Different Styles of Learning: Discover How You Learn Best

Different styles of learning show how people best absorb and process information.

By figuring out your preferred learning style, you can make your learning experience more effective and fulfilling.

Three types of learning styles have been identified.

The different styles of learning are:

  • Auditory (Hearing)
    For example, learning by listening to a podcast on a topic rather than reading a book.
  • Visual (Seeing)
    For example, learning by watching a video on a topic rather than listening to a podcast.
  • Tactile or Kinesthetic (Touching)
    For example, learning by making a model of something rather than watching someone else make it.

Most people have a preferred learning style, or a combination of styles.

If you're an auditory learner, you learn best by listening and hearing information.

Auditory Learning Style: Embrace the Power of Sound

 You learn best through listening to the spoken word such as:

  • lectures. The instructor delivers a topic in an auditorium, with presentation aids such as PowerPoint.
  • discussion. This could be one-on-one, or in a group. It could be face to face, or through video conferencing technology such as Zoom.
  • audio technologies. Technologies such as podcasts, MP3, DVD and CD recordings provide valuable learning materials.

Any way of presenting material through sound is well received by auditory learners.

See these different strategies for auditory learners.

If you're a visual learner, you understand the world through your eyes.

Visual Learning Style: Seeing is Believing

You learn best by seeing visual aids such as:

  • videos
  • graphs
  • flowcharts
  • diagrams

Any way of presenting material visually is well received.

See these different strategies for visual learners.

If you're a tactile or kinesthetic learner, hands-on experiences are essential for understanding.

Tactile (or Kinesthetic) Learning Style: Learn by Doing

You learn best by "doing things" such as:

  • physically doing the task, for example, playing a video game
  • experimenting, for example, trying different things with some software
  • role-playing, for example, dealing with a difficult customer
  • creating a timeline or storyboard

See these different strategies for tactile learners.

What is Your Learning Style?

You probably already have a fair idea of your preferred learning style.

You may have a combination of learning styles. For example, a YouTube video uses both sound (auditory) and sight (video).

You may be learning in your preferred style, and not realizing it.

Try this quiz to find out (or confirm) your learning style.

Figure 1 shows my preferred learning style is visual, although it is not dominant. I am comfortable with other styles as well.

Shows my learning style report.Figure 1: Learning Style Report

Figure 2 shows a report where the learning style is auditory and quite dominant.

Report that shows the learner has an auditory learning style.Figure 2: Report Showing Dominant Auditory Learning Style

Try to apply the learning style(s) in your learning for the best results.

Also, learning is much more enjoyable when done in your preferred learning style.

An Example of Applying a Learning Style

Learning styles are not just theoretical concepts; they can be put into practice to enhance your understanding of various subjects.

Let's explore the different styles of learning, and how three different learners would approach learning about the reign of King Henry VIII. 

How an Auditory Learner Would Learn About the Reign of King Henry VIII

For an auditory learner, the path to understanding King Henry VIII's reign lies in listening and absorbing information through sound.

This learner would seek out historical podcasts, audio documentaries, or recorded lectures that delve into the intriguing tales of the Tudor dynasty.

Engaging with vivid audio descriptions of historical events, they would immerse themselves in the captivating stories of King Henry VIII's reign.

For example, the podcast The Six Wives of Henry VIII would be useful for learning about King Henry VIII's marital life.

Participating in group discussions or joining a historical debate club would also be appealing to this learner, as it allows them to discuss and reinforce their understanding through spoken interactions.

How a Visual Learner Would Learn About the Reign of King Henry VIII

A visual learner's journey to comprehend King Henry VIII's reign centers on seeing and observing.

This learner would seek out historical documentaries, visual timelines, and historical paintings that portray the events and figures from that era. By watching captivating visual representations, they can easily grasp the intricate details of this historical period.

Videos such as this expansive examination of King Henry VIII would appeal to the visual learner.

They might also find historical maps, diagrams, or charts helpful in visualizing the political intrigues and territorial changes during King Henry VIII's reign.

A visit to a historical museum or art gallery would be a perfect way for this learner to immerse themselves in the rich visuals of that time.

How a Tactile Learner Would Learn About the Reign of King Henry VIII

For a tactile learner, the path to understanding history involves engaging their hands and body in the learning process.

This learner would love to be a part of historical reenactments, where they can dress in period costumes, role-play as historical figures, and experience the events firsthand.

Touching and interacting with historical artifacts, replicas of artifacts, or tactile historical models would bring this learner closer to the essence of King Henry VIII's reign.

Creating a timeline (see Figure 3) or crafting a 3D model of a historical scene would be both enjoyable and effective for this learner to deepen their knowledge of this period.

King Henry VIII family treeFigure 3: Family Tree of King Henry VIII

What Are the Benefits of Using Your Preferred Learning Style

The benefits of using your preferred learning style or styles from the three different styles of learning are as follows:

  • You will be more engaged, interested, and motivated in learning the subject matter.
  • You will remember more information because it's presented in a way that is natural to you. This makes it easier to recall, present, and retain the material effectively.
  • You will understand the material better. For example, if you are a visual learner, you might benefit from seeing diagrams or charts, while if you are an auditory learner, you will gain greater benefit from lectures or discussions.
  • You will feel more relaxed in the learning environment as it suits you better.
  • You will feel positive about your learning because you can grasp the information better.
  • You will become more flexible in your learning as you try to use your preferred learning style or styles.
  • Your problem-solving skills will be enhanced as you explore unusual ways of applying your learning style or styles.

Summary - Different Styles of Learning

Unlock your potential by optimizing your learning experience with your preferred style.

From lectures to visuals to hands-on experiences, each of the three distinctive styles of learning has its magic to reveal.

Choose your learning style or styles, embrace your learning style, and embark on an educational journey tailored just for you.

Your style is your superpower in the quest for knowledge.

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