to playing, conducting, or composing music. They can also succeed as recording engineers, speech pathologists, or language teachers.

 icon-chevron-circle-right Linguistic

People who best express themselves through spoken or written words are called linguistic or verbal learners. Their all-time favorite methods to memorize new information are assertions, scripting, and reading. They are more likely to trust an EssayService review from, which they can read, than one given by a fellow classmate orally. They are fond of activities that help to make full use of the language. This includes role-playing, storytelling, and group discussions.

Words are the cornerstone of linguistic learners’ cognitive function. Thus, they are constantly looking for opportunities to expand their vocabulary. These are the people who enjoy looking up words in the dictionary. Moreover, they are often addicted to Google search, Wikipedia articles, diaries, thesauri, and quotations.

Linguistic competence allows verbal learners to play on the meaning or sound of words. That’s why they are amused by tongue twisters, limericks, acronyms, and mnemonic phrases. All these tools assist them with absorbing information, which they can later convey into essays, reports, diaries, PowerPoint presentations, and engaging speeches. Such a skill set makes them suitable for roles in public speaking, journalism, politics, and writing.

 icon-chevron-circle-right Kinesthetic

If you are familiar with the learning by doing concept, then you know exactly what kinesthetic style refers to. When dealing with a new skill or topic, experiential learners don’t mind “getting their hands dirty.” In fact, that’s what they crave. Sitting and listening to instructions is definitely not their cup of tea. Touch, movement, and physical interaction with things are the activities that help them to learn much better.

Kinesthetic learners usually have a hard time showing off their skills in a conventional classroom environment. However, using flashcards, working with physical objects, drawing diagrams, and making models can engage them in productive ways. Such students thrive in role-playing exercises, lab experiments, moot courts, and clinical work. Thus, they tend to pursue careers in mechanical, construction, and repair work, emergency services, physical education, sports, or entertainment.

Embracing Different Styles

Though these are the most common ways that people learn, you will hardly find anyone who uses only one method. We tend to mix different styles according to our educational setting. This is actually good news. Researchers have found that switching between various approaches helps to remember more of what we learn. It’s because we involve different brain areas responsible for each learning style.

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