VAK Learning styles; a model for understanding preferences

VAK Learning styles; a model for understanding preferences

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What is the VAK Learning Model?

The VAK model interprets the three ways through which people commonly learn things. While everyone uses a mixture of these three styles, usually one method is more dominant than others. So what does the VAK model include?

  1. Visual: a visually dominant learner picks up and retains information more quickly when they are presented with the knowledge visually.  They engage more when presented with pictures, diagrams, charts and visual aids.
  2. Auditory: an auditory dominant learner is better at picking up and retaining information by listening to it. They respond more to stories, interactive speech, picking up on stressed upon key words and etc.
  3. Kinesthetic: for a kinesthetic learner, they would prefer learning new information and skills by either physically interacting with the object, or physically testing out new information. They are more likely to learn by doing physical activity, through games and hand movements etc. 

How to Detect what the Dominant VAK Learning Style Is

Students and teachers alike use various methods to study and learn. Making notes, reading books, using the internet and attending lectures are some of the many ways of learning.  We all have a way that we prefer to learn; we may not realise which that is or even why we prefer a method.

It is really crucial for educators to specifically familiarize themselves with their dominant learning style. Educators need to be able to identify the learning preference of all their students. Since normal classes consist of a varied group of students, it is best to use different teaching methods to engage the whole class room and effectively conduct the sessions.  Where possible it is better to also interact with each student individually and recognize which way of learning is most suitable for them. This way, teachers would be able to better guide and help the students learn new things effectively.

One way to identify an individual’s learning preference is by focusing on how they respond to situations and conversation. For example;


They respond by using words such as; “I see what you mean”, “I get the picture”, “I remember seeing that” etc. Any words or phrase that can be attributed to their visual senses can indicate their dominant style.


They respond by using phrases such as; “I hear what you’re saying”, “What you say makes sense”, “That rings a bell” “I remember you once mentioned it” or etc. Any phrase that implies that they are referring to their sense of hearing for recall indicates their dominant style.


They usually use phrases that refer to their experiences and their sense of touch. For example; “Let me try that”, “It feels right”, “I remember doing that” etc.


Why is it important to learn the VAK Learning Model


As a professional you have a responsibility to develop your own skills to be better able to perform your role.  This model is vital in terms of how to understand the needs of each of your students.

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About Aly Stone

An avid reader, taking over the literary world one sentence at a time.

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