Teaching Tip Tuesday - Learning Styles

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Everyone has different learning styles.  Learning styles are simply the method of instructions that a person best learns information. While there are many theories about many forms of learning styles, typically it is accepted that 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. 

The Visual Learner
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. Hi-lighting material, creating flashcards for review, and working in a quiet space are keys for these type of learners.

The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners do well with lectures, audio instructions, and can likely benefit from audiobooks. Simply they learn best when they HEAR something.  Text may be difficult for auditory learners, but reading out loud may help and is an example of an easy way to implement a new learning style to overcome this common classroom issue. Verbal repetition is key for these type of learners.

The Kinesthetic Learner 
Kinesthetic or tactile learners prefer the use of hands-on learning. They learn from doing, are very coordinated, and have excellent physical memory.  They need to move and often lose interest quickly if things stay the same too long.  Experiments are especially good teaching tools for kinesthetic learners, as well as changing basic seating charts, and allowing them to move during class. 

Reading/Writing Learner
Those with a strong preference best by reading and writing, do best then they use lists, diagrams, takes notes and then rereads their notes.  These types of learners rather read by themselves than have someone read to them. They also prefer to study alone.
Bringing Learning Styles to the Classroom
There are ways to help determine what type of learner you are such as this
online test at EducationPlanner.org which asks 20 questions and then gives you actionable tips to make learning a little easier. 
However, many people are not limited to just one learning style, but learn through different styles depending on the subject being taught. 

So how do teachers ensure they are reaching students from each type of learning style?
One way is to overlap several learning styles for the same material to ensure different learners are taking in the material together and students are learning the same subjects in multiple ways.
Another is to give students choices on how they will present their work such as Active Learning (or project based learning) where the students have a variety of ways to show they have mastered a subject.  Using variation and choice can help learners from any style achieve. 

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