Learning Style

Last Updated: June 29, 2018

Definition - What does Learning Style mean?

A person's learning style refers to the way in which they best receive and process information. While an individual may learn through many different methods, most people will favor some methods over others. A person will usually show a preference for information presented in their favored learning style. For instance, some individuals prefer to learn using hands-on activities while others tend to learn better through listening to lectures. Since the concept of learning styles was first developed, several competing theories have arisen. Nonetheless, evaluating students' learning styles continues to be one tool used to develop teaching methods and curricula to improve educational outcomes.

WorkplaceTesting explains Learning Style

Researchers have conducted several different studies meant to identify various learning styles for both children and adults. Results differ as to the number of learning styles that exist across populations. One commonly accepted set of learning styles is the VARK modalities. VARK is an acronym for visual, aural/auditory, read/write and kinesthetic. Applying this system, a person who learns best by taking notes would be considered to favor the read/write learning style. In comparison, a person who learns best by participating in physical demonstrations would be said to have a kinesthetic learning style. Some researchers include the additional categories of logical, social, and solitary to define an individual's learning style, bringing the total number of styles to seven. Still others define learning styles based on the individual student's cognitive approach, using such categories as avoidant or participative, competitive or collaborative, dependent or independent.

Knowing an individual's learning style helps instructors select the best method to convey information to that individual. Additionally, students of all ages can improve their ability to acquire information through awareness and use of their preferred learning style. In the workplace, knowing an employee's learning style can assist in job training and also give supervisors insight into what type of management style the employee will best respond to.

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