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Learning styles: How do you learn best?

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Given that everyone has unique learning methods understanding the different types of learning in education and knowing your learning style can be beneficial for a student to learn better and more efficiently.

Learning and Development is one of the courses offered in the second modular period of the 2021 Fall semester at Parami, taught by Dr. Romina de Jong, a Dean of Academic Affairs of Parami University. The course includes human development and developmental theories, pedagogy, and main learning theories.

In the first few sessions, students learned about the types of learning in education known as the VAK (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic) learning style, a theory pioneered in 1987 by Neil Fleming. In the general population, the visual learning style group is the largest (about 65%), the auditory second largest (30%), and kinesthetic or tactile learners the smallest (5%). The Learning and Development students did a self-test to check their own learning styles. They discovered more or less the same distribution of learning styles: 8 out of 16 visual learning styles, 7 out of 16 with an auditory style, and only one with a tactile learning style. Students were divided into groups to prepare presentations on developmental theories considering the audience's different learning styles.

When teachers apply knowledge of the different characteristics of each learning style in their teaching, this will improve their students’ learning. For students, self-knowledge is important to enhance their own learning process. The students of the Learning and Development course experienced that knowing their learning style helps them increase their confidence, know what kind of study materials suits them best, save time in study, and realize their strength in learning. It also boosts their focus in class. We have also asked students of this course, some of them are teachers themselves, to share some of their insights and practical learning methods with us.

Visual learning style

Learners with a predominantly visual learning style prefer learning involving images, text, graphics, and colors.

When you are a visual learner, try to

  • Underscore key points.

  • Summarize every paragraph on colored sticky note papers and stick them to the book.

  • Take notes, write down key points when watching YouTube videos, presentations, etc.

  • Draw pictures to explain new concepts or ideas.

  • Use tables, graphs, and flashcards to remember things better.

Auditory learning style

The second largest group of learners with a predominantly auditory learning style prefer to learn through hearing and listening. They absorb information best through spoken instructions.

When you are an auditory learner, try to

  • Learn through listening, singing, and watching videos.

  • Study class materials by reading out loud.

  • Discuss with classmates.

  • Record and playback lectures.

  • Create a quiet space for studying.

Kinesthetic/Tactile learning style

Learners with a predominantly tactile learning style are the minority, but you’ll easily remember them as they stand out through their preferred way of learning through physical activities and hands-on experiences.

When you are a tactile learner, try to

  • Change seating positions, and stand while in class.

  • Take plenty of breaks when you’re studying.

  • Use breaks to stretch, do yoga exercises, walk, etc

  • While explaining, try to stand and use gestures and movements. In online meetings, use real-life hand signals instead of emojis.

  • Discuss the class concept with someone to remember things better.

Knowledge of learning styles is beneficial not only for students but also for teachers. The teachers in the Learning and Development course shared that knowing how learners process information differently encouraged them to become good listeners and prepare effective and inclusive lesson plans for all learners in the classroom. Plans to improve your own learning or that of others? Start with knowing yourself better and find tests online. In the Learning and Development course, they made use of the learning style test at the education planner website, see here:

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