Understanding Types of Learning to Support Children’s Education

Written by Dara Ayu Ariane, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Education is a powerful key that unlocks many doors, such as development and closing the gap in social inequality. This makes every child, including ones at most disadvantaged, have the right to an education due to its power in changing lives. But it is also important to know and understand the different types of learning we can provide to children in order to give them the best start in life. 

Formal Learning

This the most common way of learning, may it be from a public or private school, for children to receive their education systematically. In Indonesia, the Minister of Education and Culture arranges the national curriculum that changes within 2-5 years. According to Quipper (2020), the latest one or also called as K-13 (Kurikulum 2013) emphasizes competence based on student’s attitudes, skills, and knowledge. On top of that, teachers are expected to encourage students to make observations, be more proactive towards students, and be up to date with the rapid development of technology. 

Because formal learning consists of a structured model with its rigid curriculum, some consider it as an intentional learning from the learner’s perspective. This type of learning will usually lead to earning degrees and completing every school grade. Gradually it can be difficult to keep students engaged and eager to keep on excelling. Which is why it is good to combine with other types of learning to maintain children’s motivation level to help them throughout their educational journey. 

Informal Learning

Children can also keep on learning outside of the traditional classroom. It ranges from after-school programs, class field trips, and even daily life experiences. Oftentimes informal learning makes students learn things without even realizing. Nowadays, it is common to find children being able to speak a new language just from watching videos on social media or international movies. Because informal learning takes place in a contextual environment and usually from experiences, children become more curious and get a better understanding of things that can occur throughout their daily life. 

Informal learning can also be spontaneous and happens anytime and anywhere. This is why we need to supervise children’s learning as often as possible to help maintain their educational course within a particular context. 

“VARK” Learning

The acronym “VARK” is used to describe four learning methods studied by Neil D. Fleming and Coleen E. Mills in 1992 (The University of Kansas, n.d.). “V” stands for Visual Learners that describes students who learn best when their educational materials are presented in a graphic form. A fun way to incorporate this learning method for children is by watching videos, making a mind-map, and using colorful markers & pens. 

“A” stands for Auditory Learners in which students learn more successfully by hearing their educational materials and participating in group activities through vocal discussions. An easy way to help auditory children is by reading their textbooks out loud to them in a quiet studying space.

Meanwhile the “R” stands for Reading/Writing Learners. These students learn best when their educational materials are presented in the form of written words. May it be through handouts, PowerPoint slides, or textbooks, children who are reading/writing learners love to read and write what they’ve learned. 

Lastly, the “K” stands for Kinesthetic Learners. They love to participate and need to take a physically active role. Because they can be quite active, they may have a more difficult time when learning in a traditional classroom setting. To motivate children who are kinesthetic learners, we can invite them to go on a trip to the museum to learn history, use flashcards for subjects like math and English, or do a hands-on observation and test when learning scientific subjects. 

Everyone can do good

Learning is not a competition. Some people are more privileged than others, but that doesn’t mean those who are in need have less worth. We can all strive to help one another especially children in marginalized communities. Every child has their own unique learning method. It is important for us to understand which method is more suitable to ensure an efficient learning process. Support their educational needs by donating to our online fundraising page for our Online Learning Assistance program to offer a helping hand for children at Sungai Code, Sungai Winongo and Sungai Gajahwong during the pandemic.