Understanding VAK Learning Styles
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Understanding VAK Learning Styles

A guide to the VAK learning styles model and an explanation of the three learning styles- visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.

What does ‘VAK’ mean?

VAK is simply an acronym that represents the three different learning styles suggested by this model of learning- visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.

Why Are There Different Learning Styles?

Everybody learns in different ways. It is really helpful if a teacher can identify the different learning styles that their students prefer as this can help them tailor their lessons and resources so that the students make the most of their leaning and reach their full potential. Identifying the individual’s preferred learning style means that it is much more likely that they will benefit from their lessons and absorb more of the information that they have been taught. It can also be particularly helpful for students with special educational needs as it can help them to make progress at a faster rate if activities are tailored to their strengths and weaknesses.

How Are Learning Styles Identified?

There are a number of different tests available. These usually consist of multiple choice questions about the learner’s preferences and the activities that they feel that they learn best in. Many schools now carry out this testing and this is often done on a computer.

Visual

A visual learner will learn best when they can see the information that they are trying to learn. For example, a person who most suited to a visual learning style will usually prefer written texts, DVD’s, the internet, pictures or written notes.

Auditory

An auditory learner absorbs information best when they have heard it. Activities best suited to this type of learner include a teacher talking about a topic, DVD’s or group discussions with their classmates.

Kinaesthetic

Kinaesthetic learners learn by doing. Practical activities suit this style of learning. For example, science experiments, creating models, technology and craft activities will all help this type of learner to absorb information.

Mixed Learning Styles

Of course, not every student fits neatly into one category. Some people may have a stronger preference to one style of learning but can benefit from the other two as well. Others are equally capable of learning using two different styles, but are much weaker at the third. A final group of students may be equally suited to all three styles of learning.

Difficulties

In a larger class it can be difficult for the class teacher to tailor their lessons to suit the preferred learning styles of every student in the class. One solution to this is to break down a lesson into smaller activities. This way the lesson is divided up into sections that suit different people’s learning styles at different stages of the lesson. This way, everybody’s preferred learning style is accounted for.

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