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VAK Learning Styles Theory: The Constructive Outlook


Task: Provide a detailed report on the VAK learning styles theory and its various versions.


The information regarding various types of the learning process is described under the theory of vak learning styles theory. It was by Neil Fleming in 1987 that the vak learning styles theory was introduced. It is the abbreviation of terms visual, auditory, and kinesthetics that is signified by the phrase VAK. It is by making use of these three different channels that the learning process is pursued through this concept.

VAK learning styles theory

The presented information is synthesized and comprehended by the audience much faster when the visual tools are used. It is by the use of pictorial representations like graphs, charts, tables, videos, pictures, and public demonstration that the visual form of representation is done. The visual form of learning is much effective when compared to the listening process done through listening since the latter has the potential to retain very little information.

Auditory Learner
It is through mutual conversation, discussions, and verbal messages that the auditory learners would carry out their studying process. It is through listening to the speech that the intended message by the speaker is synthesized by the audience (Gholami & Bagheri, 2013). The basic characteristics of audio like its tone, speed, and pitch, are analyzed by the listeners to derive the crucial data.

Kinesthetic Learner
It is through the sense and perception of touch, movement, and other activities that kinesthetic learners would process the conveyed message and data. It is the hands-on approach that is majorly followed by the people following the kinesthetic form of learning that encourages the exploration of the practical world in the surroundings of the audience. There is a high tendency for kinesthetic learners to be distracted from the primary objective of absorbing the presented data. Hence the teachers in the respective area would have to provide an extra effort so that the whole audience/ students should sustain their focus throughout the chapter.

Implications of the vak learning styles theory with respect to learners
The proper use of the vak learning styles theory would help the learners to focus on the particular areas in which they are very weak. The proper implication of the theories would help the students in evolving themselves into complete and versatile learners.

Apart from just influencing the learning process of the students, the vak learning styles theory could also be utilized for further enhancing the teaching abilities of the tutors (Newton, 2015). Hence the scope of vak learning styles theory could not only be limited to the learning process.

The lack of preparation by the tutor before presenting the chapter before the audience would make the whole experience a very boring and monotonous one.

Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory
It is around the ideology of the learning cycle that Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory is based upon. The approach would suggest for the implication four different stages to efficiently complete the process of learning. The derivation of various concepts regarding the learning processes is done by referring to the experiences. The fact encourages the respective personnel to conduct more experiments so that new observations could be acquired to enhance the learning process. The step of Concrete Experience constitutes to be the first step in Kolb's learning cycle. In this stage, the learner would get introduced by a chapter or topic and acquires the first experience of learning something. The step of Reflective observation constitutes to be the second stage in Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory, where the learners cogitate over the active experience commenced while first teaching (Sharp et al., 2008). The step of abstract conceptualization constitutes to be the second stage in this learning process. The step signifies the method in which the obtained experience is implied in understanding a particular theory. The same acquired knowledge is further modified for future reference in the stage of active experimentation. The stage is the last step of Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory. The stages of abstract conceptualization and concrete experience are majorly designed to effectively absorb the knowledge and experience while the learning process. Similarly, it is the aim of transforming the actual experience for the future that the stages like active experimentation and reflective observation would aim for.

VAK learning styles theory

As per the context mentioned in Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory, there are four specific learning styles that could be adopted to pursue the above-mentioned learning stages. These styles could be termed as accommodating, assimilating, converging, and diverging. It is the proper implication of sound logical theories that are used for the best learning experience under the assimilator style. The style majorly encourages the process of thinking and watching (Franklin, 2006). It is through keen observation, analyzing, and referring to broad data set that the style of diverging learning is carried out. Though if the learners following the converging style are considered, it is the practical implication of the presented theories and concept that the better learning experience is acquired. It is the basic intuition of the learner rather than the logical reasoning that helps the person while focusing on a certain topic or chapter.

Application of the learning approaches
By thoroughly learning Kolb's version of vak learning styles theory, various aspects of a person's life and its implications could be easily observed. The two parameters play a very crucial role in the selection of learning styles while learning. They are processing continuum and perception continuum. The parameter of perception continuum signifies the way in which the learner emotionally perceives and thinks about a particular topic or theme (Ocepek et al., 2013) whereas; the processing continuum checks the practical and actual approach of the person towards the presented data. The learning process is commenced much effectively by the learners who are well aware of the preferences and approaches of themselves. It is by the reflection of the learners towards a particular concept that the experiences of them are evaluated. The data collected from evaluating the experiences are later used for further active experimentation and better selection of other approaches.

Diverging Learners
It is based on the parameters of clear observations and the concrete experience that the learning process of diverging learners is based upon. The diverging learners have the exceptional skill of evaluating a particular situation from a different point of view. The situation which demands the innovative generation of ideologies and concepts are well suited for the diverging learners, and they prefer to work in the same environment. The learners coming under this category would highly rely on their imaginative power to extract the solution out of the gathered information.

Converging Learners
The learners coming under this category have the special ability to easily apply the learned theories and concepts in the practical environment. They retain exceptional deductive reasoning. It is the task with a technical approach that is highly preferred by the converging learners as they are more comfortable in linking the theoretical aspects with the practical components.

Accommodating Learners
A much more engaging approach is taken by accommodating learners when compared to other learners. Both the components of experimentation and experience are well utilized by this type of learner to carry out an effective learning process. Apart from working alone, the accommodating learners believe more in the team effort that in a way enable them to effectively carry out their particular roles and the mindset to make an initiative towards achieving the particular goals.

Assimilating Learners
The particular solutions by facing the presented problems are derived by the assimilating learners through using various inductive reasoning skills. The learners in this classification are very strong in their ability of abstract conceptualization, which in turn makes it very easy for them in generating models. Rather than providing a practical learning environment, the assimilating learners require a better and clear explanation. The data set could be easily contemplated by these learners since they have the skill to arrange the information in a very good and logical format. Apart from jumping into the solution quickly, the assimilating leaders would prefer much in exploring further related lectures, textbooks, models, and appropriate research time to arrive at a conclusion.

The above-mentioned learning style is the VAK learning styles theory, which would help any student to develop the skill for learning and comprehending any complex concept or data. We recommend our readers to develop a better and unique learning style by assimilating all the good aspects of these four learning styles. It is based on the situation presented before the person that the particular learning style is to be implemented for better results. The implication of each particular learning style has its own benefits and assimilation of each one is preferred to achieve higher efficiency in problem-solving.

Honey and Mumford variation of VAK learning styles theory
The four major variations of VAK learning styles theory were suggested by Alan Mumford and Peter Honey. They are: -

Pragmatist, Activist, Theorist, and Reflector.

The learner, who implies this learning style is very eager to try out the studied concepts. They majorly focus on the implication of the concepts in the practical world. Such people could be frequently observed in the office environment. The distinctive characteristics of them are being down to earth and giving less significance to lengthy and pointless discussions.

Best suited when: -

  • A particular model to be implied is already provided.
  • The presented concept and the task have a close link.
  • The application of the concept would provide a significant advantage by saving effort and time.
  • The environment is apt for trying out new concepts and techniques.

Not recommended when: -

  • When the learned concepts are favourably theoretical in nature.
  • Absence of any significant benefit by implying the technique.
  • No particular gain by going through the concept.
  • No particular set of rules or guidelines are set on how to implement them in a practical context.

The high enthusiasm towards the new information and likely to be involved in the new experiences are some of the distinctive features of people who follow the activist learning style. Such learners would jump into the process even before deciding the method to imply it since they highly enjoy doing the assigned tasks (Cuevas, 2015). Very little interest is provided in deciding the learning approach and later discussing the result of the process.

Best suited when –

  • When the occasion is some important discussion or official meeting.
  • Deals with very novel problems, experience, and potential opportunities.
  • Allotted with a demanding task which is generally considered as unachievable.
  • Actively participating with other colleagues in a team.

Not recommended when –

  • Doing the task under strict guidelines and restrictions.
  • Referring to long lectures or exhaustive explanations.
  • Trying to grasp the presented information.
  • Going through the data which is composed of themselves

The theorists tend to closely relate the acquired observation with that of the learned concepts and ideologies. The problem is being approached by the theorists in a step by step method. In another method, these types of learners could be termed as perfectionists since they abide by each and every rule (Ghaedi & Jam, 2014). Every problem is perceived by them in a rational context.

Best suited when –

  • A suitable platform for exploring further concepts is provided.
  • The situation demands the display of personal skill sets and ability.
  • The innovative ideas are provided though they are less significant in the present time.
  • The situation demands an approach with clear and step by step proceedings.

Not recommended when –

  • The approach of the colleagues is not harmonious to your style. This style will be considered very inappropriate if the team members follow different learning styles.
  • The situation demands emotional indulgence.
  • The initiative has to be taken without acquiring a proper idea of the whereabouts of the respective concept.
  • The process to be followed is very poorly organized and unstructured in manner.

The learners under this category take a unique stance when compared to other types of learners. They have their own perspective towards solving a particular problem. The reflectors believe in the process of acquiring relevant data, analyzing, and cogitating/ reflecting thoroughly before making any statements or conclusions (Sharp et al., 2008). A more democratic approach is taken by the reflectors since they consider the viewpoints and recommendations of others.

Best suited when –

  • There are no strict deadlines to produce a report regarding the assigned task.
  • When focusing on the team members at the office.
  • Checking out on the previous event and the effective lessons learned from it.

Not recommended when –

  • The deadline is very short.
  • Placed as a role model or leader before the subordinates
  • Assigned with a very demanding and confusing task
  • The task is unachievable in the mentioned time frame.

Application of Honey and Mumford version of VAK learning styles theory
The approach of the best learner could be devised by going through the Honey and Mumford version of VAK learning styles theory. The teachers should have an in-depth idea of the learning process followed by the students. The particular knowledge would help the teachers in presenting the data in the most appropriate and effective manner before each student. If the learner decides to select the constructive aspect of each style to derive a better learning style, would raise a unique learning style that is very cohesive in nature.

The activities are highly focused upon if the learner has selected the learning style of an activist. It is by commencing various actions that activists would progress in the learning activity. The learning process commenced through the experimental approach is considered to be the most appropriate one for such people. Activists have a higher ability to learn from direct and real experiences.

Though the approach of auditory learning is being taken when the individual takes the approach of reflectors. If the teacher decides to teach the students with a reflector approach, then the high use of the audiotapes could be traced in the respective classes.

It is according to the learning styles adopted by the majority of the students that the teacher should decide on how to present the information before the particular class. If the students involved are mostly the theorist's learners, then there is no point in taking an innovative and experimental approach in class.

Despite all the VAK learning styles theory, a more engaging approach is taken by the pragmatist leaders since they have very high eagerness towards the innovative concepts. While attending such classes, the tutor is expected to present the information in the best appealing way possible. The teacher is required to be very filtered and sophisticated in this instance.

Cuevas, A. (2015). Is learning style based instruction effective? A comprehensive analysis of recent research on learning styles. VAK learning styles theory and Research in Education, 13(3), 308-333.

Franklin, S. (2006). VAKing out learning styles—why the notion of 'learning styles' is unhelpful to teachers. Education 3–13, 34(1), 81-87.

Ghaedi, Z., & Jam, B. (2014). Relationship between Learning Styles and Motivation for Higher Education in EFL Students. Theory & Practice in Language Studies, VAK learning styles theory, 4(6).

Gholami, S., & Bagheri, M. S. (2013). Relationship between VAK learning styles theory and problem-solving styles regarding gender and students' fields of study. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4(4), 700.

Newton, P. M. (2015). The learning styles myth is thriving in higher education. VAK learning styles theory, Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1908.

Ocepek, U., Bosni?, Z., Šerbec, I. N., & Rugelj, J. (2013). Exploring the relation between learning style models and preferred multimedia types. VAK learning styles theory, Computers & Education, 69, 343-355.

Sharp, J. G., Bowker, R., & Byrne, J. (2008). VAK or VAK?uous? Towards the trivialization of learning and the death of scholarship. VAK learning styles theory, Research papers in education, 23(3), 293-314.

Sharp, J. G., Byrne, J., & Bowker, R. (2008). The trouble with VAK learning styles theory. Educational futures, 1(1), 89-97.


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