Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

One of the biggest realizations I had as a kid is that teaching in school could be hit or miss for students. We all have our own different types of learning styles. Even when I was in study groups, we all had our own ways of uncovering solutions to questions.

It wasn’t only until later in my life did I realize how important it is to know your own learning style. As soon as you know how you learn and the best way to learn, you can better retain information. This information could be crucial to your job, future promotions, and overall excelling in life.

Best of all about this information is that, it’s not hard to figure out what works best for you. There are broad categories of learning styles, so it’s a matter of finding which one we gravitate towards most.

What Are the Types of Learning Styles?

Before we get into the types of learning styles, there’s one thing to know:

We all learn through repetition.

No matter how old you are, studies show that repetition allows us to retain and learn new information.[1] The big question now is what kind of repetition is needed. After all, we all learn and process information differently.

This is where the types of learning styles come in. There are eight in total and there is one or two that we prefer over others. This is important because when reading these learning styles, you’ll feel like you’d prefer a mixture of these styles.

That’s because we do prefer a combination. Though there will be one style that will be more predominate over the others. The key is finding which one it is.

Visual Learning

A visual learner (also known as the spatial learner) excels at deciphering anything visual – typically maps and graphs.

If you are this type of learner, you likely excelled at geometry in math class but struggled with arithmetic and numbers. To this day, you might also struggle with reading and writing to a degree.

Advertising

While visual learners are described as “late bloomers,” they are highly imaginative. They also process what they see much faster than what they hear.

Verbal Learning

Verbal learning, on the other hand, is learning through what’s spoken. Verbal learners excel in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Because of that, they are likely the ones to find thrills in tongue twists, word games, and puns.

They also thoroughly enjoy drama, writing, and speech classes. But give them maps, or challenge them to think outside of the box and they’ll struggle a bit.

Logical Learning

Not to be confused with visual learners, these learners are good at math and logic puzzles. Anything involving numbers or other abstract visual information is where they excel.

They can also analyze cause and effect relationships quite well. Part of that is due to their thinking process being linear.

Another big difference is their need to quantify everything. These people love grouping information, creating specific lists, agendas or itineraries.

They also have a love for strategy games and making calculations in their heads.

Auditory Learning

Similar to verbal learning, this type of learning style focuses on sounds on a deeper level. These people think chronologically and excel more in the step-by-step methods. These are likely the people who will watch Youtube videos to learn or do something the most.

These learners also have a great memory of conversations and love debates and discussions. Chances are likely these people excel at anything oral.

Also as the name suggests, these individuals have great musical talents. They can decern notes, instruments, rhythms and tones. That being said, they will have a tough time interpreting body language, expressions and gestures. This also applies to charts, maps and graphs.

Advertising

Social Learning

Otherwise known as the interpersonal learner, their skills are really unique. They don’t particularly excel in classrooms but rather through talking to other people.

These are the people who are excited for group conversations or group projects. Mainly because they are gifted with coming up with ideas and discussing them.

They also have a good understanding of people’s emotions, facial expressions, and relationship dynamics. They are also likely the first people to point out the root causes of communication issues.

Intrapersonal Learning

The reverse of interpersonal learning, these people prefer learning alone. These are the people who love self-study and working alone. Typically, intrapersonal learners are deeply in tune with themselves meaning they know who they are, their feelings, and their own capabilities.

This type of learning style means you love learning something on your own and typically every day. You also have innate skills in managing yourself and indulging in self-reflection.

Physical Learning

Also known as kinesthetic learning, these people love doing things with their hands. These are people who loved pottery or shop class. If you’re a physical learner, you’ll find you have a huge preference in using your body in order to learn.

This means not just pottery or shop class you enjoyed. You may also have loved sports or any other art medium like painting or woodwork. Anything that involved you learning through physical manipulation you enjoyed and excelled at.

Though this doesn’t just apply to direct physical activities. A physical learner may also find that they learn well when both reading on any subject and pacing or bouncing your leg at the same time.

Naturalistic Learning

The final learning style is naturalistic. These are people who process information through patterns in nature. They also apply scientific reasoning in order to understand living creatures.

Not many people may be connected to this one out of the types of learning styles primarily because of those facts. Furthermore, those who excel in this learning end up being farmers, naturalists or scientists.

Advertising

These are the people who love everything with nature. They appreciate plants, animals, and rural settings deeply compared to others.

How to Know Which One(s) Suit You Better?

So now that you have an idea of all the types of learning styles we have another question:

Which one(s) are best for you?

As a reminder, all of us learn through a combination of these learning styles. This makes pinpointing these styles difficult since our learning is likely a fusion of two or more of those styles.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of methods to narrow down which learner you are. Let’s explore the most popular one: the VARK model.

VARK Model

Developed by Neil Fleming and David Baume, the VARK model is basically a conversation starter for teachers and learners.[2] It takes the eight types of learning styles above and condenses them into four categories:

  • Visual – those who learn from sight.
  • Auditory – those who learn from hearing.
  • Reading/writing – those who learn from reading and writing.
  • Kinesthetic – those who learn from doing and moving.

As you can probably tell, VARK comes from the first letter of each style.

But why use this particular model?

This model was created not only for discussion purposes but for learners to know a few key things — namely understanding how they learn.

Because our school system is focusing on a one-size-fits-all model, there are many of us who struggle learning in school. While we may no longer go to school, these behaviors persisted into our adult lives regardless. While we aren’t learning about algebra or science, we may be learning new things about our job or industry. Knowing how to best retain that information for the future helps in so many ways.

Advertising

As such, it can be frustrating when we’re in a classroom setting and aren’t understanding anything. That or maybe we’re listening to a speech or reading a book and have no clue what’s going on.

This is where VARK comes back in. To quote Fleming and Baume:

“VARK above all is designed to be a starting place for a conversation among teachers and learners about learning. It can also be a catalyst for staff development- thinking about strategies for teaching different groups can lead to more, and appropriate, variety of learning and teaching.”

Getting into the specifics, this is what’s known as metacognition.[3] It helps you to understand how you learn and who you are. Think of it as a higher order of thinking that takes control over how you learn. It’s impossible to not use this while learning.

But because of that metacognition, we can pinpoint the different types of learning styles that we use. More importantly, what style we prefer over others.

Ask These Questions

One other method that I’ll mention is the research that’s done at the University of Waterloo.[4] If you don’t want to be using a lot of brainpower to pinpoint, consider this method.

The idea with this method is to answer a few questions. Since our learning is a combination of styles, you’ll find yourself leaning to one side over the other with these questions:

  • The active/reflective scale: How do you prefer to process information?
  • The sensing/intuitive scale: How do you prefer to take in information?
  • The visual/verbal scale: How do you prefer information to be presented?
  • The sequential/global scale: How do you prefer to organize information?

This can narrow down how you learn and provide some other practical tips for enhancing your learning experience.

Final Thoughts

Even though we have a preferred style of learning and knowing what that is is beneficial, learning isn’t about restriction. Our learning style shouldn’t be the sole learning style we rely on all the time.

Our brain is made of various parts and whatever style we learn activates certain parts of the brain. Because of this fact, it would be wise to consider other methods of learning and to give them a try.

Each method I mentioned has its merits and there’s not one dominate or superior method. What method we like is entirely up to our preferences. So be flexible with those preferences and uncover what style works best for you.

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Anna Earl via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] BrainScape: Repetition is the mother of all learning
[2] Neil Fleming and David Baume: VARKing Up the Right Tree
[3] ERIC: Metacognition: An Overview
[4] University of Waterloo: Understanding Your Learning Style

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You? 5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner How Motor Learning Helps You Learn Effectively How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster How to Use Visual Learning to Learn Effectively

Trending in Learning

1 How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You? 2 5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner 3 How Motor Learning Helps You Learn Effectively 4 How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster 5 How to Use Visual Learning to Learn Effectively

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 31, 2020

5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

Learning has always been a part of human nature. As toddlers, we all learn to crawl, walk, and talk. We then attend schools and colleges to develop new skills. It will not be wrong to say that we all are avid learners.

Learning, in itself, is a beneficial activity. The better a person is at learning new skills or concepts, the more successful they can be in a particular field. Many experts have tried to understand the mechanism behind how our brain learns new things. They have developed various models of learning styles, among which the VARK model[1] is quite popular.

VARK stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. According to this theory, we learn things either by watching, listening, reading/writing or by doing. Out of these learning styles, in this article, we will discuss kinesthetic learning.

What is Kinesthetic Learning?

Kinesthetic learning, in simple terms, is learning by doing.[2] So a kinesthetic learner is a type of learner who learns best by actively participating in the learning process.

Such learners need to be engaged in some activity in order to learn effectively. The activity can be physical or mental. For example, if a kinesthetic learner wants to learn English vocabulary, they may do so by playing crosswords instead of picking up a dictionary.

Whether you are a kinesthetic learner or not, you can definitely relate to the process of kinesthetic learning.

Remember as a child, when you learned to play a sport by actually playing it? Be it football, cricket, or basketball, you can’t learn to play them by reading a book or by looking at other people playing.

Advertising

You must play the game to learn it properly. This is nothing but a type of kinesthetic learning.

Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

Kinesthetic learners, as the name suggests, are people who learn best when they perform some relevant actions.[3] As such, a classroom lecture may not be the best setting for them. They prefer to learn through activity, so sitting still and listening to others will be difficult for them.

Subjects that are heavily focused on theoretical aspects may not be the best choice for kinesthetic learners. They will do much better in fields that require muscle movement and practice. For example, a kinesthetic learner will more likely succeed as a painter or musician, than as a theoretical physicist.

Here’re 5 characteristics of a knesthetic learner:

1. They Never Get Bored of Learning

The process of learning is always enjoyable for kinesthetic learners because they are personally involved in it. Sitting in a classroom, hearing the professor’s lectures, or watching a documentary is what we call “passive learning.” We call it so because it doesn’t require active participation from the learner. They only need to focus on their sense of vision or hearing.

But kinesthetic learners are active learners. They turn the learning process into an activity, like a fun game or hands-on experience. That is why they never get bored with their style of learning. In fact, every learning process is an opportunity for them to try new activities.

2. They Learn Skills Better Than Concepts

Facts and concepts can be learned by reading and listening. But skills cannot be acquired without practice. That is why kinesthetic learners are more suited for skill-based activities rather than concept-based subjects.

Advertising

It does not imply that such people are always bad at conceptual subjects like science or math. It just means that learning skills will be easier for them than grasping a concept. The process of practicing and improving skills resonates better with their style of learning.

However, they can still learn conceptual topics as well, as long as they find a way to create some sort of activity regarding the concepts.

3. They Are Unlikely to Forget What They Have Learned

Kinesthetic learners usually don’t forget what they have learned. Our brain can store information as well as memories. Memories are easier to remember and recall as compared to information. We can clearly remember memories from years ago, but we easily forget what we had heard in the news a month ago.

So it means that actions (things we do/did) are easier to remember than sensory information (things we see/hear/read). Since kinesthetic learners learn through actions, they won’t forget what they have learned any time soon.

4. They Are Better at Innovating Than Implementing

People can be divided into two categories – those who innovate and those who implement. The innovators are people who give birth to new concepts, discoveries, and inventions. The implementers are those who make use of the existing concepts, ideas, theories, and information.

Kinesthetic learners are curious by nature. And because of their preference for learning through action, they love to experiment. As such, they show more interest in gaining new information and experience. They may enjoy working in areas of research or engineering.

5. They make learning fun for those around them.

Kinesthetic learners really enjoy learning in groups. In fact, it boosts their learning process when there are more people involved. There are more opportunities for engaging in interesting learning activities when more than one person is involved.

Advertising

The main focus of kinesthetic learners is to be physically and mentally invested in the learning process. And when they are in a group, they will want to include everyone in the process. So, people enjoy learning with kinesthetic learners even if they themselves aren’t one.

Struggles Kinesthetic Learners Face (And How to Tackle Them)

The main problem faced by kinesthetic learners is that they don’t fit well into the formal education style. Kids need to adapt themselves to classroom learning. Even adults have to sit through office meetings, where issues are discussed orally or visually. A kinesthetic learner may struggle in such scenarios.

Another challenge for such learners is choosing the right subjects and career paths. As mentioned above, they should pick areas that involve the right mix of actions and learning such as sports, music, research, or engineering.

However, just because a person is a kinesthetic learner doesn’t mean they can just avoid formal education altogether. If teachers or parents are aware that the child is a kinesthetic learner, it is their responsibility to help the child. For example, teachers can conduct some activities in the classroom from time to time. It’s even better if the activity is related to the subjects that are taught.

How can kinesthetic learners get over these challenges?

More Practice, Fewer Theories

Adult kinesthetic must choose a field of study that is based more on practice, and less on theories.

During the lectures, even if they feel bored or don’t understand what is being taught, they can make small notes about the important topics that were discussed. Later on, they can figure out creative ways to understand the topics in their notes. They can even ask the professors for assistance to find practical ways of learning what was discussed in lectures.

Advertising

Make Learning Fun

Apart from the classroom scenario, kinesthetic learners also face troubles when learning by themselves. Unlike other learners, they can’t just sit and open a book and start going through it. They must incorporate some fun techniques into their learning time to make it an active and fun process.

If you’re a kinesthetic learner and want to learn more effectively, make your own flashcards. That way, you can turn the learning process into an enjoyable game. It will help you remember your notes faster as well.

Practice or Enact What You’ve Learned Right Away

Another technique is that after every few minutes of studying the contents of a book or learning something new, spend the next few minutes practicing or enacting what you have learned. Basically, it’s like alternating between reading, and doing some activity related to what you’ve read.

For example, you may have learned some new Spanish vocabularies or phrases for a few minutes, and then do a role play oral practice with yourself and record yourself speaking these vocabularies or phrases. Alternating the style of learning in this way will be very effective in learning concepts as well as memorizing facts.

Bottom Line

Like every style of learning, kinesthetic learning has its pros and cons. It’s up to the learner to make the best use of their positive traits while overcoming their shortcomings.

In the end, what matters most is that you shouldn’t worry about what you cannot do, and fully focus on what you do best. And most importantly, you should never stop exploring the world around you. For kinesthetic learners, the best learning resource is your surrounding itself!

More About Effective Learning

Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next