From an early age, we are constantly asked to learn new information. From simply learning to tie a shoe to the more complex STEM Robotics Challenges, we are encouraged to process new tasks. To seize these opportunities, it is important for us to understand how we learn best. Everyone has a preferred way of learning that allows them to absorb and comprehend information more effectively. To break it down, there are four prominent learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic (VARK)
Visual learning is the preference of learning through observation (pictures, diagrams, illustrations, etc.). Though it may seem straightforward, Visual learning is more than just putting words in a box and calling it a diagram. Visual learners benefit from visible, meaningful connections between thoughts and concepts. A good example of this is a mind map, a hierarchical depiction of the relation between certain topics.
Auditory learning is the preference of absorbing information that is heard or spoken. Auditory learners often prefer listening to lectures, participating in group discussions, and verbalizing their thoughts. Unlike visual learners, many auditory learners prefer hearing information and repeating it themselves rather than looking at maps, charts, and diagrams. Auditory learners find strength in asking questions and explaining information verbally.
Read/write learning the preference of information in words. Most simply, it is the preference of absorbing information through reading articles, textbooks, and a written approach. Unlike visual and auditory learners, they can learn best through textbooks and essays, without a form of lecture or diagrams. These are the learners who usually prefer writing a report and learning from text-based PowerPoint presentations, as opposed to a seminar-style class
Kinesthetic Learning is simply tactile learning. Kinesthetic learning revolves around the idea of real-world implementation and hands-on activities. Kinesthetic learners gain the most information through experience and trial and error. These learners value their own experience more than the stories of others, reinforcing their hands-on approach to learning.
Learning styles don’t only matter in the classroom. By understanding how we learn, we are allowing ourselves to simplify the learning process, leading to a more productive future. The whole world revolves around learning and advancements, and we need to harness our ability to effectively learn.