VARK Styles of Learning video transcript

In 1987, Neil Fleming introduced a model where learners are identified by whether they have a preference for visual, auditory, reading or writing and kinaesthetic learning.

While existing research has found that matching learning methods to any of these four modalities has no influence on learning outcomes, the VAR concept of learning styles remains extremely popular. Here's an overview of each of the styles. First, the visual learning style.

Visual learners learn best by seeing graphic displays such as charts, diagrams, illustrations, handouts, and videos are all helpful learning tools for visual learners. Visual learners who prefer this type of learning would rather see information presented in a visual rather than in written form. If beauty and aesthetics are important to you, or visualising information in your mind helps you remember better, or you need to see information to appreciate something, or if you pay close attention to body language, chances are good that you have a visual learning style. You may find it helpful to incorporate things like pictures and graphs when you are learning new information.

Next is the auditory or oral learners. Oral learners learn best by hearing information. They tend to get a great deal out of lectures and are good at remembering things, they're told. Learners with this preference learn best from lectures, group discussion, speaking and talking things through. If you prefer to create songs to help remember information. Or choose to listen to lectures than reading. Or you talk out loud as well as talk to oneself or listen to a recording or a podcast, then you are probably an auditory learner.

Then there are the reading and writing learners. These type of learners prefer to take in information that is displayed as words in text. This preference emphasises text based input and output, reading and writing it all its forms but especially manuals, reports, essays and assignments. People who prefer this modality are often addicted to PowerPoint, the Internet, lists, diaries, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations and words, words, words. If you enjoy making lists, reading definitions, and creating presentations, or find reading textbooks to be a great way to learn new information or you take a lot of notes during class and while reading text books or prefer it when teachers make use of overheads and handouts, it is likely that you have a strong preference for the reading and writing style of learning.

Finally, there are the kinesthetic learners. Kinesthetic or tactile learners learn best by touching and doing. Hands on experience is important for kinesthetic learners, although such an experience may invoke other modalities. The key is that people who prefer this motor connected to reality either through concrete personal experiences, examples, practise or simulation. It includes demonstrations, simulations, videos and movies of real things as well as case studies, practise and applications. The key is the reality or concrete nature of the example. If it can be grasped, held, tasted or felt, it is considered experienced. If you are good at applied activities such as painting, cooking, mechanics, sports and woodworking, or enjoy performing tasks that involve directly manipulating objects and materials, or have to actually practise doing something in order to learn it, or you find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time, then you are most likely a kinesthetic learner.

The power of VARK is that people understand it intuitively and it fits practise. However, a leaning to a VARK learning style simply indicates a rule of thumb and should not be rigidly applied. It is not intended to box you into a mindset that you have been diagnosed. Rather it is designed to initiate discussion about and reflection upon your learning style.

VARK Styles of Learning video

Back to Working with neurodiversity and LD individuals