The way we learn isn’t always straightforward – our personalities and learning styles have a lot to do with how we process and retain information. According to the VAK Learning Model, there are three main types of learning:
Visual learners go by a basic concept: “Show me and I will understand”. This means that they benefit from things like diagrams, mind maps, pictures, movies and written directions. They also excel in English when choosing related texts that are visual-based, such as picture books or films. Study methods for visual learners include using a lot of colour when making notes, using to-do lists and making mind maps to plan out essays before writing them.
The benefactors of more traditional learning techniques, aural learners can collect the most information from hearing teachers talking about a subject. They tend to excel in speeches, or when information is read and explained verbally. Methods of study for aural learners can include explaining a concept to someone whether it is friends or family, and recording what teachers say so you can hear it again whilst you are studying or making notes.
This includes the majority of the population of some level – these tactile learners need to touch, feel and experience something in order to learn in effectively. The majority of the population need to engage with their material in order to learn the most effectively, and this is the case even more so for kinaesthetic learners. As children enter school as kinaesthetic learners, many of them maintain these strengths throughout their lives, especially males.
As we go through school, our learning styles are chosen for us; when we are starting out in Kindergarten all the way to about Year 3, new information is given to us kinaesthetically, due to our shorter attention spans and restlessness. In Year 4 to 8, we are taught visually, and from Year 9 right through to college, we are taught aurally, as information is told to us in the form of explanations or lectures. This is why the schooling system may be good for some, but for the majority of us, tutoring based on our personality type and learning style is extremely important. Once we can identify our learning style, we can build on it and use it to our advantage. This not only helps us retain information better, but also understand concepts easier and do well in exams. Many people, as they reach higher grades in school, find their learning styles out pretty quickly, and whether they have a dominant trait or an even balance of all three, it is important to use this information to their advantage. This will not only help one in their school life, but also in their tertiary education and careers.