How to Assess a Student's Learning Styles

Niyati Singh
August 17, 2021
5 min read

Not one size fits all. And the education industry provides an excellent example of this. If you are wondering how? Well, each student is different. And they all have different ways to understand and grasp concepts.

Here’s a proven list of easy activities to gauge learning styles.

1. Interpersonal skills

The way we interact with others plays a role in our preferences. Our choices and preferences make us. So a student's dressing consciousness, emotional maturity, vocabulary size, and interest in group activities may help you in understanding their learning style.

  • Consciousness towards dressing may suggest them as visual-spatial learners. These types of learners are very conscious of aesthetics and looks.
  • Students taking extensive notes and possessing a fascination with words are verbal-linguistic learners. These students prefer to have their notes in bulleted form.
  • Students with an interest in physical activities like dance, sports and others, prefer kinaesthetic learning.
  • Learning aids used by students also give an idea about the type of learner they are. Students with an auditory learning style find the lectures stimulating. These students also have exceptional memories for melodies and songs.

2. Interests

A student’s interest plays a major role in what they learn. Judith Harackiewicz of University of Wisconsin and her colleagues did research about the impact of interest on what a student learns. The conclusion drawn was that interest is a powerful predictor of future choices than prior achievement and demographic variables.

When a particular subject interests a student, she will try their best to remove any barriers.

They usually have their own method of studying and retaining information. Some like to write, some draw out charts and maps, while others may want to discuss and debate.

Sometimes you will need to work hard to make your students interested in a subject. This can be done by helping them have a crystal clear understanding of concepts. You will need to present a lesson in a way that is not only engaging but also interesting. This will help to awaken the interest of the child.

3. Trial and Error

Since each student is different with different needs. So you can use trial and error methods in your teaching. Trying to teach with a different learning style for each chapter may help. But, while teaching you have to look out for students who are understanding and who are not.

You can divide your lessons into parts and then draw out a plan according to the style of learning fitting there. For some parts, you may find that more than one style fits in there. For these parts, prepare the material in all the styles possible.

Assuming a hypothetical situation where a visual learner didn’t understand a particular topic in an auditory manner you can make her understand by visual learning style techniques.

4. Activities

In recent years activity-based learning has gained popularity. It is because activity-based learning is a much better option in the long term and students get a chance to do self-paced learning.

It also provides ways to identify different learning styles by providing stimulus and so encouraging students to respond. Activity-based learning consists of three steps:

  • Experimentation is about getting knowledge by trying out different activities.
  • Exploration includes obtaining knowledge through investigation.
  • Expression is about  letting your students express their knowledge through visual presentation.

You can provide your students with a topic and ask them to present in a manner they find comfortable to understand.

Students with visual learning styles will put it in a mind map form. Students with an interpersonal learning style prefer having arguments and discussions on the topic. While they present it, you can try to note down their learning style. The activity may help you in having a deeper insight into your student. This can be in many regards like creativity, speaking skills, emotional skills (how they connect with their audience), knowledge about the topic, curiosity (how much they have dug deeper), fears (stage fear, fear of others judging them, etc.).


It can either be your first step or the last one while doing the assessment. You can prepare a questionnaire and ask your students to fill it in. Based on their answers, you can create a report.

🎁 Free template: you can copy this assessment questionnaire created using Google forms. 

If used as a first step, it can save you from the extensive hard work of discovering your student. So you can focus on that aspect and try to work on it. But, it may prevent you from getting deep insights into them. To have a successful class, knowing your students is necessary. It ensures that you share a good bond with your students and also helps you understand their needs and wants.

If it is the last step, it will help you know about their weaknesses and strengths. Though it consumes an ample amount of time, it provides you with a surety about the conclusion drawn.

Now, you know how to identify them. But in case you are wondering why it is necessary?

The main goal of any teacher is to impart knowledge to their students and to make sure that their students retain the knowledge. Now, each child is a mixture of different personalities, traits, and views. Since each kid is unique, their ability to understand and their interests also varies. So you need to know the best way to impart knowledge to them.

You may find that two students have the same learning style. You can group the students with similar learning styles. So it becomes easier for you to teach them in a way they understand. 

Niyati Singh

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