Show Notes

Everyone processes and learns new information differently. There are three main cognitive learning styles. VAK stands for Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic and these learning styles helps people to understand what type of learner they are. It helps us to understand what works for us best and can help us to maximise the time we spend studying or taking in information or processing what we need.

The VAK learning model divides people into three categories of learner:

  1. Visual learners – absorb information by sight and seeing things
  2. Auditory learners – absorb information by sound and hearing things
  3. Kinaesthetic learners – absorb information by moving and feeling things

People predominantly learn using one style – whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. And even though every learner can incorporate more than one type of learning they are more likely to achieve better results and output from learning by focusing on their primary style.


Visual learners absorb information primarily by seeing it, or by visualising it mentally. They:

  • Are imaginative and can easily picture complex scenarios, images or ideas without reference
  • Are good at reading body language well
  • Recall various bits of information well and tend to have good memory if written down
  • Love to ‘see’ the information
  • Enjoy art, aesthetics and the written word
  • Are usually excellent at spelling
  • Take frequent notes
  • Revise well using colour coordination, mind maps and flashcards
  • Love to use graphs, maps, diagrams, flowcharts and written instructions
  • May struggle with verbal instructions
  • Find themselves easily distracted by visual stimuli such as sitting beside a window or being bombarded with pop-ups on a computer!


Auditory learners absorb information primarily by hearing it. They:

  • Retain information by hearing it
  • Love verbal instructions and follow them easily
  • Prefer to be told how to do things
  • Summarise things out loud
  • Are sensitive to tone of voice, pitch and rhythm
  • Notice different aspects of speaking
  • Understand and process information by talking it through
  • Would rather record a lesson or lecture than take notes
  • Are usually very good at oral presentations
  • Learn better with music on, provided that it is not too distracting
  • Thrive in group and panel discussions
  • Are easily distracted by auditory stimuli such as background noise or being spoken to


Kinaesthetic learners absorb information primarily through movement in a physical way. They:

  • Love the hands-on approach to learn or for problem solving
  • Usually very good at maths and science
  • Are often physically coordinated and good at sport
  • Enjoy expressing themselves physically and may engage in performing arts or dance
  • Prefer working in groups and work better with others
  • Prefer to see or do a demonstration than have it verbally explained
  • Struggle with overly abstract or conceptual topics
  • Have a good sense of direction
  • May learn by drawing and doodling
  • Excel at practical subjects such as construction, cooking and engineering
  • May be restless or fidgety in the classroom

You can make use of these learning styles to streamline learning processes with the powerful neuroscience. And it can help us to learn more effectively and with greater enjoyment.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, educator, speaker, coach or mentor, the best way to get your information across should ideally incorporate activities that facilitate all three learning styles to cater to the needs of everyone.

For instance, reading textbooks and writing notes to satisfy visual learners, explaining a topic aloud to the class for auditory learners and practical activities for the kinaesthetic learners. If possible, combine all three styles into activities.

When it comes to your work and to ensure it is satisfying think about your dominant learning style and see if it aligns with where you are at right now.

Each preferred learning style has methods that fit the different ways an individual may learn best.

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