Remember when you had to study for tests back in high school? Everyone had different methods to get ready for the test, whether it be reading the covered chapters in a book, cramming information through repetition, using flash cards or taking notes on presented information. All of these methods of study are representatives of learning styles presented within the VARK model. VARK is an acronym for Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing and Kinesthetic, founded by educational theorist, Neil Fleming. It is stated that if used correctly, students can maximize their potential through focus of preferred learning styles.
The first type of learner is a visual learner. This individual thrives in conditions where they can see the information being given and also read it, whether it be on a projector or white board. They learn best in class discussions that revolve around key points with uses of visual tools like charts and graphs. They are imaginative, often thinking outside the box, quickly processing what they see, especially in the form of maps, charts and graphs. Therefore, if you fall within this category of learner, always try to practice with running through information in a visual manner. Reinforce your conversation with visual cues to help you succeed. Create outlines instead of walls of text, use digital devices and apps to help you better retain that information. Use a highlighter on those college books you just bought.
The second type of learner is an auditory learner. This type of student retains information in sounds rather than images. They like to think more chronologically and are at their best using step by step methods. They’ll remember what was spoken in past conversations and stay keen on debates and lengthy discussions to show off their language skills. They may also have an affinity for music and take notes on rhythm and tone. If you feel you fall within this group, you will best succeed in debates and discussions. Try reading things aloud or put on music in the background while you study. Some are known to use rhyming schemes to memorize information.
The reading and writing type consumes information best in words. This probably feels most familiar, as it is generally the most popular of the learning styles. It’s all about the words here. Take a look around, you’ll notice that a lot of everyday objects utilize reading or writing in learning. Take the internet, for example. Search engines and their results are optimized to show lists of websites packed with text based information. So always provide yourself with notes that are easy to digest, getting the most information out of the least amount of words. Write notes or transcripts, putting the subject into your own words. Use charts, graphs, maps, diagrams, time lines and infographics. It’s all about how you best retain the information. Find your comfort and revel in it.
The fourth type is a kinesthetic learner. The most hands on of the group, these types learn best by doing. They best thrive in learning environments where they can problem solve or participate with a hands on approach. Through physical engagement, they are able to retain presented information better, sometimes more so if they do something with their hands while they listen. Always having busy hands, kinesthetic learners are constantly on the move. If you think you might be a kinesthetic learner, you might benefit better in larger study spaces where you are free to draw or jot down important information. Try getting up and moving around while you study and see if you notice a change in the ability to take in information. You might be more prone to athletics or playing a sport. You might even be a tutor and teach the material to someone else. Go turn the lessons into an art project. Create some graphs, pictures or maps and get the senses involved.
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