1.2 Identifying Learning in the Workplace / 1.2.1 Learning Modalities

In order to identify the correct opportunities for learning in the workplace, it is important to understand the learning style of the student.

Learning Modalities

There are four recognised learning modalities identified by the acronym VARK (Felming & Mills, 1992):

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V - Visual: This preference includes the depiction of information in maps, spider diagrams, charts, graphs, flow charts, labelled diagrams, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices, that people use to represent what could have been presented in words


A - Auditory: This perceptual mode describes a preference for information that is “heard or spoken.” Learners who have this as their main preference report that they learn best from lectures, group discussion, radio, email, using mobile phones, speaking, web-chat and talking things through

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R - Read/write: This preference is for information displayed as words. This preference emphasises text-based input and output – reading and writing in all its forms but especially manuals, reports, essays and assignments.

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K - Kinaesthetic: By definition, this modality refers to the “perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practice (simulated or real).” It includes demonstrations, simulations, videos and movies of “real” things, as well as case studies, practice and applications. The key is the reality or concrete nature of the example

Learners may be a combination of modalities, and, as such, there are no hard boundaries defining the learning style of a student.


Fleming, N.D. & Mills, C. (1992). Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137-155.