I really enjoy reading a good book, espionage / adventure being my favourite genre. Reading a text book is a very different matter. I find reading a text book or instruction manual laborious, akin to walking through thick sticky mud. Give me a video, or a demonstration instead and I’m away.
If we can understand how we learn most effectively, we can structure our learning to suit our own strengths. Studies have shown that there are four main categories of learning preferences;
Visual: depicting information in graphs, flow charts, mind maps, pictures etc
Auditory: spoken information
Read/Write: written information
Kinaesthetic: information through experience or practice
There’s a quick VARK test available online to establish your preferred learning style, however, don’t be surprised if your score shows you to be multi modal; this means you have more than one preference.
My VARK score reveals my learning preference to be both visual and auditory which I have to agree is spot on. In fact when I first began teaching I taught in the way I learn, limiting my approach to talking (auditory) about my powerpoint slides (visual). I soon realised this approach left a lot to be desired.
A big problem arises when a teacher with a singular approach is unable to adapt to a student who has a different learning preference, leaving the learner feeling frustrated at best and ‘stupid’ at worst. This scenario is all too common within driver training.
In order to counter this, until I get to know my pupils learning preference, I offer options on how a subject might be dealt with; would you like me to show you some diagrams / pictures, give a full talk through, would you like me to demonstrate, would you prefer to just have a go? Let’s face it, the pupil knows themselves better than anyone else, so they should dictate how they’re taught (there are many traditional instructors who would disagree).
So, give the VARK questionnaire a go and see how well it matches your own perception of your preferred learning style.