Learning Styles


Did you know that we all have a different learning styles? Being aware of your learning styles is another one of the study skills that is so important, but of which so few of us are aware.

How can we learn effectively when we don’t even know what our learning styles is?

Would you agree we are all good at different sports? Do you think someone with strong legs might be a good runner, or someone with a large build might be a good football player?

When it comes to how we learn, all our brains are wired a little differently. Some of us tend to learn better when we can see what we’re studying whereas others prefer to listen to an audio tape or CD.

There are basically seven different ways we learn and it’s important that you know which category you fall into. Being aware of what your learning styles is will improve the quality of your learning and probably make it easier for you to learn.

You can concentrate on using the techniques that suit your learning styles.

The seven different ways we learn are:

  • visual-spatial
  • aural-auditory
  • verbal-linguistic
  • physical-bodily-kinesthetic
  • logical-mathematical
  • social-interpersonal
  • solitary-intrapersonal

Let’s discuss them briefly.

Visual-spatial:

If you have this learning style, you are usually good with maps and directions and rarely get lost. In other words, you have good spatial sense. You tend to organise information using diagrams and pictures and are good at visualisation.

Knowing that you have this learning style, you might choose a career in architecture, photography or design, or any number of visually orientated professions.

To improve your learning skills you would tend to concentrate on using drawings, maps and colors, and use highlighter pens to emphasise words.

Aural-auditory:

This learning style is characterised by a good sense of hearing. You typically like music and have a good sense of rythym and may even play an instrument. I know I fall into this category because I tend to notice the background or theme music in movies, whereas the people next to me sometimes aren’t even aware of it.

Your career choices might include musician or sound engineer, or perhaps audiovisual work.

The most effective way for you to learn would be the use of audio in the form of tapes or CD’s, or even music playing in the background.

Verbal-linguistic:

If you fall into this category of learning style, you tend to concentrate on the written and spoken word, ie you use both writing and speech. You also tend to be good with words, knowing their meaning and correct spelling.

You may be good at things such as journalism, politics, public speaking etc.

The best learning technique for you would be to talk yourself through your study material and use writing techniques such as acronyms and memorable word sequences.

Physical-bodily-kinesthetic:

You would probably use your sense of touch as your major learning technique in this learning style. You’re probably more involved in physical things such as sport and perhaps using your hands. You might do a lot of your best thinking when you’re jogging or walking.

You probably use hand gestures a lot when you’re talking and probably enjoy dancing. In other words, you would probably rather do things than read about them.

Professionally, you are suited to anything physical such as construction work, sports, dancing and perhaps drama.

The easiest way for you to incorporate these characteristics into your learning style is to be hands-on or visualise yourself actually doing what you’re trying to learn. The physical action of writing something down is also helpful.

If you are trying to practice certain skills then role playing, or making out that you’re physically doing what you’re trying to learn, will help.

Logical-mathematical:

This learning style is characterised by an ability to use your brain for logical and mathematical reasoning. You’re good with numbers and calculations, and do well in calculus, trigonometry, algebra and statistics. You have a talent for problem solving and are good at mathematical puzzles and games.

Your professional choices would include accounting, computers and mathematical sciences.

Your best learning technique involves understanding before memorising information. You should look for systems and procedures to help your learning and to understand thehow things are linked together. Try not to over-analyse because this may cause you to become overloaded with information.

Social-interpersonal:

This type of student is best suited to learning in a group or class, and are good at communication and listening. You probably spend a lot of time talking to other students and usually prefer activities that involve other students such as team sports.

Your career choice would likely be teaching, politics, training or sales. Anything that involves socialising with other people.

Suitable learning techniques would involve working with other students, perhaps in a study group with friends, or concentrate on learning more while in class or tutorials.Learning from the mistakes of others may be a big help.

Solitary-intrapersonal:

You tend to be a solitary learner, preferring your own company when studying. You find you can concentrate better this way and don’t get distracted by other students. You probably do other things alone such as taking holidays etc. You would also tend to spend a lot of time reading by yourself.

Careers would include those professions where being alone is not a problem. Perhaps a research scientist or an author for example.

Learning techniques would centre around studying alone, setting goals and making plans. You need to motivate yourself in the absence of other people so setting objectives is important. Try to understand what keeps other people motivated and apply those ideas to your own thinking.

You probably didn’t know that you could fall into one, or perhaps a combination, of these learning styles, and that knowing which one is relevant to you, could make a big difference to what learning techniques you should be using.

You might decide to totally change the way you’re studying at the moment and this could make a huge difference in your learning ability.