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Discover your learning style with the VAK test

Learning styles VAK
It’s not easy to find a study method that suits every student. This is because everyone has different strengths and it is very important to understand this. Some will fill their notebooks with charts and illustrations, others will read aloud. This article will tell you how to understand your learning style and how to adapt your studying to suit your learning style.

We have all heard someone say: “That person has a very good visual memory!". Or you might have a friend who never remembers what they’re told and has to write everything down. Everyone is different and everyone learns in different ways.

However, there are - and this has often been discussed in educational science - three major categories that describe the type of memory we activate to store information:
  • Visual memory
  • Auditory memory
  • Kinaesthetic memory

The VAK model

The VAK model divides learning styles into three large families: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Theories using these methods are not new and originated as early as the 1920s with researchers such as Fernald, Keller, Stillman and Montessori. These theories have since evolved and served as the basis for other models.

The VAK model distinguishes between:
  • The visual category, in which information is absorbed well if it is written or drawn.
  • Auditory people learn best by listening and speaking. So, they often read information aloud, or simply listen to radio programmes or podcasts.
  • Kinaesthetics learn by doing. This means they have to write down information themselves or have a physical experience by touching, smelling, etc.

How do I perceive my environment?

Let's look at an example: John, Carla and Mary go to the new shopping centre in their town. After spending two hours there, they decide to sit in a cafe and share their opinions on the new centre. John talks about the different posters he saw that impressed him. Carla says that she liked the music and Mary thinks there’s not enough fresh air inside the shopping centre.

This example shows how each person, even if placed in the same situation, perceives things differently and pays more attention to certain elements related to their learning style than to others.

What is my learning style?

Putting all the different personalities into three broad categories may seem limiting, but this is only a model and of course there are people who prefer mixing different learning styles! Knowing which category suits you best can help you find a learning strategy that helps you work most efficiently.

To find out which category you fall into, several experts suggest taking a simple test, usually consisting of 20 short questions: the VAK test. This questionnaire can show which sense between sight, hearing and touch is more dominant when you learn.

How to work according to your learning style

  • Visual style. You can use colour codes and create diagrams, graphs, illustrations and mind maps. When taking notes, formulate short sentences, highlight main ideas and key words.
  • Auditory style. When trying to memorise content, read notes aloud. You can also explain the material to someone else to help them understand and remember better. Some students also find studying with background music very helpful.
  • Kinaesthetic style. You can create flashcards as here a movement is made with the hand when writing down information. For more kinaesthetic study tips read this article very helpful.

Do you want to find out what kind of learner you are? An example of an available test can be found at ProProfs Quizzes.
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