Did you know there are four styles of learning? For parents who are trying to help their children study or for parents who are homeschooling their children, it can be helpful to understand the different learning styles, or modalities, and tailor teaching and studying approaches according to each. With a little extra emphasis on your child’s preferred modality, you can witness their interest in learning grow.
What are the four types of learners?
The four types of learning styles are developed from the VARK model, a popular theory created by New Zealand teacher and researcher Neil Fleming. Fleming was interested in understanding the different communication styles students preferred when it came to learning. Individuals are often multimodal, meaning they prefer a few different communication styles. The VARK method was established to merely help illustrate these modalities and offer solutions to help students learn and study more effectively, not to box-in students to one style.
To understand which modalities your child prefers, read the descriptions of each and learn about different resources to use to help your child in school and beyond.
V: Visual Learners
Visual learners prefer to see information broken down into meaningful charts, diagrams and flowcharts. Your child may be a visual learner if you often find him doodling and drawing charts and mind-maps while he studies and plays. This approach allows a child to understand how concepts relate to one another better by recalling these images when they’re tested. People often think this learning style is very focused on photos and videos, but this modality is very focused on graphics to visualize concepts.
Resources for Visual Learners
Consider having a whiteboard and plenty of colored markers for your visual learner. Color code notes and flashcards and have plenty of colored markers and pencils for your child to create mind-maps in their notes.
A: Auditory Learners
Auditory learners prefer to speak about concepts out loud and will respond well to lectures and discussions. Does your child work through her ideas out loud, or even talk to herself when she’s working on solving problems? Children who are auditory learners will often speak through their thoughts as they’re having them instead of thinking first and speaking second.
Resources for Auditory Learners
Turn study sessions into study discussions with your child. Ask them to read passages out loud and share their initial thoughts to problems before they act to help them work through their processes and questions. Make up rhymes about concepts and use word association techniques.
R: Read and Write Learners
If your child is a bookworm and loves to make detailed lists of his school work and play, he is a read and write learner. These learners love to take in information through words – reading books, articles, researching online, and making detailed notes of what they find. Traditional classrooms rely on strong readers and writers, so your child will most likely excel in that format and in activities that require a child to read a passage and write long-form answers to questions about what they read.
Resources for Read and Write Learners
When studying, ask your child to rewrite their notes and translate visual graphics into words. Recommend they write summaries regularly about what they’ve learned and have different sources of reading material on hand for them to parse through.
K: Kinaesthetic Learners
If your child is often animated with hand gestures and movement when they’re speaking, she is a kinaesthetic learner. Kinaesthetic learners respond well to real-world examples to understand concepts. This learning type loves to move their body and learn by doing and putting something into practice rather than sitting still and listening. Your child will learn best if they can do, see, touch, or taste the things she is learning about.
Resources for Kinaesthetic Learners
Make learning physical by asking your child to act out the concepts they are trying to understand. Instead of drawing mind-maps, ask your child to use objects around them to create models of concepts. To illustrate concrete examples, watch educational videos and demonstrations during study sessions.