What are Learning Styles?

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2.0 What are Learning Styles?

There are several competing theories about how people learn, and websites where you can assess your natural learning style. If you want to follow this up further, there are references at the end of this section. To give a highly simplified overview, the theories cover three main aspects of how people study:

  • perceiving information
  • processing information
  • organising and presenting information.

2.1 Perceiving information

When we gather information about the world around us (including the information we need in order to study), we employ all our senses. But some of us employ one sense more than others. The VARK system (described by Fleming, 2001) assesses how much people rely on:

Visual (sight)

Auditory (hearing),

Reading and

Kinaesthetic (other sensations which includes touch and temperature as well as movement).

People say things like ‘I’m an auditory learner’ (meaning that they are comfortable absorbing information which they have heard or discussed); or ‘I’m a kinaesthetic learner’ (if they prefer to learn through practical classes and hands-on activities, rather than by reading books and listening to


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