Many people recognize that each person prefers different learning styles and techniques. Learning styles group common ways that people learn. Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Nor are your styles fixed. You can develop ability in less dominant styles, as well as further develop styles that you already use well.
Everyone has a mix of learning styles. According to the school of Learning Styles, each of us is a unique learner. We all have our own study methods that we’ve come to use and rely on based on experience, practice, and innate preferences for what works. Understanding which type of learner you are is crucial for figuring out what the best way for you to learn is. Don’t worry, it is not too hard. While we are all different learners and there are hundreds of different learning “tricks”, there are still a few broad categories for learning styles, and we tend to fit best into one or the other.
Your Preferred Learning Style
A learning style is a way of learning. Your preferred learning style is the way in which you learn best. Three learning styles that are often identified in students are the Auditory Learning Style, the Visual Learning Style, and the Tactile/Kinaesthetic Learning Style. Read about each of these learning styles to identify your preferred learning style.
Are you an Auditory Learner?
Auditory Learners learn best when information is presented in an auditory language format. Do you seem to learn best in classes that emphasize teacher lectures and class discussions? Does listening to audio tapes help you learn better? Do you find yourself reading aloud or talking things out to gain better understanding? If yes, you are probably an Auditory Learner.
Are you a Visual Learner?
Visual Learners learn best when information is presented in a written language format or in another visual format such as pictures or diagrams. Do you do best in classes in which teachers do a lot of writing at the chalkboard, provide clear handouts, and make extensive use of an overhead projector? Do you try to remember information by creating pictures in your mind? Do you take detailed written notes from your textbooks and in class? If yes, you are probably a Visual Learner.
Are you a Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner?
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners learn best in hands-on learning settings in which they can physically manipulate something in order to learn about it. Do you learn best when you can move about and handle things? Do you do well in classes in which there is a lab component? Do you learn better when you have an actual object in your hands rather than a picture of the object or a verbal or written description of it? If yes, you are probably a Tactile/Kinaesthetic Learner.
Understanding Learning Preferences
You’ll probably already have a good sense of what your learning preference is, as this will have been present from your earliest days at school. For example, is your default response to a problem or challenge to sketch something out on a piece of paper (visual), talk about it (auditory), or build a model or tangible representation of the problem (kinaesthetic)? A person can analyse his learning style by considering the conditions mentioned below:
- Imagine yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If you were lost in a strange city at night, how would you find your way to your destination? Would you use a map (visual), ask someone for directions (auditory), or just keep walking until you worked out where you were (kinaesthetic)?
- What style of presentation do you prefer? Think back to the last presentation you attended. What was it that most stuck in your mind? Was it the charts or visual aids (visual), the words the presenter used (auditory), or any audience participation (kinesthetic)?