Learning style - what ways of learning suit you best
Learning style: what way is best for you?
There are different theories about learning styles and a great deal of academic debate. What we see from our experience in training hundreds of students is that each person learns in their own way. It is good to be aware of all options so that we can continue learning efficiently (and perhaps even incorporate a new element). Let’s look at one popular and practical theory on learning styles, VARK, which states that learners have tendencies in one or two of the following areas: visual, auditory/aural, read/write and kinaesthetic. Read each one and reflect on how you like to learn.
Do you prefer looking at information or processing it in pictorial form? Then your visual channel is strong. It means that you will often think or remember things in pictures and like to see graphs and diagrams, use symbols etc. You may like to make notes, use highlighter pens for emphasis or use different fonts and colours. Mind-mapping is a popular technique which works well for visual and kinaesthetic learners and is great for learning vocabulary.
Do you prefer to listen and take information in by what they hear? Then you have a strong auditory channel. In a learning context, you may prefer lectures and discussions over reading. Asking questions is an important part of a learning strategy for those with this preference, thus, listening and verbalising go together. You may also be more sensitive to picking up language patterns through listening.
Do you like to read information to fully understand it? This preference uses the printed word as the most important way to convey and receive information. You may enjoy reading an article and writing down some notes to summarise it. As language learners, we tend to find this easier as we have more time to process the language so keep that in mind while considering this point.
Do you prefer to learn by experience, particularly by tactile exploration of the world? People with a strong kinaesthetic channel prefer to learn by experimentation. In the classroom, this means that we use your experiences - even when they are shown in pictures and on screens – to enhance learning. Exercises where you match synonyms of words to definitions may suit you well.
Some people have a multi-modal approach and any good learning programme will include a variety of activities and materials to cater for different styles. Knowing what works best for you can lead to more motivation and engagement in your study. For more information, you can complete this (short) questionnaire online: http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/ and read or listen for further information. Happy learning!