To help you with your online study, it’s a good idea to identify your individual learning style. You might not even be aware you have a specific learning style, but by identifying and understanding what that learning style is, it will help to make sure you’re getting the most out of your online courses.
The 4 learning styles – VARK
There are essentially 4 basic learning styles:
- V – Visual learning
You’re a visual learner if you learn best by looking at and recalling diagrams, maps, graphs, and other visuals used to represent words. If you’re a visual learner, these visual learning aids can help you excel with your online study.
- A – Auditory learning
You’re an auditory, or aural, learner if you learn best through information that’s heard or spoken. If you’re an auditory learner, auditory learning aids like face-to-face or recorded lectures and tutorials, podcasts and group discussions will help you get the most out of your online courses.
- R – Reading and writing learning
You’re a reading and writing learner if you learn best when information is presented to you in written words. If you’re a reading and writing learner, you’ll tend to look to things like PowerPoint presentations, journal and newspaper articles, and sites like Wikipedia for your information.
- K – Kinesthetic learning
You’re a kinesthetic learner if you learn best when you’re “hands-on” – figuring things out for yourself by physically trying them out. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you typically prefer hands-on demonstrations, tutorials, simulations, and videos of real-life scenarios to learn and understand new information and concepts.
What if you’re a bit of everything?
Just as with many other facets of our lives, not everything is 100% crystal clear, and we don’t always fall into specific, predefined categories. And that’s completely fine, even when you don’t fall into a specific learning style category.
If you don’t stand out as having one particular learning style over another, you’re most likely multimodal (MM), which simply means you either:
- Have a flexible study and learning style, where you can switch from mode to mode easily and comfortably depending on what and how information is being presented to you; or
- You need to have a combination of all your preferred modes if you’re going to study and learn at your best.
If you’re still not sure which of the VARK categories you fall into, or even if you’re an MM learner, you can take the VARK online questionnaire to find out.
Once you’ve identified your individual learning style, it’s a good idea to focus on learning materials for your online courses that facilitate this style of learning, and will make the most of your learning potential. If you feel like there aren’t adequate materials in your course that support your learning style, it’s a good idea to contact your tutor or institution to let them know – generally, they too want to do their best to ensure you’re reaching your full learning potential.