Learning Styles

We all learn differently. Understanding our own preferred learning style can help us learn more efficiently and understand why learning is sometimes difficult. Some researchers believe that learners show a preference for using different senses to learn. One well-known guide to learning styles is the VARK model.

Do you know what your learning style is? DOWNLOAD  the VARK Questionnaire.


Now read these descriptions of different types of learners.
Do you recognize yourself?

  • Think in images or pictures. They take in what they hear or read and translate it into images in their brain.
  • Are excellent spellers. However, they often have trouble remembering names unless they are written down. However, they’re good at remembering faces and details of what they see.
  • Tend to remember what they see, but forget what they hear. Visual learners need to either see or read about what needs to be done before they can take action.
  • Prefer to work in a quiet environment where they are not distracted.
  • Have a wild imagination. They are “outside-the-box thinkers” and can think of numerous solutions to a single problem.
  • Make up around 65% of the population.

Tips for Visual Learners

  • When learning new vocabulary, look up their meaning in the dictionary and record definitions in writing. Try closing your eyes and visualizing what you have written down.
  • Prepare a concept map by listing key points, enclosing them in boxes or circles, and drawing lines with arrows between concepts to show connections.
  • Use visual metaphors, photographs, mind maps, acronyms and mnemonics to help you remember.
  • Find a documentary or TV programme related to the subject you are studying.
  • In a classroom or lecture, sit where you can clearly see the speaker.
  • Solve problems by “talking” about them. They remember things that are spoken to them and enjoy telling stories.
  • Can memorize things easily.
  • May sometimes read aloud or sub-vocalize while they read to hear the words.
  • Enjoy discussion groups because they can hear ideas and concepts verbalized by themselves and others.
  • Are easily distracted by noise as they filter incoming information through their listening and through talking aloud.
  • Make up about 30% of the population.

Tips for Auditory Learners

  • When listening or reading, repeat new information in your head. Try to rephrase new information and think of examples.
  • Record lectures or classes (with permission!). Or record yourself working through your language learning material. Listen to the recording during your free time, preferably within 24 hours.
  • Make your own podcasts of your study notes.
  • Practise your English with a partner and record your discussions.
  • Recite aloud what you are trying to learn so that you hear yourself.
  • Read aloud and listen to yourself to work on pronunciation. Record yourself in conversation or discussion to work on fluency, accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar.
  • Explain new language points to your friend or study partner as if you were the tutor.
  • Watch films, documentaries and TV programmes to build up vocabulary and content knowledge.
  • Download podcasts about subjects that interest you and listen to them while you’re on the go.
  • Sit in the front of the class to hear your teacher or lecturer clearly.
  • enjoy using PowerPoint,
  • enjoy browsing the Internet,
  • make lists,
  • may keep diaries, blogs or journals
  • enjoy searching dictionaries &  thesauri

Tips for Read/Write Learners

  • Write out new vocabulary again and again.
  • Read your notes (silently) again and again.
  • Rephrase new learning points and write them out.
  • Write paragraphs, beginnings and endings.
  • Classify new vocabulary into categories or hierachies
  • Prefer to study with a pen or pencil in hand and write things down.
  • Benefit from drawing pictures and diagrams in their notes.
  • Are often good at sports but may find time management difficult.
  • may be quite restless in a classroom setting and have difficulty paying attention
  • Can easily take things apart and put them back together again.
  • Make up around 5% of the population.

Tips for Kinesthetic Learners

  • Try writing out your notes by hand. This will help comprehension and retention.
  • Take your notes and repeat them to yourself while walking.
  • Type up new vocabulary or language learning points. Pay attention as you type, and experiment with different fonts and coloring.
  • Sometimes silently tapping your leg or bouncing your foot can help you learn or pay attention when listening to a lecture.
  • Use as many activities as possible that allow for movement while learning (standing up when studying, walking around when revising or fiddling with a pencil when reading)
  • Sit near the front of their classroom and take notes. This activity will help you focus.
  • Record lectures or download podcasts related to your subject. Play them while walking or exercising.
  • Rewrite your notes or turn key learning points into questions.
  • Join a study group, discussion or conversation group. Turn-taking will help you learn.
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