4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (2024)

If you have a kid or student that’s being educated in a blended classroom or hybrid learning environment for the first time, chances are they could be feeling a bit lost.

From adapting to digital coursework to staying disciplined with minimal face-to-face interactions, getting used to this new type of education may cause them to struggle — especially if their individual learning style isn’t being addressed.

Gaining momentum in the 1960s through tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the learning style theory posits that different students learn best when information is presented to them in a particular way. The learning style theory was popularized in 1992 when Fleming and Mills suggested a new model of learning. The VARK Model is used to explain the different ways that students learn. For example, if a student is a “visual learner,” a verbal lecture alone might leave them feeling unengaged, confused, and frustrated.

While some critics doubt the efficacy of the learning style theory, its popularity in schools today makes it a topic well-worth paying attention to — specifically if some of your students are having a tough go at retaining information while learning remotely.

At Sphero, we believe that understanding individual learning styles are important for both parents and teachers to consider, as your struggling students might need coursework uniquely presented to them to effectively absorb the material. However, we recognize there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to education. Students may benefit from one or all of these learning styles depending on the subject or information being presented, for example.

With this guide, we will help you identify the four core learning styles among your students, as well as provide you with helpful resources to easily implement changes in your curriculum to meet the needs of all.

What are the four learning styles?

The four core learning styles in the VARK model include visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Here’s an overview of all four learning style types.

  1. Visual - Visual learners are better able to retain information when it’s presented to them in a graphic depiction, such as arrows, charts, diagrams, symbols, and more. Similar to how designers use visual hierarchy to emphasize specific design elements, visual learners thrive with clear pictures of information hierarchy.
  2. Auditory - Sometimes referred to as “aural” learners, auditory learners prefer listening to information that is presented to them vocally. These learners work well in group settings where vocal collaboration is present and may enjoy reading aloud to themselves, too.
  3. Reading & Writing - Focusing on the written word, reading and writing learners succeed with written information on worksheets, presentations, and other text-heavy resources. These learners are note-takers and perform strongly when they can reference written text.
  4. Kinesthetic - Taking a physically active role, kinesthetic learners are hands-on and thrive when engaging all of their senses during course work. These learners tend to work well in scientific studies due to the hands-on lab component of the course.

The VARK Model:Four Types ofLearning Styles

Successfully implementing the VARK model into your classroom means recognizing your students’ unique educational needs on a fundamental level.

Learning Style Type #1: Visual Learners

How to Identify This Learning Style Type: Visual Learners

4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (1)

Visual learners enjoy analyzing and observing things like pictures, diagrams, and charts that showcase clear information in order of importance. You can oftentimes find visual learners by paying attention to students who are doodling, list-making, or note-taking.

How to Teach This Learning Style Type: Visual Learners

Whether you’re using a whiteboard, smartboard, or giving a presentation, make sure visual learners have enough time to process and absorb visual cues. When possible, visual learners should have access to supplementary handouts that detail subject matter through clear visuals whenever possible. Additionally, allow these learners to draw pictures, diagrams, or doodles of what they are learning to reinforce retention.

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Sphero and littleBits Activities Visual Learners Will Love

Draw 1: Shapes

With this visual learning activity, your child will be introduced to Sphero’s Draw canvas by drawing shapes that represent code. Then, they can execute that code with a Sphero robot. Perfect for visual learners, your students will be able to hand-draw their very own robot to showcase their programming skills.

BOLT: Light Sensor

With flashlights or other portable light sources (cell phones work well), this activity for visual learners allows your students to discover BOLT’s ambient light sensor. The light sensor allows BOLT to sense the amount of light it is exposed to during a program, which means your students will be able to see light act as a trigger for conditionals or dynamic functions.

Learning Style Type #2: Auditory Learners

How toIdentify This Type of Learning Style: Auditory Learners

4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (2)

Auditory learners prefer learning subject matter that is presented through sound. You can find auditory learners by paying attention to students who are actively engaging with a lecture. You may find them nodding along or asking frequent questions rather than taking written notes. Additionally, these learners might read slowly, read aloud to themselves, or repeat things you tell them to help with retention.

How to Teach This Type of Learning Style: Auditory Learners

If you’re giving a lecture, make sure you are addressing your auditory learners directly to get them involved in the conversation. Have them do things like verbally detailing a new concept they just learned, and ask them follow-up questions while giving them the time they need to respond. Group discussions, engaging videos, and audio recordings are other great ways to engage auditory learners in your classroom.

Sphero and littleBits Activities Auditory Learners Will Love

Back to the Future

In this exciting activity for auditory learners, your students will recreate the Delorean time machine from the “Back to the Future” movies. First, they will program RVR to accelerate to a speed of 88 to time travel. Then, they will build their very own invention with the littleBits RVR Topper Kit, which triggers a buzzer when RVR is safely back to the future. If your students have never seen the “Back to the Future” movies, you can show them short scenes to help orient this activity.

Bubble Flute

With a few simple materials and a littleBits STEAM Kit, your auditory learner can use the sound of their voice to create bubbles. This challenge allows your students to experiment with sound waves and learn how common items interact with each other to make something new.

Learning Style Type #3: Reading & Writing Learners

How toIdentify This Learning Style in the Classroom: Reading & Writing Learners

4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (3)

Preferring written word, reading, and writing learners are drawn to textbooks, novels, articles, journals, and anything that is text-heavy. Similar to visual learners, you can find reading and writing learners by paying attention to students who take elaborate notes, reference the dictionary to learn new words, or use online search engines to find answers to their questions.

How to Teach This Learning Style Type: Reading & Writing Learners

Writing essays, performing in-depth research, reading textbooks, and more, reading, and writing learners prefer more traditional methods of subject matter delivery. However, make sure these learners have ample time to absorb written course material and give them every opportunity to get their ideas down on paper or a digital device.

Sphero and littleBits Activities Reading & Writing Learners Will Love

Bridge Challenge

The Bridge Challenge starts with your students researching and learning about different types of bridges used in architecture, which is perfect for reading and writing learners. Then, using common household belongings or craft supplies — such as tape, string, glue, and popsicle sticks — they can use their newfound knowledge to build a bridge that a Sphero robot can drive across.

The Masked Sphero

In this activity, you can have your reading and writing learners research the history and importance of cloth face coverings. Then, they can write a short essay on how wearing a mask can help protect others by minimizing airborne bacteria. Afterward, your class can create a mask out of tissue paper for their Sphero BOLT to protect its sensor against incoming light. This activity provides a direct representation of how germs can spread more easily without face coverings.

Learning Style Type #4: Kinesthetic Learners

How toIdentify This Type of Learning Style: Kinesthetic Learners

4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (4)

Kinesthetic learners are “tactile” learners, meaning they prefer to physically act out events or use all of their senses while learning. These types of learners are easy to find, as they likely have a difficult time sitting still and might need frequent breaks during heavy studying periods.

How to Teach This Type of Learning Style: Kinesthetic Learners

When possible, get kinesthetic learners up and moving. If you’re teaching Shakespeare, for example, have them act out a scene with a few of their kinesthetic-focused peers. You can also create learning games that encourage these types of learners to move about the classroom at different points in the lesson.

Sphero and littleBits Activities Kinesthetic Learners Will Love

Sphero Long Jump

Sphero Long Jump is the perfect challenge for kinesthetic learners, as you can easily get your students up and moving. During this activity, have your students learn about what the long jump is and how science can be used to maximize jumping distance. With supervision, students could even try their own long jump in a safe area and measure their distance! Afterward, with just a few craft supplies, they can create an adjustable, homemade ramp and DIY long jump pit for their Sphero.

Animal Imitation

With this hands-on activity, your kinesthetic learners can become ethologists and technologists at the same time. To start, your students will study the movements of their favorite animal (including how the animal sees, smells, and interacts with other animals) and program RVR to mimic how it navigates in the wild. Plus, your students will be able to utilize littleBits inventions to mimic this animal’s behavior. To go one step further, your class could even act out their chosen animal’s behaviors!


Implement the Right Learning Style for Your Remote Students

If you have a student that’s struggling, uncovering their unique learning style could help you get them back on track. Whether they are a visual, auditory, reading and writing, or kinesthetic learner, you can implement a plethora of activities in your curriculum that facilitate subject matter retention, course engagement, and an enjoyable educational experience.

To learn more about how to programmable robots and STEM kits appeal to all learning styles, and for more information on how to integrate Sphero and littleBits in the classroom, check out our getting started resources page for educators.

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4 Types of Learning Styles | The VARK Model (2024)

FAQs

What are the four VARK learning styles? ›

The acronym VARK stands for the VARK modalities – Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic – sensory modalities that are used for learning information. Fleming and Mills (1992) suggested these four modalities that seem to reflect the experiences of students and teachers.

What is the VARK model? ›

The VARK learning style model introduced by Fleming includes a questionnaire that identifies a person's sensory modality preference in learning. This model classifies students into four different learning modes; visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R), and kinesthetic (K).

What does VARK mean in teaching? ›

VARK is an acronym that refers to the four types of learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing Preference, and Kinesthetic. ( The VARK model is also referred to as the VAK model, eliminating Reading/Writing as a category of preferential learning.)

What is the most common VARK learning style? ›

VARK Type Two is the most common preference, with 25.5% of participants having this four-part preference. Kinesthetic is the most common single preference (22.8% of participants). Visual is by far the least common single preference with only 1.9% of participants having a single Visual preference.

Why is VARK learning styles important? ›

The main advantage of focusing on the VARK modalities is that both students and teachers can adjust their behaviors to best personalize learning and teaching. The VARK model can be used by teachers to help with strategies of how best to plan and promote student learning based on their type of learning style.

Is VARK a learning theory? ›

One of the biggest contributors is education theorist Neil Fleming, who introduced the VARK learning theory, which attributes students either as visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinaesthetic learners.

What do VARK results mean? ›

The results of your VARK indicate your preferences but are not necessarily your strengths. Some preferences may change as you mature. Work experiences and life experiences will blur differences between preferences as you learn to use aural, visual, read/write and kinesthetic modes equally well.

Who made the VARK model? ›

The VARK model was designed by Neil Fleming in 1987. In this model, Fleming developed a way to help students learn more about their preferences. VARK learning styles are visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. Personally, I have always been more of a visual and somewhat kinesthetic or Hands-On learner.

Is the VARK model valid? ›

Another study demonstrated the VARK model has no validity. Student grade performance was not correlated in any meaningful way with their dominant learning style or with any learning style(s) they scored highly on.

How do you teach students with different learning styles? ›

Tips for Accommodating
  1. Engage the student in conversation about the subject matter.
  2. Question students about the material.
  3. Ask for oral summaries of material.
  4. Have them tape lectures and review them with you.
  5. Have them tape themselves reviewing material and listen to it together.
  6. Read material aloud to them.
6 Apr 2021

What is VAK and VARK? ›

One family of models emphasizes the sensory modalities of informing stimuli. The models in this family may use different terms to describe same or similar learning styles. These models often describe four basic learning styles: Visual learning (learn by seeing)

Do VARK learning styles have a positive impact on learning? ›

Piping (2005) in his study also has proven that VARK learning style can enhance students' understanding as well as raise learning motivation and interest among students.

What does kinesthetic mean in VARK? ›

Kinesthetic learning is a learning style in which one prefers a “hands on” approach to learning, or to learn by doing [19]. Kinesthetic learners prefer this physical interaction to say, reading a textbook or watching a lecture. Kinesthetic learners learn through active movement and experience [20].

What is multimodal VARK? ›

There are four main methods of multimodal learning; visual, auditory, reading and writing and kinesthetic (VARK). Some experts believe that people prefer one over the other; for example they have a preference for visual learning, however the evidence to back this up is sparse.

What are the disadvantages of VARK? ›

One major criticism that the VARK model has is that one cannot categorize learners to be visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic exclusively. Some learners prefer one over the other, but several others fall somewhere in the middle and learn best when combining some of these.

What is the difference of 7 learning styles and VARK? ›

His learning styles are broadly categorized into VARK which stands for visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory known as the seven learning styles is an expanded form of Fleming's model.

What is VARK PDF? ›

The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic. These are the sensory modalities that are used for learning information.

How accurate is VARK? ›

From Dr Leite's research, the reliability estimates for the scores of the VARK sub-scales were 0.85, 0.82, 0.84 and 0.77 for the Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic sub-scales, respectively. These are considered adequate.

What is learning styles in psychology? ›

Learning styles can be defined, classified, and identified in many different way. Generally, they are overall patterns that provide direction to learning and teaching. Learning style can also be described as a set of factors, behaviors, and attitudes that facilitate learning for an individual in a given situation.

What are the different types of learners? ›

This model identifies four types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Most people are a combination of these four styles, but more times than not, they have a predominant style of learning. Each of these styles has a complementary way of teaching.

How do learning styles affect students? ›

Learning styles affect learning outcomes through learning motivation in economic subjects, meaning that students who have a visual learning style accompanied by learning motivation will have high learning outcomes, compared to students who have auditory and kinesthetic learning styles.

What are learning styles and strategies? ›

Learning styles are habitual patterns of perceiving, processing, or reacting to information. Learning strategies. Learning strategies are the specific actions one takes and/or techniques one uses in order to learn.

Why is it important to cater for different learning styles? ›

Benefits of Catering to Different Learning Styles

Also, by adjusting each lesson to meet the needs of the individual, every student in the classroom will be more engaged. It becomes a more effective learning environment for everyone. By catering to multiple learning styles, we appeal to all types of learners.

What does the VARK assessment measure? ›

The VARK measures four perceptual preferences: visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R), and kinesthetic (K). VARK questions can be viewed as testlets because respondents can select multiple items within a question.

What is an example of kinesthetic learning? ›

Kinaesthetic learning happens when we have a hands-on experience. An example of a kinaesthetic learning experience is when a child learns to use a swing or to ride a bike. They can read instructions or listen to instructions, but deep learning occurs via the process of doing.

How do kinesthetic learners learn? ›

STEPS: Kinesthetic Learners! - YouTube

What is an example of multimodal? ›

Simple multimodal texts include comics/graphic novels, picture books, newspapers, brochures, print advertisements, posters, storyboards, digital slide presentations (e.g. PowerPoint), e-posters, e-books, and social media.

What are examples of multimodal learning? ›

4 Examples Of Multimodal Learning
  • Case-Based Learning. It refers to the use of real-life examples when introducing or going through a concept in class. ...
  • Multimedia Research Projects. ...
  • Educational Games. ...
  • Think-Pair-Share Strategy.
16 Dec 2020

What is VAK and VARK? ›

One family of models emphasizes the sensory modalities of informing stimuli. The models in this family may use different terms to describe same or similar learning styles. These models often describe four basic learning styles: Visual learning (learn by seeing)

What do VARK results mean? ›

The results of your VARK indicate your preferences but are not necessarily your strengths. Some preferences may change as you mature. Work experiences and life experiences will blur differences between preferences as you learn to use aural, visual, read/write and kinesthetic modes equally well.

What is the VARK assessment? ›

Finding Your Learning Style VARK Explained - YouTube

Who came up with the four learning styles? ›

The VARK model was designed by Neil Fleming in 1987. In this model, Fleming developed a way to help students learn more about their preferences. VARK learning styles are visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. Personally, I have always been more of a visual and somewhat kinesthetic or Hands-On learner.

Is the VARK model valid? ›

Another study demonstrated the VARK model has no validity. Student grade performance was not correlated in any meaningful way with their dominant learning style or with any learning style(s) they scored highly on.

What is the difference of 7 learning styles and VARK? ›

His learning styles are broadly categorized into VARK which stands for visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory known as the seven learning styles is an expanded form of Fleming's model.

What is a multimodal learner VARK? ›

What is the VARK Model? The VARK model by Neil Fleming classifies learner preferences into 4 basic categories – visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (VARK) and is the birthplace of the multimodal learning concept. VARK is a valuable model to use during the development of multimodal learning material.

Who created the VARK questionnaire? ›

Charles Bonwell developed the VARK questionnaire and support materials that can be viewed interactively at www. vark- learn.com. One of his books applies the VARK principles to athletics and sports and is titled Sports Coaching and Learning.

What is VARK PDF? ›

The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic. These are the sensory modalities that are used for learning information.

Do VARK learning styles have a positive impact on learning? ›

Piping (2005) in his study also has proven that VARK learning style can enhance students' understanding as well as raise learning motivation and interest among students.

What does kinesthetic mean in VARK? ›

Kinesthetic learning is a learning style in which one prefers a “hands on” approach to learning, or to learn by doing [19]. Kinesthetic learners prefer this physical interaction to say, reading a textbook or watching a lecture. Kinesthetic learners learn through active movement and experience [20].

What are the 4 stages of the learning cycle? ›

Toolbox - Kolb's Four Stages of Learning

Concrete Experience (CE): feeling. Reflective Observation (RO): watching. Abstract Conceptualization (AC): thinking. Active Experimentation (AE): doing.

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