Learning styles refer to the preferred way of the student absorbing, processing, understanding, and retaining information. Individual learning styles depend on cognitive, emotional, environmental factors, and experiences (Flemming, 2007). The most widely used strategy is the “Vark” learning style model, which was developed by Neil Flemming in 1987. The justification of this paper is to provide an analysis of the learner’s individual learning style as per the questionnaire, different learning styles, as well as the importance of learning styles in the teaching and learning process
Summary of the Learner’s Style
The learner gets information by reading and writing. For instance, when asked to give a speech, the learner prefers writing down the speech and re-reading it many times to understand. Secondly, when attending lectures, the learner will listen attentively to the lecture, then write down what he has understood. Thirdly, when telling a story, the learner prefers to summarize the story by writing it down, reading it and finally telling the story. From that aspect, the learner concluded that he gets information better by reading and writing. “Vark” identified the learner as having a reading and writing style. The knowledge of the learning style came to light after going through the questionnaire.
Comparing other Learning Strategies with the Learning Strategies
As mentioned earlier “Vark” is an acronym that stands for visual, auditory, writing/reading, and kinesthetic. The model usually acknowledges the different approaches that students have while processing the information. These learning styles have been discussed below.
Visual learners always absorb information by seeing. They exhibit a profound awareness of shapes and colors. The learners prefer using images, maps, charts, and graphic organizers to access and understand new information. The learners also like maintaining eye contact in a conversation. The teacher who deals with this type of learners is supposed to demonstrate physical tasks, use visual aids, and color codes. From the questionnaire, it is evident that these learners prefer websites that have interesting designs and visual features. They also prefer trainers who use diagrams in teaching and learning. Moreover, after any competition they would want the feedback to be given in graphs. Other than the price of a book, they love the way the book looks like, a situation that encourage them to purchase any interesting reading materials.
Auditory learning style
The auditory learners prefer a verbal language or sound as a way of exchanging information. They acquire knowledge through the aspect of speaking and hearing. They will always be found talking more and listening to stories. Similarly, they understand the ideas more when they talk about them. Educators who deal with this type of learners usually encourage the students to read aloud. The learners are stimulated when the concepts are presented to them through verbal as well as oral reports. Furthermore, they have a tendency of using beats, songs, and rhythm as a way to remember the concepts. They are also encouraged to have discussion groups where they explain notes to their peers (Pritchard, 2009).
From the questionnaire, these types of learners will be seen exhibiting specific features. First, when choosing websites, they prefer websites that have audio channels where they can listen to music. Secondly, when choosing a book, they will prefer when a friend recommends it. After a competition, they desire to receive the feedback from someone who will talk about the results. They also prefer a trainer who encourages talking, uses group discussion, and question and answer method.
Kinesthetic learning style
Kinesthetic learners learn by exercising their sense of touch by using their body and hands. They learn by handling objects and doing things with their hands. They express feelings physically and prefer practical work. They usually learn best by figuring things out when using their hands. Teachers who deal with this type of learners will use the various methods in their classrooms, including demonstrations, use of models, experiments, practical lessons, case studies, and the aspect of applications. Educators are also encouraged to utilize pictures and photographs to illustrate ideas (Gardner & Jewler, 2011). The learners are encouraged to engage in physical movements during their study period.
From the questionnaire, kinesthetic learners proved that in choosing websites, they prefer websites that have things that they can click on or shift. They also prefer trainers who use demonstrations, models, and practical lessons. They will also choose a storybook that relates to their real life experiences. After a competition, they prefer their result outcomes by using examples of what they have done in the competition.
Reading and Writing learners
From the questionnaire, it was evident that the learning strategy that largely appealed to the learner was the reading and writing. The approach is usually exercised using the written word, where the information is absorbed by reading books and taking notes. The presence of noise might divert the attention of the learners with this skill. Educators who deal with this type of learners will prefer using lectures and charts, which require an explanation of ideas by the written language. Educators will also encourage the learners to write and take more notes. From the questionnaire, this skill was evident because, firstly, the learner preferred a trainer who uses books, handouts, and encourages reading. Secondly, when giving a speech, the learner preferred writing the speech and reading it several times. Thirdly, when giving out directions, the learner prefers giving it in writing instead of narrating the story. Fourthly, when the learner is not sure about the spelling of a particular word, she prefers writing both words and choosing the right word from the list. Finally, when cooking a new meal, the learner prefers buying a cookbook and reading the instructions and applying them in their cooking. In essence, reading and writing enable the learner to understand and digest the information.
The learner realized that he all along, had been exercising the reading and writing strategy. His learning style was similar to the Vark learning style; for instance, both the learners write to process the information. The only difference was in the Vark learning style, the learner does not listen before writing, but instead he/she listened to while writing. The learner also realized that the reading and writing learner’s process information better through question and answer, lectures that he did not know earlier.
In comparing these learning strategies, it is worth noting that the kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning styles are all influenced by our senses. Thus, the action taken by relying on our senses may not be reliable. Our senses may sometimes mislead us because they focus on short time wants. Therefore, it is better to adopt the reading and writing strategy that will encourage critical thinking.
How the Learning Styles Affect Teaching and Learning
When educators understand the effective teaching and learning methods, they will have the confidence in teaching the difficult lessons using the child’s preferred learning style. For instance, for visual learners the educator may use diagrams and graphs. For auditory learners, he/she may use group discussions while for writing learners he may apply lectures, note taking, and question and answer approach. Moreover, for the kinesthetic learners he/she may use practical work. The educators will also teach lessons using multiple learning styles. Moreover, educators will integrate all the teaching styles to cater for the individual differences of the learners. Lastly, the learners will also improve their learning styles to meet their needs and enjoy the style they are comfortable with (Flemming, 2007).
As evident from the above discussion, the knowledge of the learning styles is a fundamental aspect to all the educators and students. The educators should try to combine all the styles in teaching, to cater for individual differences of the learners. The auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles rely on the senses, which are usually unpredictable. Therefore, the learners should try to acquire the reading and writing strategy, which will help them in making valid decisions.
Gardner, J., & Jewler, A. (2011). Your college experience: Strategies for success (Concise 9th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Fleming, N. (2007). Teaching and learning styles: VARK strategies. Christchurch, N.Z.: Neil Fleming.
Pritchard, A. (2009). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (2nd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge