7 Types Of Learning Styles & Importance of Identifying Them
7 Types Of Learning Styles & Importance of Identifying Them
Did you know that a staggering 73% of us have a prefered learning style? The remaining 27% either use a blend of two styles or, like a rare 5%, are adept at leveraging all learning methods.
These statistics come from an intriguing study of medical students. They highlight the necessity for a deeper understanding of how we consume, process, and retain information.
Understanding learning styles isn’t just an academic exercise; it carries real-world significance. In vocational education and workplace skills training, understanding how people learn is the key to enhanced comprehension, improved retention, and better outcomes.
Through this blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of learning styles. We will dive deep into the seven core types of learning styles and understand their application in real life.
What are Learning Styles?
Learning styles are theoretical frameworks that categorise the unique ways in which we perceive and process information. They signify the various methods and techniques people use to understand, interpret, and remember things. Essentially, these styles represent the diverse learning preferences, behaviours, and tactics that individuals exhibit when interacting with new knowledge or skills.
The concept of learning styles has roots dating back to ancient Greece. However, it began gaining mainstream scholarly recognition in the 1970s, following a surge of interest in individualised learning.
Psychologists, educators, and researchers theorised that tailoring education and training to suit individuals’ unique learning preferences could greatly enhance the learning process’s effectiveness. Over the decades, multiple models of learning styles have emerged, each highlighting different aspects of how people learn.
Today, learning styles remain a hot topic among educators, psychologists, and learners. They’re continuously evolving as we discover more about the fascinating complexities of the human mind.
Let’s look at the seven popular types of learning styles that are prevalent today.
The Seven Main Types of Learning Styles
1. Visual Learning
A picture paints a thousand words, and that’s quite literal in visual learning. These individuals absorb information best through images, diagrams, charts, and other visual aids.
If you’re teaching visual learners, incorporate visuals like mind maps, flowcharts, or infographics. For example, use a diagram illustrating the process to explain the water cycle rather than relying solely on text.
2. Auditory Learning
Auditory learners thrive on sound and rhythm. They have a knack for remembering details from conversations and lectures and are often gifted at picking up subtle changes in tone and pitch.
You can effectively engage auditory learners using spoken language, such as in discussions, recordings, or music. For instance, if you teach auditory learners multiplication tables, a catchy song can work wonders.
3. Verbal Learning
Verbal learners excel in both spoken and written languages. They relish reading, writing, and even word-based games. They shine in conventional educational settings and are generally adept at explaining concepts.
When you teach verbal learners, use techniques like reading aloud, encouraging note-taking, and involving them in debates. For example, while teaching a historical event, engage them in a debate to argue from different perspectives.
4. Logical Learning
Logical learners think in terms of systems and logic. They enjoy working with complex problems, piecing together various components to form a whole. Mathematics, strategy games, and experiments often fascinate them.
Teach these learners by presenting problems logically, using reason, and providing opportunities to dissect concepts. For example, while teaching programming, present them with a problem and let them create a solution using logical sequences.
5. Kinesthetic Learning
Kinesthetic learners grasp concepts best through active engagement. They learn by touching, moving, and manipulating objects, turning abstract ideas into tactile experiences. They excel in environments where they can physically interact with their learning materials.
Hands-on practical activities, experiments, and physical exercises serve kinesthetic learners well. For example, to teach kinesthetic learners about the structure of a cell, a 3D model would be far more effective than a flat diagram.
6. Social Learning
Social learners/linguistic learners thrive in interactive environments. They excel at brainstorming, collaborating, and engaging in meaningful discussions with peers. Their understanding deepens through shared learning experiences and group activities. This active interpersonal exchange forms the crux of their learning journey.
Communal problem-solving, group discussions, and interactive discussions are potent tools when teaching social learners. For example, a team project on environmental conservation would engage a social learner far more effectively than an individual assignment.
7. Solitary Learning
In contrast to social learners, solitary learners prefer to study alone. They enjoy self-study, introspection, and personal reflection. They are usually self-motivated and learn effectively when they can set their own pace.
One-on-one sessions, independent study assignments, and personal reflection activities suit these learners. For instance, solitary learners might excel when they’re asked to research a topic independently and present their findings.
Educators and trainers can identify and accommodate these seven main types of learning styles to create more effective, inclusive learning environments. And remember, most individuals are a blend of different learning styles, so the best approach is usually balanced and multifaceted.
Importance of Identifying Personal Learning Style
Understanding your learning style is a powerful tool for enhancing learning efficiency. Recognising how you learn best can streamline your study sessions, increase information retention, and make learning more enjoyable and less difficult. It can also boost your confidence, as you’re more likely to succeed when approaching tasks in ways that play to your strengths.
For instance, if you’re a visual learner struggling with large blocks of text, discovering your preference for images could transform your learning experience. If you’re an auditory learner baffled by diagrams, it can be a game-changer to realise that you’re better off listening to a podcast or lecture.
But how do you identify your own learning style?
Start by reflecting on past learning experiences.
When did you find learning most comfortable and most difficult?
What were the circumstances?
Another way is by trying out different types of learning methods.
Do you find it easier to remember information from a video or a podcast?
Do you prefer group study sessions or learning alone?
Does hands-on practise make understanding easier for you?
Observing your responses to various learning methods can provide valuable clues.
Moreover, multiple online quizzes are designed to identify your learning style based on a series of questions. Although they may not offer a definitive answer, they can provide a starting point for understanding your unique learning preferences.
Importance of Identifying Learning Styles for Employee Training
Identifying your employees’ learning styles can significantly boost the effectiveness of your training plans. Depending on the type of skills training you are trying to complete, different employee training methods should be used.
For example, deskless workers often benefit from on-the-job training. This allows them to learn in a practical manner that is often more applicable to the skills they are developing.
Once you have identified their preferences, you can start accommodating different learning styles in the workplace through a variety of methods. One of the simplest ways to do it is by incorporating a training software that offers blended learning. This allows you to train employees based on the skills that need to be trained while still remaining aligned with their individual learning styles. Cloud Assess is an example of a training software solution that has been utilised in a variety of industries for this exact purpose.
Other Learning Theories to Understand
We’ve already mentioned David Kolb’s experiential learning theory and Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles, but here are some more learning theories that can help improve your training and development.
Understanding and adapting to different types of learning styles holds immense potential for revolutionising learning experiences.
Whether in classrooms, corporate training, or personal growth, recognising learning styles allows for personalised, effective approaches to learning. It paves the way for enhanced comprehension, increased retention, and the unlocking of our true learning potential.