Have you ever wondered why your child learns better with some teachers and not others? Or why some subjects come easier when others are more difficult? The reason could be that their preferred learning style is not being met. There are 4 major types of learning styles.
In 1987, Neil Flemming conducted thousands of hours of classroom observations. He started his research to find if students “preferences for the way they like information to come into them and the way in which students prefer to put out information” had an effect on their learning. During this study, he created the VARK model which outlines the 4 different types of learning styles.
Students who rely on diagrams, logos, outlines, patterns, or graphs prefer a visual learning style. These students learn best when they are being taught through a symbolic form. Students with a visual preference enjoy drawing to explain or show what they know.
Your child may prefer a visual learning style if:
- They have a vivid imagination and think in pictures.
- They are good at reading maps and charts.
- They can easily recognize patterns.
- They like an organized environment and can get overwhelmed with clutter.
Students that prefer and auditory learning style would rather listen to a teacher orally tell them information rather than show them a graphic. Students with this learning style preference like to speak about topics they have learned about to show understanding. It is important for this type of learner to not just listen but also be given time to conversate, as they process information through talking.
Your child may prefer a auditory learning style if:
- They enjoy talking to others and sometimes even themselves.
- They ask lots of questions.
- They have difficulty concentrating in noisy environments.
- They may be musically inclined.
A student who fits in this category of a read/write learning style, is one who really enjoys text. This could be in the form of books, lists, bullet points, and dictionaries. These students also like to write as a way to communicate or show their understanding. Students who prefer this type of learning style can sometimes be mistaken for a visual learner. The biggest difference is that a visual preference is for pictures, graphics, or symbols and a read/write preference is for text.
Your child may prefer a read/write learning style if:
- They learn new words easily and have a large vocabulary.
- They love to read to themselves and to others.
- They can easily memorize poems, songs, and rhymes.
- Verbal directions tend to go in one ear and out the other.
The most popular learning style preference is the kinesthetic category. These students prefer to be taught in a concrete way with real life examples and exploration. They learn best through all of their senses. A student with a kinesthetic learning preference will want to physically show or demonstrate their learning.
Your child may prefer a kinesthetic learning style if:
- They have lots of energy.
- They are very coordinated and can imitate movements after being shown just a few times.
- They fidget while trying to listen.
- They learn through hands-on activities.
The majority of children (under 18) both male and female, prefer a kinesthetic learning style. However, many people can be multi-modal and prefer multiple learning styles. By knowing what type of learning style your child prefers, you can better help them get the most out of their education and ensure their needs are being met.