What kind of learner are you?

By 3rd February 2020Education

What kind of learner are you?

What is a Learning Style?

Let’s get something straight from the off — in tutoring, what works is the alchemy of the one-to-one relationship between the student and tutor. However, with only one person to focus on, tutors can try a variety of teaching styles and methods in order to work out the most effective way of helping the student understand a topic. This is something that an experienced and effective tutor will do intuitively.

But could prior understanding of the tutee’s learning style help here? Oxford Tutors continues to pursue the highest and most effective standards of tailored academic tutoring. These standards apply to all our tutors whether weathered professionals or those at the start of their career. With previous knowledge of a tutee’s preferred learning style, the tutor is guided to an awareness of different teaching styles and their effect on their tutees. The tutor is led therefore to a self-critical (in the positive sense) evaluation of her/his practice.

There are many different learning styles models extant, but the most popular one seems to be the VAK model due to its simplicity and ease of applicability. The VAK model uses three main sensory receivers – Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic – to determine the dominant learning style. Of course, learners use all three modalities to learn and process new information but according to this model one or two modalities are likely to dominate. The dominant style(s) defines the best way for the learner to acquire and understand new information. However, the VAK theorists acknowledge that teachers need to use all three styles in their presentations. Styles may also differ for different topics.

Visual

Someone with a dominant visual learning style remembers information better if it is presented through images, maps, graphs or diagrams.

The tutor may try any of the following methods

    • Use graphs, diagrams or other visual aids

    • Use images to support theory

    • Create handouts – these can be given out in advance of the next tutorial

    • Encourage the student to write things down – questions, answers, mind maps etc

Auditory

Such learners prefer talking to others and discussing the material. They tend to focus on what is being said.

The tutor might

  • Give a short introduction and conclude with a summary when presenting new information

  • Ask lots of questions

  • Encourage participative interaction

  • Create dialogues

  • Use brainstorming

Kinaesthetic

Such a learner prefers the more practical approach and likes to learn through motion and touch where possible. They like to be active while learning and can be distracted when there is little or no external stimulation or movement.

The tutor might

  • Use game-like activities

  • Use coloured pens in their presentations

  • Keep interaction going

  • Keep moving!

We are excited to begin using this research to improve the quality of our teaching. We will be trialling these ideas with our students and tutors over the coming weeks and months.  Follow this link to find your learning style.

— David B Levey, Academic Coordinator, david.levey@oxfordtutors.com
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