How to identify a student’s primary learning style and guide them to success

How to identify a student’s primary learning style and guide them to success

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primary learning style

The ultimate goal of education is to provide knowledge and improve learning in students. There are many techniques and methods used in education to help students learn. However, it’s important to note that the same teaching methods may not produce the same results in all students as each student’s learning style is unique.

How to Identify Learning Styles

Identifying learning styles involves observing how individuals absorb and process information uniquely. Some grasp concepts better through visual aids, thriving on diagrams and charts. Others excel with auditory learning, benefiting from lectures or discussions. Kinesthetic learners, on the other hand, prefer hands-on experiences, finding practical applications more effective. Educators can identify these styles by paying attention to students’ preferences, and noting if they respond better to visual aids, verbal instructions, or hands-on activities. Tailoring teaching methods to diverse learning styles enhances comprehension and engagement, fostering a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

What is Learning style?

The term “learning style” refers to a student’s method of comprehending new information, which is often done through sight, touch, and sound. Taste and smell can also be useful in remembering information, but are used less frequently. A student’s ability to absorb, process, understand, and retain information depends on their preferred learning style. There are several types of learning styles that have been identified.

Student Learnign Styles

Each student possesses a unique learning style that influences how they absorb and process information. For example, Sarah thrives in a hands-on approach, excelling when engaged in practical activities. On the other hand, Alex prefers visual aids, comprehending concepts better through diagrams and charts. Understanding these individual preferences allows educators to tailor teaching methods, ensuring each student grasps and retains information effectively. Recognizing diverse learning styles enhances the overall learning experience, fostering a more inclusive and impactful educational environment for every student.

Types of Learning styles

Learning styles in students are influenced by cognitive, emotional, contextual, and prior experience factors. To provide the best teaching methods, teachers must be aware of the variations in their students’ learning styles. Learning styles are not a guide for teaching, but they can help identify a student’s preferred method of processing and retaining knowledge. Thus, learning styles are still encouraged in education as a tool for teachers to support students and differentiate lessons.

VARK model

Education continues to promote learning styles as a way for teachers to support students and differentiate lessons. Learning styles are not a prescription for teaching students, but they help a teacher recognize the preferential way a student processes and retains information. There are several modes of learning styles identified in students. Primary learning styles (VARK model) are the ones that play a significant role in achieving successful learning outcomes in students. This is among the most widely used since it sufficiently addresses learner diversity and needs.


The VARK model stands for: 

Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic/Tactile

Also Read: Back at school, Indian teachers face a crisis of discipline. How to solve these issues?

Identifying a student’s primary learning style and guiding them to success:

1. Visual: Visual learners learn by sight


The visual learners in class enjoy seeing and observing the things they are studying. Visual learners prefer to access information through images, diagrams, and textual instructions. It has also been referred to as “spatial” learning. To interact with and absorb information, visual or spatial learners may create lists, draw pictures, or take notes.

These learners benefit from the following:

  • Images and diagrams
  • Graphics and visuals
  • Charts
  • Maps
  • Mind-maps
  • Flashcards

Guide students to success: What can be done?

  • Use visual aids; most other students will gain from seeing things.
  • To aid with visual imagery, offer visual parallels and metaphors.
  • When using graphics for a particular topic, it can be challenging, but writing out essential ideas in front of the class can help students understand them visually.
  • In place of colors and images, use words.
  • Because this requires looking at your presentation or visualizing what you’re delivering, instruct the students to take notes and write down explanations.
  • Use of color or emphasize the text’s main points.
  • Don’t use a lot of text at once.
  • Include activities that require kids to draw mental maps.
  • Use narrative to aid with visualizing.
  • Any resources you supply should be color-coded and organized, as this will aid in their mental organization.
  • Encourage kids to visualize using words like, “ picture this”, “imagine”, etc

2. Auditory: Auditory learners learn by hearing 


Students who are auditory learners do best when they listen and connect the concepts to sound. These are the students who would rather listen to a lecture or a tape than take notes in writing. They might also be students who speak through and think aloud about ideas before diving into them. The loudest participants in the class are probably auditory learners. In addition, they can be the ones that read aloud to themselves. To understand the directions, auditory learners frequently repeat what the teacher has stated.

These learners benefit from the following:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Group discussions
  • Verbal repetition
  • Sound recordings
  • Mnemonic devices

Guide students to success: What can be done? 

  • Use visual aids; most other students will gain from seeing things.
  • To aid with visual imagery, offer visual parallels and metaphors.
  • Encourage the participation of your students in class discussions.
  • If reading is necessary, consider suggesting audiobooks.
  • Encourage them to play music while they study the content.
  • Allow recordings of your training sessions or make your lessons available via online course platforms. This is useful for different learning styles as well. 
  • Pair up with students so they may discuss concepts.
  • Encourage problem-solving aloud.
  • Recommend that they read their notes aloud to themselves once they get home.
  • Use rhyming and mnemonic techniques.
  • Play relevant sounds from your computer when you are explaining a story.

3. Reading/Writing:Read/write learners learn by reading and writing


Because reading and writing learners prefer to learn through the written word, this learning style frequently needs to be clarified with visual learning. Although it may appear that this is learning through visual means, reading/writing preference learners can be identified as those who prefer to express themselves through writing. They also like to write in journals or diaries and read articles. Students with reading and writing styles may be encyclopedia and search engine specialists. They seek information through reading.

These learners benefit from the following:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Making detailed notes
  • Re-writing notes to revise
  • Viewing information in word form

Guide students to success: What can be done?

  • Use writing exercises and verbal instruction.
  • Instruct them to present.
  • Make use of mnemonics or acronyms.
  • Request that the class read aloud. Instead of reading in a monotone, try to get them to read in a variety of ways
  • Suggest that they teach certain knowledge to the class’s members.
  • Include quizzes in your lessons.
  • Encourage them to reread their notes and rework them, including the summaries.
  • Include tests in your lesson plans.
  • Lists of keywords might be shown to them or given to them.

4. Kinesthetic: Kinaesthetic learners learn by touch 


Kinesthetic or tactile learners gain knowledge through doing and experiencing. They frequently act out situations and converse with their hands while using their bodies as learning tools. In the classroom, a kinesthetic learner could appear unstable and clumsy. They are skilled at using their bodies to follow instructions in a game or dance, and students who are particularly talented athletes or dancers may learn best through kinesthetic means.

These learners benefit from the following:

  • Movement
  • Tactile representations
  • Models and materials
  • Physical interactions
  • Hands-on approaches
  • Experience and practice

Guide students to success: What can be done? 

  • Use physical activities and give practical experiences.
  • Exercises that require them to walk and stand still are particularly effective.
  • Because writing is a physical activity, provide activities where students may map out their thoughts and solve problems with a pen and paper.
  • Look for a location that offers these students ample room to write and create.
  • Encourage them to create graphs, maps, and diagrams.
  • Encourage children to engage with actual objects or finish puzzles.
  • Role-playing.
  • Give concrete examples from the real world, such as case studies.
  • Encourage them to do some activity while they go over their notes.
  • Suggest that they teach the other students some of the lesson’s material
  • When you ask them to visualize something, describe the feelings that would be experienced. For example, “The wind was forcibly hitting against the body.

Identify the learning style

1 student : 1 learning style – Harmful?

Attributing each student with only one learning style can prove harmful in the due course of a students’ learning. A student may miss out on other learning chances with a higher likelihood of success if they are pigeonholed as a specific “kind” of learner and their classes are all planned with that in mind.

It’s not easy to modify education to fit each student’s unique “learning styles,”  So the best practice is Multimodal style of learning.

Multimodal Style: The most crucial style of learning

According to studies (KU -The university of KANAS), about 50 and 70 percent of students have preferences for a variety of learning styles. These multimodal learners typically perform better in classes when they are exposed to a variety of learning styles simultaneously or in combination throughout the day. A multimodal learner may be bimodal, showing a preference for two of the four main learning styles, trimodal, showing a choice for three out of the four, or fully multimodal, showing a balanced distribution of learning styles. Some students can select the style they want to use to finish an assignment or adjust to the mode that a teacher has decided is the correct answer type.

No matter the type of learner, implementing a multimodal approach to lesson design supports learners of all types.

Evidence against the different learning styles:

According to the evidence cited below, there is no discernible correlation between student grade achievement and their primary learning style or any learning style(s) they scored highly on.

No evidence to back idea of learning styles
Learning styles as a myth
The myth of ‘learning styles’
Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles
The concept of different “learning styles” is a myth

It’s beneficial to be familiar with various teaching techniques despite the contradictory evidence regarding the usefulness of various learning styles. It is possible to hold your students’ interest for longer periods of time and improve the learning process by diversifying the teaching strategies.

In conclusion, recognizing and accommodating diverse learning styles is pivotal for fostering a truly inclusive educational environment. The ability to tailor teaching methods to individual preferences enhances students’ comprehension and overall academic success. Varthana, with its commitment to educational excellence, provides invaluable support to institutions. Backed by Varthana’s unique offerings, such as digital classrooms, comprehensive curriculum solutions, and essential school infrastructure, the journey toward elevated educational standards becomes not only possible but also remarkably achievable. Institutions are urged to explore Varthana’s diverse resources and seize the opportunity to enhance the quality of education for a brighter future- Apply Now


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