Learn smarter – which learning style suits you best?

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When it comes to learning we all apply a mixture of techniques, although the majority of us tend to have one preferred method.

Our learning styles are not fixed but can be defined. The key is to find what works best for you.

According to Dunn and Dunn’s learning styles model (developed in 1978), knowing your dominant learning style can lead to more efficient study, improved performance in tests and more rewarding learning.

There are several learning style models; the most coming is Fleming’s ‘VAK’, which categorises people as

  • visual
  • auditory
  • or kinaesthetic (tactile) learners.

Here are some of the traits commonly associated with the different learning styles so you can identify which is most like you.

Visual learners

Visual learners learn best by seeing and reading.

They tend to have a preference for visual aids, such as handouts, diagrams and images, and favour information presented in colour.

Visual learners often prefer quite solitary study.

Auditory learners

Auditory learners learn by listening to the spoken word.

They prefer to hear information in lectures, tutorials or group discussions and enjoy talking things through and reading aloud.

Auditory learners are good at explaining complex concepts, remembering names and learning foreign languages and they may use acronyms to remember facts.

Kinaesthetic learners

Kinaesthetic learners learn through touching and experiencing.

They prefer a more hands-on approach to study via active exploration, role playing, studying through memory games with others, making notes and memorising flash cards.

Kinaesthetic learners prefer studying with music on and they take frequent breaks.

In summary

It’s important to keep in mind that each style has advantages and disadvantages; there’s no right or wrong learning method.

Your individual style is not supposed to restrict you, but to help you get the most out of your efforts.

To find out which learning style works best for you, try completing a learning styles questionnaire online such as the free quiz at teachertools.

Jodene Murphy is a Qualifications Development Manager at AAT and an Education Consultant at True Volunteer Foundation. 

Read more on studying effectively;

Jodene Murphy is AAT's PMO Manager.

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