The Different Learning Styles Explained
All of us are capable of learning new things and increasing our skills and knowledge but we don’t all choose to learn in the same way. People have their own preferences in terms of the learning styles and strategies they adopt when it comes to learning which enables them to better understand and to process information and how to then structure and organise the information they receive to present it in some way later.
What Are The Different Learning Styles?It is commonly accepted that people generally tend to learn by using one (or a combination) of three distinct learning styles.
Visual LearningVisual learners are those who prefer to process information and to work with it by seeing it presented to them visually. They are often good at creating a mental picture of things they’ve seen which is why the use of things like different colours, charts and graphs, photographs and diagrams and video, slide shows and the use of other visual aids like projectors etc help them to disseminate the information more easily. They’ll often use highlighter pens of different colours when marking passages of text and each colour will often represent parts of the text that relates to another part and they might even use their own system of symbols which they’ve devised themselves and which adds meaning to their learning.
Auditory LearningAs the technique would suggest, auditory learners are those who work best when information is presented to them which they can hear. A good example of this would be people who tend to retain much more information contained within a radio programme than if it had been a TV programme where the visual element may cause them to lose their focus. They find it far better to learn through listening to something and then discussing it later. Instead of using sketches and symbols like visual learners, they’re more likely to carry digital voice recorders around upon which they can store audio material e.g. lecture notes and they’ll often plan their assignments around listening to an audio recording and recalling the information. Particular sounds of words and word association is also helpful to them and discussing the ideas with others is, for them, the best way of cementing their learning experience in their minds. Auditory learners tend to be active participants in debates and seminars and if they don’t understand a particular concept, they find it easier if it’s explained to them verbally as opposed to using drawings or diagrams.
Kinaesthetic LearningKinaesthetic learners are ‘do-ers’. In other words, they learn more effectively when concepts or ideas can be assimilated and then they can put these into practice for themselves. They need to be able to do this so that the information presented to them appears ‘real’ and is of relevance to them. Good examples include those who enjoy role play exercises or like to go out on field trips where they can learn from demonstrations or, similarly, in a laboratory setting. Effectively, they need to really ‘feel’ that the learning experience is ‘real’. They’ll want to roll up their sleeves and do something practical to reinforce their learning experience so they’ll adopt a tactile approach using all of their senses - touch, smell, hearing and seeing. Often, kinaesthetic learners will need to be doing something else whilst learning. A further example of this might be where they’ll feel the urge to pace up and down a room whilst thinking out loud or they might only be able to concentrate on reading if they are doing something simultaneously - perhaps whilst riding an exercise bike, for example.
It’s not always the case that an individual will only adopt only one specific learning style. In fact, it’s more likely that certain assignments will involve a combination of more than just one style of learning. However, if asked, most people will tell you that, if put on the spot, they are able to identify and relate to one of these particular styles of learning more than the other two.