It wouldn’t come as a shock for most teachers to hear that the way students learn things differs from child to child. Some may absorb more from a hands-on experiment while others only need to see a diagram. These divergent ways of understanding a concept are called learning styles, and they’re both useful in the classroom and controversial.
Learn more about what defines a learning style, which one fits you best, and how to use them in teaching.
What are Learning Styles?
Learning styles are simply the method of instructions that a person best learns information. There are four main learning styles that are generally agreed upon: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. The grouping of these four categories is referred to as VARK in education theory. There are many other theories about dozens of learning styles and their uses in the classroom as well.
Students with visual learning styles absorb information best through visual tools such as images, maps, or diagrams. These students may benefit from graphic organizers to relay typically text-heavy information into a visual format. Online education resource Teach.com notes that using visual aids for other media–highlighting text in different colors or using symbols to replace ideas–can help visual learners.
Someone with a strong visual learning style may have difficulty with subjects taught in other formats. For example, a visual learner may struggle with a lecture or audio lesson where there is no visual material at all. This is where teaching tools such as a blank graphic organizer can be useful to help a student transform one teaching style into the learning style they best understand.