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4 Types of learning styles; What are they and do they matter?

4 Types of learning styles; What are they and do they matter?

In the late 1980s, Dr. Neil Fleming identified a variety of learning styles which he categorized as the VARK model. (Other researchers and educators have identified additional learning styles, with some models indicating that there may be as many as 70!)

The VARK Model

The VARK model of learning styles is based on the following:

• VISUAL: Learns well when aided by images, pictures and spatial organization of elements

• AUDITORY: Learns well when aided by music, sound, rhyme, rhythm, speaking or listening

• READING/WRITING: Learns well by reading or writing the material

• KINESTHETIC: Learns well when moving and/or using hands and sense of touch. (Writing or drawing diagrams are physical activities that can fall into this category as well.)


There is some criticism regarding learning styles and experts have asked what makes a learning privy to specific types of learning. Is it just preference or is there a driving biological factor? Is it psychologic or perhaps just due to habit?

It’s important to understand that there isn’t a ton of evidence showing that academic outcomes are improved when students’ learning styles are accommodated in the classroom setting.

So, if accommodations don’t help improve outcomes, what does?

A possible explanation

Some experts theorize that learning style preferences can be explained and understood by weighing in on the key role played by cognitive skills.

These brain skills—which include auditory processing, logic & reasoning, processing speed, memory, visual processing and attention—may help sway a learner to learn in ways that are best supported by the strength of that skill. For example, a child who prefers visual learning may have very strong visual processing skills but weak auditory skills.

Strengthening cognitive skills

Instead of using classroom modifications to cater to a variety of learning styles, it’s worth looking into cognitive skills training.

Sometimes referred to as “personal brain training,” this method uses one-on-one game-like exercises to target and train weak cognitive skills.

The process starts with a Cognitive Skills Assessment to identify weak cognitive skills that are at the root of learning struggles. The results of the assessment are then used to create a personalized brain training program. For the 100,000+ students who have gone through LearningRx personal brain training, many have experienced life-changing results. You can read more about some of LearningR’x results here: