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  • Writer's pictureAmelie Liu

Maximizing Learning Retention with 4 Learning Styles

Students in our increasingly diverse multicultural society have diverse abilities and experiences, which calls for teachers to rethink their teaching methods to suit students' individual learning needs. The various ways of understanding information have been simplified into broad categories known as learning styles, which define how people prefer to learn.

While there are several learning styles, there are four main styles, known as the acronym VARK: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Knowing the different styles of learning allows students to determine which method or methods of learning will best suit their needs. By using the right techniques, they will not only be able to maximize their learning abilities, but also receive the best learning experience.

Visual Learners

Visual learners absorb information through observation. Students like these learn best when material is displayed in the form of pictures or videos. Passively reading through paragraphs after paragraphs in a textbook may be difficult for comprehension. Instead, taking the same content and turning them into drawings or notes can help students retain information. Graphs or videos can be more digestible to help students with difficult topics. With most visual learners possessing big imaginations, corresponding methods should help express that creativity. Tools such as whiteboards, smartboards, or notebooks should allow these students to see or write down what they are learning to re-enforce information. Working on organization and creating lists will prove useful as well by helping them sort through their work and thoughts.

Auditory Learners

Some students prefer listening to teachings rather than other methods such as writing notes. Silent environments may also be difficult to learn in. Auditory learners typically understand more material thoroughly with discussions and by talking though what they are learning. By actively recalling and implementing what they’ve learned, these methods may benefit in finding weaknesses in their understanding while strengthening comprehension.

Additionally, techniques to study such as repeating the information being taught, reading aloud, and expressing their ideas or questions verbally can help auditory learners. Be sure to speak out in class or in group activities and projects to help with questions. Tools such as audiobooks, videos, and music can also improve learning by engaging them and reinforcing material.

Reading and Writing Learners

For students who find information is better to understand when shown in the form of written words, they could be categorized as reading/writing learners. Similar to visual learners, they learn easier when actively taking notes and the material is visually shown. However, reading/writing learners differ due to their specific preference toward writing, not drawing. Study habits of completing written assignments, rewriting notes, reading books, and conducting additional research are more beneficial for these students. Traditional education systems may be easier for reading and writing learners as it already focuses on reading and writing with techniques such as essay writing, analyzing articles, and test-taking. These students should try to get plenty of time to read, process information, and take lots of notes for the best retention of content.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are students who favor a hands-on approach and getting to experience things through physical contact. Kinesthetic learners may enjoy more energetic extracurriculars and activities, such as sports and clubs. However, these students can often drift off and have missing materials, so it is essential to be engaged and active. Different activities such as flashcards, simulations, hands-on activities, and competitions could help with this. Additionally, these students can benefit from implementing movement into the exercises and school work as well. Breaks from studying can also help students remain engaged as it helps process information and refresh students’ minds.

After identifying and exploring the various types of learners, students can optimize their studying and discover the best methods to study smart, not hard. Students can study more effectively, and draw clearer connections between concepts they are learning,

You can discover which style of learning best suits you with this quiz:

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