Definition and Theory

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Learning styles, or modalities, are the various ways in which people learn and information is taught. For our purposes, they “involve educating methods, unique to each individual that are assumed to allow him/her to learn best” (K & Helena, pg. 17). The three learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (the major three that the other categories fall into); “generally, everyone has one predominant modality...however, many people have a “balance” between two or even all three senses” (iccb.org, pg.16). Many factors can be considered when contemplating why a particular person processes information one way better than another, such as disposition, upbringing, intelligence, experience, etc.

The theory of learning modalities is not a new concept, the research behind it has been growing since the very early 1900s. The most widely-accepted version of this concept come from the work of Dr. Neil D. Fleming and his VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) learning model which “provides the learners with a profile of their learning styles, based on the sensory modalities which are involved in taking in information” (K & Helena, pg.18).

Dr. Neil Fleming

Knowing your preferred modality, the best way that you process information, can very helpful to yourself and your students. By having students take a modality profile test at the beginning of the year, you can apply that knowledge going forward by giving students options that suit their preferences (which should better engage them) and by incorporating targeted modalities into lesson design. If you are interested in learning your modality profile, or those of your students, you can create one by clicking on the following link:

Learning Profile

If the above information is not formatted to your primary learning modality please watch the following video

Check for Understanding

Click on the following link to see if you hit the major points of this unit:

Unit 1 Review


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