Children see the world in their own ways and, therefore, their learning styles also vary. It is because of this reason that parents and teachers often face challenges in making them learn. They also use differentiated instruction to help kids learn & retain concepts better.
So, first we have to understand and acknowledge the individual needs of the children to make them learn.
How do Kids Learn?
Every kid has a strategy that they use to remember information more efficiently. While studying, some students take notes, some make diagrams and some prefer to listen to lectures. Since no learning style fits all students, scientists have conducted research in order to understand the way students learn.
Let’s look at the different types of learning that the scientists have distinguished.
Exploring Learning Styles: The VARK Model
One of the popular theories the scientists have developed to make the children learn is called the VARK model. The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning. This model was suggested by Fleming and Mills to reflect the experiences of the students and teachers in 1992.
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The VARK model identifies four types of learners – visual, aural, read/write and kinesthetic.
Most children are a combination of these four styles, but very often they have a predominant style of learning. Each of these styles has a complementary way of teaching. Now, let’s see the characteristics each of these styles entail and how to make best use of them to make children learn.
We will also discuss how to identify children on the basis of their learning needs and adopt suited teaching methods for them.
Visual Learning Style
Visual learners take in information visually, through maps, graphs, diagrams and charts. However, they don’t necessarily respond well to photos or videos. They prefer absorbing their information using different visual aids such as patterns and shapes.
The best way to present information to such children is by showing them the relationship between different ideas visually. For instance, when explaining a scientific process, it can be done by using a flow chart.
Related Reading: Best Tips for Creating a Healthy Student-Centered Learning Environment
How to identify visual learners?
Visual learners enjoy observing and analyzing things like pictures, diagrams and charts that showcase information in order of importance. You can find visual learners by paying attention to students who are doodling, making lists in class or diligently taking notes.
How to teach them?
If you’re using a whiteboard, smartboard or giving a presentation, make sure such a child has enough time to process and absorb visual information. When possible, the child should have access to supplementary handouts that details subject matter through clear visuals whenever possible.
Additionally, allow these learners to draw pictures, diagrams, or doodles of what they are learning, in order to reinforce retention.
Aural Learning Style
Aural learners learn better through hearing or spoken words. Saying things to them loudly helps them understand and retain concepts. Such children learn through lectures and group discussions. They can benefit from repeating back the lessons, having recordings of the lectures, and group activities where the classmates explain ideas.
How to identify aural learners?
Aural learners prefer learning subject matter that is presented through sound. Such children actively engage with lectures. You may find them nodding along or asking frequent questions rather than taking written notes. Additionally, such children might read slowly and read aloud to themselves. They might also repeat things you tell them in order to help with retention.
How to teach them?
When you’re giving a lecture, make sure you involve such children in the conversation. Have them do things like verbally detailing a new concept they just learned, and ask them follow-up questions while giving them the time they need to respond. Group discussions, engaging videos, and audio recordings are other great ways to engage auditory learners in the classroom.
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Reading/Writing Learning Style
Some children consume information best when it’s in words, whether that’s by writing it down or reading it. To them, text is more powerful than any kind of visual or aural representation of an idea.
These children usually perform very well on written assignments. There are different ways to make such learners engage and understand a certain lesson. For instance, it would be best to have them describe charts and diagrams by written statements, take written quizzes on the topics, or give them written assignments.
Related Reading: What Is Student Centered Learning? Importance & Benefits
How to identify reading/writing learners?
Reading/writing learners prefer written words.They are drawn to textbooks, novels, articles, journals and anything that is text-heavy. Similar to visual learners, you can find reading and writing learners by paying attention to students who take elaborate notes, reference the dictionary to learn new words, or use online search engines to find answers to their questions.
How to teach them?
Such students prefer more traditional methods of subject matter delivery. So, make them read textbooks, write essays and perform in-depth research. But, it’s important to sure that such children have ample time to absorb written course material. They also need to be given every opportunity to get their ideas down on paper or a digital device.
Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinesthetic learners are individuals who prefer to learn by doing. They enjoy hands-on experience. They are usually more in touch with reality and more connected to it, which is why they require using a tactile experience to understand something better.
The best way to present new information to a kinesthetic learner is through personal experience, practice, examples, or simulations. For instance, they can remember an experiment by recreating it themselves.
How to identify kinesthetic learners?
Such children are “tactile” learners. They prefer to physically act out events or use all of their senses while learning. These types of learners are easy to find, as they likely have a difficult time sitting still and might need frequent breaks during heavy studying periods.
Related Reading: How to Make Adding and Subtracting Fractions Easy
How to teach them?
Ensure active participation for such children. For example, if you’re teaching Shakespeare, have them act out a scene with a few of their kinesthetic-focused peers. You can also teach them through learning games on SplashLearn that encourage these types of learners to use all of their senses at different points in the lesson.
Understanding different types of learning styles can drastically impact the way parents and teachers handle their children or students.
Therefore, pinpoint how a child or student learns best and adjust lessons keeping in mind the unique need of the child or student. It can dramatically affect their ability to connect with the subject. And remember, these learning styles don’t end in the house or classroom. So, make sure to connect their learning with real-life situations!
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is meant by learning style?
Learning style can be described as a set of factors, behaviors and attitudes that facilitate learning for an individual in a given situation. Styles influence how students learn, how teachers teach and how the two interact.
What is the most common of four learning styles?
Of the four learning styles, that is, Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic, visual learners are the most common type of learner, making up for 65% of the children. Such children relate best to written information, notes, diagrams and pictures.
What is a personal learning style?
An individual’s learning style refers to the preferential way in which the student absorbs, processes, comprehends and retains information. Individual learning styles depend on cognitive, emotional and environmental factors, as well as one’s prior experience.
What is the difference between VARK questionnaire and Kolb questionnaire?
The VARK questionnaire shows how people use their dominant learning style in an environment, while Kolb’s questionnaire assesses how the students learn.