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How do you learn? – 7 Learning Styles Explained!

We all respond differently to different ways of learning. Try identifying the way you learn best to help you focus and retain information more effectively.

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How do you learn? – 7 Learning Styles Explained!

You may have heard the idea that we all respond differently to different ways of learning. We all have our own individual strengths and identifying the way you learn best can help you focus and retain information more effectively.

Staying motivated while we adhere to social distancing can be hard and studying in isolation without the usual structure of a classroom presents its own challenges. Here, we have provided an explanation of the 7 most common learning styles. Perhaps you identify with one more than the others or perhaps you engage with a few of them? Maybe you have your own learning techniques that you could share?

An important thing to remember is that is no right or wrong mix, nor are your styles fixed. You might find that you want to use different styles in different circumstances. By understanding the learning styles that you respond to best, you can use techniques that are better suited to you. This will improve the quality of your learning and hopefully help you to adapt to learning in many different circumstances.


Do you think in pictures?

Are you constantly doodling? Then you may find it easier to understand a concept when it’s presented as a diagram, graph, picture or map. You could try using mind maps or flow charts to express ideas or the relationship between different facts on the same subject. How about drawing connections or colour coding your thoughts? Get creative and give your mind something to feast its eyes on!

Characteristics of a visual learner:
  • Have good spatial awareness and sense of direction
  • Likes colouring and drawing
  • Very detail-orientated
  • Often drawn towards careers in Design, Photography, Planning or Navigation
Visual Learners need creative imagery to remember facts


Are you a storyteller?

Do you love music, rhymes and rhythms? If so, you may retain knowledge best through hearing information rather than seeing it written down. Try teaming up with a classmate over Zoom and “teaching” each other something as a revision technique. How about recording your lectures to listen to later or listening to podcasts on your chosen subject?

Characteristics of an auditory learner:
  • Good at repeating information back
  • Pick up languages easily or notices change in inflection and tone
  • Remembers and retains song lyrics
  • Often drawn towards careers in Music or Sound Engineering
Auditory learners retain information by listening to it rather than seeing it written down


Do you love words and writing?

If you like tongue-twisters, love reading or enjoy discovering the meanings of new words, you may be a verbal learner. Taking as many notes as possible during a lesson will help retain information. Another good strategy is to try and rewrite what you’ve just learnt in your own words.

Characteristics of a verbal learner:
  • Naturally good at public speaking
  • Enjoys speaking and writing equally
  • Loves reading and is not put off by long texts
  • Often drawn towards careers in Administration, Writing or Politics!
Verbal learners love reading and the meaning of new words

Physical (Kinesthetic)

Are you a hands-on person?

Are you a do-er? Do you find it difficult to sit still in a traditional classroom setting? You may find it easier to learn by carrying out a physical activity rather than listening to a lecture or reading an explanation. Try giving yourself challenges when learning, use physical objects like posits or create a song and dance routine around a subject you need to learn!

Characteristics of a physical learner:
  • Constantly fiddles with hands
  • Doodles without thinking
  • Has maybe previously been seen as being disruptive or antsy in class?
  • Often drawn towards careers in Building, Emergency Services, or Health & Safety
Physical learners are hands-on people


Are you great with numbers?

Are you a problem solver? Do you love maths and working out patterns? Then your brain is made for logical learning! Try creating graphs to explain the relationships between topics. Logical learners respond well to routine and structure so how about writing up a learning plan to follow for the week?

Characteristics of a logical learner:
  • Excels at strategy games like chess
  • Enjoys classifying and grouping information
  • Likes to understand how and why something has happened
  • Often drawn towards careers in Accountancy, Bookkeeping, Computing or Science
Mathmatical learners are good with numbers


Are you a people person?

If you enjoy communicating with people, you’re a social learner. Make use of your strong communication skills by getting a group of classmates together for a virtual study session. Bounce ideas off your colleagues and set each other challenges – why not pick topics to present to each other.

Characteristics of a social learner:
  • People often come to you for advice
  • Empathetic personality with a sensitivity to moods and feelings
  • Enjoys company and working within a group
  • Often drawn towards careers in Counselling, Human Resources or Teaching
Social learners are natural communicators


Do you prefer working alone?

If your concentration is at its best and you can only focus your thoughts without the distraction of others, then you may prefer studying alone. Try to make your study space your haven: somewhere you’d enjoy being and give yourself time to work through problems and new ideas. Keeping a journal of your learning could help keep yourself accountable.

Characteristics of a solitary learner:
  • Private and independent personalities
  • Enjoys own company
  • Concerned with goals and outcomes
  • Often drawn towards careers in Research or Computing
Solitary learners work better with no distractions

Hopefully you’ll be able to recognise one of these styles in yourself and this will give you a few tips for the next time you sit down to do a spot of studying!

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