Understanding learning styles

Understanding learning styles –

Do learning styles actually exist? If so, how many are there? What does new research indicate?

❓❓❓ There seems to be more questions than answers as far as learning styles go.

Nearly a century ago the idea of auditory versus visual learners began to surface; in the 1950s it became a very popular concept but then it waned for a couple of years before it resurfaced in the 1970s. It is still a popular concept today. Some scepticists argue that people like to categorise people into types; therefore there are so many who continue to believe and support the idea of different learning styles.

Some research, compiled over the past decade or so, debunked the whole issue of learning styles. Other researchers still firmly believe in the concept of learning styles.

No matter what you believe, it is indeed true that people differ in how they like to be presented with information.

Think of it like this: Person A and B are asking for directions (forget about Google Maps or any other GPS for a while!). Person A prefers to be told where to go. Person A probably visualises the directions as it is explained. Person B likes to have a map sketched because he/she finds it easier to find the way with a map in hand.

Another example would be of someone buying a new appliance. Owner A might spend his/her time to go through the user manual in a painstaking way; owner B might figure it out by him/herself through trial and error.

It is probably most accurate to say that each person has a mix of learning styles. It is also safe to assume that most people use different learning styles in different circumstances. Some people may have a more dominant style of learning; this would mean that they do not use the other styles as often. There is no right or wrong here.

Determine your teenager’s learning styles here:

Visual (spatial): Prefers to use pictures, images and spatial imagery
Aural: Prefers using sound and music
Verbal (linguistic): Prefers to use words, both in speech and writing
Physical/tactile (kinesthetic): Prefers to use their body, hands and sense of touch
Logical (mathematical): Prefers using logic, reasoning and systems
Social (interpersonal): Prefers to learn with a study buddy, in groups or with other people
Solitary (intrapersonal): Prefers to work alone and use self-study

?? If you want to learn more about learning styles and the definitions thereof, including emphasis on the four main types (visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic) of learning styles according to the Vark Model, click here and here.

?? If you want to learn more about research that claims learning styles are a myth, click here for a handful of article links within an article.