How to Recognize and Support Learning Styles in the Classroom

How to recognize and support learning styles in the classroom.

By the time you graduate from education, you will learn all about the different ways your students interact with new information. An important idea in education is that each student has different learning styles related to how the student prefers to learn.

In recent years, the idea that learning styles are the best way for a student to learn has been debunked. However, learning styles are widely accepted in education to support the idea that every student learns differently. Learning styles are not a prescription for teaching students, but help a teacher determine the student’s preferred method of processing and storing information.


VARK model

Education promotes learning styles as a way for teachers to support students and differentiate lessons. Although there are many models for learning styles, the VARK model is one of the most widely used as it takes into account the diversity and needs of learners.

VARK model means:

reading and writing

Four learning styles

The following information details VARK learning styles, how to identify them in students and how to integrate them into classroom work. It is worth remembering that not all students fit exactly one category. Student style preferences often overlap, particularly between topics and activities.

1. Visual learning

Get to know Visual Learners: Visual learners in your class love to see and observe what they are learning. Visual learners enjoy using pictures, diagrams, and written instructions to access information. This learning style is also called “local”. Visual or spatial learners can draw, make lists, or take notes to interact with and process information.

Support visual learners: Some more traditional teaching styles support visual learners, such as presenting information on whiteboards or screens. Assignments may ask students to draw pictures or diagrams. Additionally, providing lecture notes or handouts for students to follow is a great way to incorporate visual learning into your curriculum. Visual learners may have difficulty in lessons and may need more time to process the information they hear audibly.

2. Auditory training

Get to know Auditory Learners: Auditory students in your class learn more about listening and phonics. These are students who prefer to listen to lectures or recordings rather than taking written notes. There may also be students who think aloud and talk over a concept. Your auditory students are most likely the ones who talk the most in class. They can also be read aloud. Auditory learners often repeat what a teacher has said to follow directions.

Help auditory learners: Allowing plenty of time for discussion can help auditory learners in your class. They want to hear what others have to say and share their ideas in order to learn and process information. As you teach, ask auditory learners to repeat what they have learned to you. A call-and-answer or question-and-answer process can also benefit auditory learners. In addition, auditory learners enjoy watching videos and listening to audiobooks or recordings on a topic.

3. Learning to read/write

Get to know reading/writing learners: This learning style is often confused with visual learning because reading/writing learners prefer to learn using written words. This may sound like visual learning, but learners who prefer to read/write can be considered as those who express themselves through writing. They also enjoy reading articles and writing in diaries or journals. Your literacy students may be proficient in search engines and even old-fashioned encyclopedias. They are thirsty for the knowledge they get by reading.

If you are interested in learning more about how to differentiate classroom assignments for the different types of learners you teach, all while making a difference in the lives of the next generation, join one of the many education degree programs offered through the College of Education at Grand Canyon University.

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