Every Child has a Different Learning Style and Pace. Each Child is Unique,
Not Only Capable of Learning But Also Capable of Succeeding. ~Robert John Meehan
Often the highly reputed schools or educational institutions conduct learning style assessment for students at a very young age and has proved to be of huge benefit for the students. In fact, these days educational institutions are developed with curriculums that are specifically designed to a particular learning style to cater to the needs of each learner (Schools, Guide and School, 2021). Hence, understanding the learning style is an important concept in the field of educational psychology, however many at times people fail to understand the need for such assessments and many institutions seem to ignore such concepts (Ridwan, Sutresna and Haryeti, 2019).
Scientifically, research lacks evidence due to the narrow number of studies and have also found contradicting results on the effectiveness of examining the influence of learning style on the performance outcome (Mozaffari et al., 2020).
What is a Learning Style?
The learning style of an individual can be explained as the preferred and the most beneficial mode of learning in terms of understanding, processing, and recalling the knowledge attained or the information, indicating and justifying the individual differences within a society.
Conventionally, the core features or the importance of incorporating the learning styles at education systems are:
-It is believed to obtain better results and enhanced learning from the learners, when taught according to their learning style or preference, though there hasn’t been much research supporting the same. However, research claims that along with using a preferred learning approach for a student, it is always good to expose students to different approaches as well, so as to be a flexible learner (Zapalska and Brozik, 2006).
-Learners experience higher self-confidence when being taught in their preferred form of learning as they are able to comprehend through a much easier approach (Wehrwein et al., 2007).
-Experience satisfaction and the joy of learning (Alshammari et al., 2015).
Types of learning styles
Though there are many theories/ models of learning styles that differ in the type of categories, the common notion remains the same; individuals vary in their mode of learning that is acquired through experience and based on preferences. However, the most widely used model of learning style is the VARK model developed by Neil Fleming. And so as to understand one’s learning style, Fleming devised a self-administered questionnaire, which has been popularly advised at schools as well. According to the VARK model, the learning styles can be categorised into 4 types:
1. Visual Learning Style: Learners with the visual style of learning seem to understand and acquire knowledge through visual processing through videos, pictures, or graphics. It is considered that they would prefer the information presented in a graphical format over a scripted format. Statistically, only 1.9% from over 2,00,000 individuals has a visual mode of learning as a single preference, hence it is considered to be the least single learning preference (Research Statistics | VARK, 2020).
2. Auditory Learning style: Learners who prefer to understand and process information through auditory skills can be categorized as an auditory learner. They would benefit the most by learning through lectures, podcasts, or conferences/webinars. Research suggests that younger individuals are most expected to have aural learning as one of their key preferences (Research Statistics | VARK, 2020).
3. Read/Write Learning Style: Those that favour writing notes and reading to learn and retain information, over any other form of learning can be described as a Read/Write Learner. Writing and reading aloud lecture notes, or books, noting summary of points are few of the methods that read/write learners find beneficial in learning. Statistically, females prefer the Read/Write mode of learning over visual and was found vice-versa for the males (Research Statistics | VARK, 2020).
4. Kinaesthetic Learning Style: Those learners that prefer to engage in learning through tactile skills such as touching objects or moving around are described as a Kinaesthetic learner. Experiments, role-plays, industrial/educational visits, or trips are few ways for a kinaesthetic learner to experience improved learning and receive satisfaction through schooling. Interestingly, it was noted that Kinesthetics mode of learning is the most preferred among both the male and female gender groups, who have participated in the VARK assessment test. And also about 80% from over 2,00,000 who have participated in the VARK assessment prefers the Kinesthetic learning approach, hence indicating kinesthetic learning style to be most favoured one (Research Statistics | VARK, 2020).
Each learner is believed to achieve everything and anything, and providing the appropriate resources in the right manner under proper guidance is the key. Just a small change in the teaching approach can create a huge impact in the child’s learning journey; ultimately, it’s a global responsibility to provide the young learners with the best, thereby creating a better and well-informed generation for the future.
Alshammari, M., Anane, R., & Hendley, R. (2015). Students' Satisfaction in Learning Style-Based Adaptation. 2015 IEEE 15Th International Conference On Advanced Learning Technologies. https://doi.org/10.1109/icalt.2015.56
Moussa, N. (2014). The importance of learning styles in education. Institute for Learning StyleJournal,1(2),19-27http://www.auburn.edu/academic/cla/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202014%20Vol%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20Nahla%20Moussa.pdf
Mozaffari HR, Janatolmakan M, Sharifi R, Ghandinejad F, Andayeshgar B, Khatony A. The Relationship Between the VARK Learning Styles and Academic Achievement in Dental Students. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2020;11:15-19 https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S235002
Othman, N. and Amiruddin, M., 2010. Different Perspectives of Learning Styles from VARK Model. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 7, pp.652-660 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.10.088
Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest, 9(3), 105-119 https://doi.org/10.1108/10650740610714080
Ridwan, H., Sutresna, I. and Haryeti, P., 2019. Teaching styles of the teachers and learning styles of the students. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1318, p.012028 https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1318/1/0120
Wehrwein, E. A., Lujan, H. L., & DiCarlo, S. E. (2007). Gender differences in learning style preferences among undergraduate physiology students. Advances in Physiology Education, 31(2), 153–157. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00060.2006
Schools, P., Guide, A. and School, C., 2021. Find Schools to Fit Your Child's Learning Style. [online]Ourkids.net.Available.at https://www.ourkids.net/school/schools-right-learning-style.php
Research Statistics | VARK. (2020). VARK - A Guide to Learning Styles. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from https://vark-learn.com/research-statistics/