VAK is essentially a style of learning that stands for visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. It was first designed by Mr. Walter Burke Barbe and developed by Mr. Neil Fleming later.
In a VAK learning system, students or learners are categorized as follows:
- Learners who intake information using sight are visual learners;
- Learners who intake information using sound or audio are the auditory learners;
- Learners who intake information from movements are kinesthetic learners.
Most people use any one style for learning, either visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. However, it is observed that often two or more learning styles are combined by learners. Learners are benefited the most from their one or more primary learning styles.
Different Types of Learning Styles
In this section, we will take a closer look at the various learning styles. We will also try to understand how these work for different learners.
Learners who are comfortable using this visual style of learning often find pictures and visuals as the best option. They follow the teacher’s body language and facial expressions to grasp the lesson being taught fully. That might be the reason that they prefer to sit in front of the classroom. They are more capable of imagining and picturizing a concept for learning. Diagrams or images and illustrations in textbooks or classroom boards, overhead transparencies, interactive whiteboards, hand-outs or notes, even videos, and clip arts are the best ways in which visual learners are most comfortable. They typically note down what is being taught to them. It helps them absorb a lesson and related information.
Here are a few tips that would be helpful for the teachers to teach visual learners. Furthermore, students who prefer visual learning can also take tips from the following points to enhance their ways of learning.
- Highlighting the important points in textbooks or hand-outs and notes is really helpful for grabbing the attention of visual learners.
- For teaching visual learners, teachers may consider using a tape recorder to record their lectures, presentations, instructions, and other relevant teaching methods, which will aid the visual learners in fast learning. Students who prefer visual learning might try looking out for such helpful tools which will make their study easier.
- Teachers must emphasize using the glossary, indexes, appendices, chapter summaries, etc. provided in the textbooks, as a measure for teaching the students who prefer visual learning. It is always a good idea to utilize all the provided diagrams or illustrations of the textbooks to explain a concept to these students.
In this learning style, learners or students best learn through verbal lessons. Discussions related to the lesson and talking through the lesson work well for auditory learners. Such learners interpret the elemental concepts of speech; they tend to follow the pitch, speed, and tone of voice for learning. They are more comfortable in hearing the text for learning, rather than just seeing it. Auditory learners prefer reading out the text aloud or perhaps using a tape recorder for studying.
Following are a few points that will be useful for teachers to understand how learning can be made easy for auditory learners. Also, auditory learners will get ideas for making the learning process easier for themselves.
- The students who prefer auditory learning are keener towards listening to their teacher when it comes to studying a lesson. Hence, it is advisable for teachers to read out the lessons or their prepared notes aloud. Verbal communication works best for auditory learners.
- Working in small study groups is also a great idea to pursue teaching for auditory learners. The best possible discussion can be done in small groups. It makes grasping the essence of a topic easier for the students preferring auditory learning.
- It is best to highlight the information that is important for the students to remember by reciting. As auditory learners are more focused on interpreting the voice, tone, and pitch of speech, it is best to repeat important points to grab their attention toward it.
- It is crucial for teachers to review their printed material or hand-outs before the auditory lesson is conducted. It eliminates the possibilities of mistakes (if any) present in the prepared notes or presentation.
Students who prefer the Kinesthetic style of learning, learn through an interactive approach, that includes hands-on practical measures. They best learn by exploring the physical environment in which they are present. Characteristically, they show difficulty in sitting for a long time and studying at a stretch. Long classes might make it easy for them to get distracted, and they frequently need breaks for activity and exploration.
Teachers might consider the following points for teaching students who prefer the kinesthetic or tactile style of learning:
- Frequent study breaks should be allowed for students who learn through the kinesthetic style, as it becomes difficult for them to concentrate on a class without exploration for long periods.
- Teachers must focus to make the class as interactive as possible. Using toys, props, or objects relevant to the lesson. For example, they can use a model of human heart while teaching about it to make it more relatable to such students.
VAK has been proven to be efficient in catering to the needs of different students preferring different learning styles. No one student practices a single style of learning. However, different students show and have their own preferred style of learning. It is necessary to attempt serving for all learning styles by teacher during teaching, and VAK education has been helpful for catering to such needs. It ensures the most efficient learning.
VAK learning makes the lessons more enjoyable for students. Ideally, a successful VAK model includes activities that serves all three styles of learning to help all kinds of students. Thus, using VAK can help teachers create an enriching educational environment for the students.