What is my learning style and why is it important? Well because everyone has a dominant learning style. It is important to know what your learning style is in order to get the most benefit out of anything you want to learn. There are three main types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Determining your particular learning style is easy. Below I have put together a list of characteristics that describe each learning style. You can print out this page and check-mark all the characteristics under each learning style that apply to you or simply make notes on a sheet of paper. The idea is to find out which category has the most “check-marks” for you. Most people will find that they have a little bit of all three which is not uncommon, however, you will have one category that sticks out more than the other two. Go ahead and review the lists now and find out what your learning style is and we will go from there.
Visual Learner’s Learning Style
If you are a visual learner you probably:
- Find passive surroundings ideal.
- Like to “see” what you are learning such as seeing a demonstration or watching a video.
- Often close your eyes to visualize or remember something.
- Are usually neat and clean; don’t like clutter.
- Tend to sit in the front of a classroom.
- Find something to “watch” on television if you are bored.
- Prefer the use of illustrations and presentations with lots of color.
- Prefer stimuli to be isolated from auditory or kinesthetic distraction (no added sounds or “feelings” need be present when you are “watching” something).
- Are attracted to written or spoken words that contain rich imagery.
Auditory Learner’s Learning Style
If you are an auditory learner you probably:
- Hum or talk to yourself when bored.
- Prefer to read or be read to aloud.
- Remember lessons by verbalizing them to yourself.
- May not coordinate colors or clothing but can explain what you are wearing why you are wearing it.
- Prefer to sit where you can hear what is going on but have no need to “see” what is going on in the front.
- Seldom takes notes or writes things down.
- Interpret the underlying meaning of speech by focusing on voice tone, pitch and speed.
- Prefer to get directions verbally.
Kinesthetic Learner’s Learning Style
If you are a kinesthetic learner you probably:
- Need to be active and take frequent breaks.
- Find reasons to move or “tinker” with things when bored.
- Relay mostly on what you can directly experience or perform.
- Find activities such as cooking, engineering, construction, or art help you perceive and learn.
- Use hand gestures when speaking.
- Remember what you did but have trouble remembering what was said or seen.
- Prefer classrooms with lots of opportunities for hands-on experience.
- Sit near a door or a place where you can easily get up and move around.
- Enjoy field trips and tasks that involve manipulating materials.
- Enjoy physical appreciation such as hugs or pats on the back.
Where do You go From Here?
Now that you know what your main learning style is we can explore what you should be doing in your daily life to get the most out of your experiences.
Tips for Visual Learners
Let’s talk about the visual learners first. Now if you are an auditory or kinesthetic learner do not skip out on this section. You still may have some visual learning traits and can benefit from the information provided on all three learning styles.
Visual learning is my dominant learning style so I have some extra experience with this one.The internet provides many sites devoted to helping visual learners get tips on study skills but what about real life? How can we harness our learning style after our schooling years? We learn everyday. We take in information, process that information and take action. If you start a new job you will be learning new procedures. If you decide to take up a new hobby or learn a new language you still have new information to absorb and process.
- Take notes! Note taking is vital for retention of information for visual learners. I know that if I don’t write things down they just don’t seem to “stick” in my mind. I am currently learning Spanish and am quickly discovering that simply listening to the audio is not working as well as if I write down what I hear. I make lists for the grocery store, “to do” lists for chores and errands, I write down schedules and bills and I took thousands of notes while obtaining my degree and certifications.
- Get organized! Visual learners like order when learning so make sure you have a clean, quiet space for your studies, reading, and note-taking. Keeping files is always a good idea but for visual learners order and organization really matter so get a filing system going.
- Visualize! After you have taken good notes on anything you want to retain, visualize it. See the procedure, instructions, steps, words, pictures, etc. clearly in your mind. Review your notes and practice the visualization several times and you will find that the information is now embedded in your brain.
- Clear out the clutter! I don’t mean clean up your desk (that’s a good idea anyway), what I mean is when you are really trying to retain information get rid of distractions. Television, music, pets, household noises need to be curtailed as much as possible. This gives you better focus and concentration since visual learners usually have very busy minds running 24/7. The only exception is to play quiet relaxation, classical or “spa type” music while you take notes or re-write notes. Studies have shown that these types of music do stimulate the learning centers of the brain therefore aiding in your retention abilities.
Tips for Auditory Learners
Now on to the auditory learners out there…
- Carry a recorder! Since you are probably talking to yourself on a daily basis anyway why not record it and listen back? This may seem to be a difficult task in some situations but there is always opportunity. For example, you have just started a new job and are in the training process. Obviously you can’t carry around a recorder and repeat everything your trainer is telling you at that moment. What you can do is take advantage of breaks, lunch hour, and trips to the restroom. Have that recorder handy at all times and even if you record a “flush” you will have auditory notes to refer to later. Record your “to do” lists, bills, reminders, thoughts, dates to remember etc. and play it back often. Make a daily audio journal if you like. The sky is the limit on what you record, just do it!
- Read aloud! You may do this already so keep it up, if not then start. Anything you read or hear that you want to retain should be repeated back to yourself as many times as you see fit. Again, there is not always an opportune time to do this but where there is a will there is a way. Simply mouthing or whispering to yourself can be beneficial if you can’t record or speak aloud. As soon as you have a chance to speak or read aloud then do it.
- Be a good listener! As an auditory learner you love “listening” or so you should. Make sure you are not just hearing things but are actually giving undivided attention to what is being said. People appreciate that not to mention you learn a lot.
- Try visualizing! I know this may seem odd but hear me out. Try retaining or remembering information by seeing words in your mind. Visual learners will see pictures, kinesthetic learners will see a process or procedure but auditory learners can take advantage of visualization by seeing words. Get creative and give your words a fancy font or color but concentrate on the words. You can even try visualizing yourself speaking those words to yourself or to someone else.
Tips for Kinesthetic Learners
And finally our “hands on” friends, the kinesthetic learners. Kinesthetic learners like to touch things, everything. These are the people that, as children, loved to play in the mud, make gooey Playdough, build Legos and draw or doodle. It is important for kinesthetic learners to move, have space, and feel a sense of freedom.
- Take breaks! I know in many instances this may be difficult but do your best to get away, especially when working on demanding projects. If you can elect to work at a standing desk, do so and locate your desk by a door or at least a window if possible.
- Remember with a rubber band! If you have difficulties recalling information then try associating that information with an activity such as playing with a rubber band. You don’t have to run around with a rubber band on your wrist dodging questioning stares. Just keep one in your pocket. When you find yourself in a situation you want to remember in detail fiddle with the rubber band while being conscious to associate the current event with the rubber band. At this point you will want to take the rubber band out of your pocket so as not to make others believe you are “fiddling” with other things in that general area.
- Draw pictures! Kinesthetic learners can be closely related to visual learners so take advantage of your doodling skills; chances are you probably already doodle a lot. Use the time you find your mind wandering and your pen scribbling to draw a more meaningful doodle that will help you remember the information being presented. Staff meetings can be sedating so try doodling pictures about what is being said. Your brain will stay active and you will be more likely to remember what was said.
- Visualize! This tip works for all three learning styles although it need be carried out in slightly different versions. For the kinesthetic learner visualizing yourself performing a task or visualizing the steps involved in a project will help you stay focused and connected to the information you are trying to retain. Make sure you include details. This shouldn’t be difficult since most kinesthetic learners like details anyway.
Now that you have a better understanding of your particular learning style put it to good use. Use this blog to find out the learning style of your spouse or children, your co-workers or employees. Knowing how others learn can be a huge benefit when it comes to presenting information to them. There is no limit to how you can use your learning style to your benefit. Just imagine the possibilities and run with them!
Thanks for reading!
Smiles ~ Michelle