While some people can read a book and then ace a test on it the next day, others may not be able to do the same without hearing a lecture on the subject. Individuals perceive and process information in different ways; while some people are visual learners, others may retain information better through auditory or tactile means. And a large percentage are a combination of one or more of the aforementioned categories.
Those who learn best by seeing are more visual learners. Visual learners like to take notes and they tend to sit in the front of the class (Learning Styles). They usually forget names but remember faces. When putting together items, visual learners need diagrams or pictures to understand. When trying to spell a difficult word they try to “see” the word. Visual learners are most often neat and clean and are easily distracted by untidiness and noise (Rose). They may commonly use phrases such as “I never forget a face” or “I can’t quite picture it.” Visual learners also have a good spatial sense. They are good with maps and rarely get lost. They may love drawing, scribbling or doodling and usually with color. They tend to be good dressers with a strong sense of color coordination (advanogy.com). Flash cards and acronyms are powerful memorization tools for the visual learner (Three Different Styles).
Auditory learners are ones who retain and absorb new information best by hearing it. They tend to read aloud and prefer listening to a lecture rather than reading a text. They tend to prefer the telephone over face-to-face conversation and utilize technical help-lines when in need of assistance. They are easily distracted by noises or sounds. When bored, they may hum or talk to themselves (Rose). Auditory learners may not be able to color coordinate their clothes, but they can explain what they are wearing and why (Three Different Styles). Those who learn by hearing or listening typically tend to have a good singing voice, can play a musical instrument or can easily identify the sounds of individual instruments. Music may invoke strong emotions in an auditory learner or they may notice the background music when watching a movie or television show. They may use phrase such as “That sounds about right” or “That’s music to my ears (advanogy.com).” They tend to forget faces but remember names or what was talked about.
Tactile, or kinesthetic learners learn through doing and touching. They prefer a hands-on approach in the classroom, and usually will not pay attention during lectures. They find it hard to sit still for long periods of time and usually use hand gestures and movement when speaking. They may write a word down when trying to spell to see if it feels right. When putting something together, a tactile learner will discard the directions and instead jump right in and figure it out as they go along (Rose). Tactile learners tend to enjoy physical activity such as sports or gardening. They may use phrases such as “That doesn’t sit right with me” or “I follow your drift (advanogy.com) .” Activities such as cooking and art usually help to stimulate and help them to perceive and learn. They enjoy field trips and rely on what they can feel and experience (Three Different Styles).
Whenever someone is learning something new or difficult (e.g. a job, school) it can be helpful to assess their individual learning style. From the above categories, one should be able to determine in which way they learn best. Once that is established, they can adapt their habits to that system. For example, if someone is more of a visual learner, it may be helpful to make use of highlighters or sticky notes when starting a new position at work. If they tend to lead towards the auditory style, it may be beneficial to record lectures so that they can be listened to and reviewed in the future. A tactile learner may opt to take classes more geared towards hands-on learning such as biology and physical education. By doing this, one can be assured that they are getting the most benefit out of their education, and absorbing as much new material as possible when training for a job.
dadvanogy.com. Overview of Learning Styles. 2004. 23 November 2008 .
Learning Styles. 2008. 23 November 2008 .
Rose, Colin. Learning Styles. 28 March 1998. 23 November 2008 .