When it comes to learning, we’re all unique, with our own ways of absorbing and applying new information.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, the idea of individualised learning styles became popular and various educational experts, psychologists and scientists theorised Learning Style Models to describe our individual differences in learning.
One of the most frequently used and intuitive models is the Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic model — or VAK as it’s more widely known.
The model was developed by the educational psychologist William Burke Barbe in 1979, alongside his colleagues Raymon Swassing and Michael Milone
The model proposes that the majority of us prefer to learn in one of three ways: visual (seeing and reading), auditory (speaking and listening) or Kinesthetic (doing and feeling).
Although concerns were later raised that learning models, such as VAK, can lead to a fixed, rather inflexible view of learning, the core principles of the model are still relevant today — and when used mindfully can help us to define our dominant learning preferences.
Not only can this offer us a valuable insight into what type of learning works best for us, it can also help us to work smarter instead harder — crucial in our time-pressed 21st century work lives.
Significantly, Barbe, himself, also recognised that while each of us might show a preference for one style of learning, we all have strengths and weaknesses in the other fields — and the most effective way for us to optimise our learning process is to use a combination of all three.