Can Learning Styles be Identified through Observation?

Can Learning Styles be Identified through Observation?

Although there are a variety of different learning style theories, the simplest to observe and watch for is Walter Burke Barbe’s VAK. VAK is an acronym for visual, auditory and kinesthetic.Can Learning Styles be Identified through Observation?

Visual Learners

Visual learners observe the world around them. They are highly drawn to art, illustrations, photos, sketches or anything that will be visually stimulating. They will particularly be drawn to screens – computers, tablets, smartphones or even movies. They will quickly pull in this information, retain it and recite what they have seen.

These type of learners will even be able to recall data quickly, especially when associated with a memory. They will recall people, names, places and explicit details.

This type of learner prefers to learn in situations which emphasize images and graphics.

Signs of a Visual Learner:

  • Observant of the surrounding world
  • Drawn into technology involving screens, such as computers, tablets, smartphones
  • Vivid imagination
  • Possesses detailed memories with an ability to describe visual aspects
  • Sense of direction, enjoys maps
  • Love of books and reading
  • Interest in pictures, photos, sketching, art
  • Easily recalls people, places, things and even faces

Auditory Learners

Sounds attract the auditory learners, especially music. They will demonstrate a proficiency for musical instruments or even singing. They tend to possess optimal verbal strengths and are capable of following oral directions. These learners will be good listeners.

This type of learner prefers to learn in situations with verbal presentations and little participation.

Signs of an Auditory Learner:

  • Quickly cues into music
  • Possesses a strong verbal ability
  • Talent for music and instruments
  • Notices sounds
  • Sings to themselves
  • Creates their own music
  • Good listener
  • Follows directions
  • Enjoys talking

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are physical. They possess a strong sense of balance and will learn best by touching. They need to do things by themselves, preferring experimenting over observing. They tend to be gifted at sports and dancing. A kinesthetic learner will be seen gesturing while talking.

This type of learner prefers to learn in situations which emphasizes the learner and physical interactions with the materials.

Signs of a Kinesthetic Learner:

  • Natural capacity for sports, dance and other physical activities which require movement and interaction
  • Fidget
  • Experimental, hands-on
  • Precise hand-eye coordination
  • Tend to develop physically early -such as walking or crawling
  • Use gestures while speaking

By Tracy Atkinson

Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband and spirited long-haired miniature dachshunds. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including MBTI Learning Styles: A Practical Approach, The Art of Learning Journals, Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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