Whether they recognize it or not, most people have a preferred way of learning. While some learn best by listening (think of those lecture classes in college), others may have to see a concept in action to learn the material (this is where lab work comes in), and the list goes on.
The trick is figuring out your individual learning style and then utilizing your strengths while being aware of your weaker areas. To help, we’ve worked with Dan Kuemmel, a specialist in learning technology, data visualization, and pedagogy, on an in-depth course on Learning Styles. As a preview, we’ve provided a quick peek at each of the seven types of learners below:
- Visual Learners
These learners turn words into pictures to retain information, and tend to excel with writing assignments and textbook readings. However, they can struggle with information that is only audio-based, such as a lectures or audio-recordings.
- Logical Learners
Logical learners thrive on processes, statistics, and making connections between ideas. Puzzles, riddles, and word games engage them, as well as charts and diagrams.
- Aural/Auditory Learners
These learners have great recall when hearing information be it a lecture, podcast, spoken directions, or even music.
- Verbal Learners
Verbal learners are most easily identified as those that need to ‘talk through’ a problem, either through verbal or written communication. They excel at writing essays and class discussions or debates, but can struggle with math and science concepts.
- Physical/Kinesthetic Learners
These learners prefer a hands-on approach to learning, such as a lab setting. In addition, physical learners need to move—pace, tap a pencil, shake a foot—and are more focused on their personal experiences than relying on research and logic.
The last two learning styles, Social and Solitary, are unique from the learning styles previously discussed, and act as another layer on a previously identified style.
- Social/Interpersonal Learners
Often good communicators, Social learners prefer studying with others or working on group projects. This learning style is a good compliment to the Aural and Verbal learning styles.
- Solitary Learners
Sometimes described as introspective or independent, Solitary learners can concentrate and focus on a topic best when given time to work through a problem by themselves.
Recognize yourself in one or several of the above types of learning?
Once you understand what type of learner you are, catering study habits to suit your style can have an impact on your learning success. For additional information on these learning styles, as well as study tips for each, be sure to check out Atomic Learning’s online professional learning course on Learning Styles. As well as other related resources, including Supporting Gifted & Talented Learners or Effective Note-taking.
Note: Learning styles are sometimes consider controversial and there is limited research around them. However, for the most part, it is agreed that people do learn differently. The controversy surrounds how much those differences matter.
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