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Learning Styles

Each person learns differently from one another, and should find out what way they learn information the best.  Learning styles are different approaches or ways of learning.  They are one’s favored way of acquiring, using, and thinking about knowledge.  The goal for all students should be to find which way is most effective for them.  A few questions you could ask yourself in determining what your best learning styles are:

  • What is my learning style and how does it affect my success academically?
  • Is the way I am studying now working?
  • How can I determine my needs and make good decisions in my studying?
  • How can I change my environment to become a more effective student?

The three types of learning styles are visual, auditory, and tactile.

Visual Learners:

Visual learners are able to learn through seeing.  They may find themselves learning better from visual displays such as diagrams, illustrated textbooks, videos, hand-outs, etc.  They prefer reading about a topic over listening to a lecture about it from a teacher.  However, if they are in a lecture class, they usually need to see the teacher’s body language and facial expressions to fully understand what is being taught.  They will also usually take detailed notes from a lecture to study at a later time.  Visual learners have been known to find it easier to see things in their mind’s eye and to visualize a concept than listening to someone talk about it.  Some of the careers that are great for visual learners deal with visual art, architecture, photography, film, design, and navigation.

Some key phrases you may find yourself using may be:

  • Let’s look at it differently.
  • Let’s draw a diagram.
  • Let’s see how this works.
  • Let’s get another perspective on this.

Study tips:

  • Write out summaries of information
  • Highlight and underline written material
  • Use flashcards to study
  • Devise diagrams and charts

Auditory Learners:

Auditory learners are able to learn through listening.  They usually prefer listening to information rather than reading about it.  These learners usually love class lectures and discussions because they are able to take in what it being talked about.  Talking things out loud also helps these helps this type of learner sort through information.  Also, auditory learners benefit from reading text aloud as well as using a tape recorder.  Auditory learners usually like to work with music and can typically sing or play an instrument.  Some possible career paths for auditory learners are playing, conducting, or composing music, as well as sound engineering. 

Some key phrases you may find yourself using are:

  • That sounds about right.
  • That rings a bell.
  • I hear you loud and clear.
  • That’s music to my ears.          

Study tips:

  • Use a tape recorder for class
  • Study in a group or with a partner
  • Read notes aloud to yourself
  • Create mnemonics to aid memorization
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Teach the material to someone else in the class

Kinesthetic Learners:

Kinesthetic learners are able to learn through touching, manipulating objects, and doing things.  They learn best through a hands-on learning approach and actively exploring the physical world around them.  Most kinesthetic learners find it hard to sit still through long lectures and may become distracted by their need for activity.  These learners enjoy sports, exercise, and other physical activities.  Exercising allows you to think out issues and problems that you may be facing.  Getting up and moving around helps this learner figure things out rather than just sitting at home.  Kinesthetic learners also use more hand gestures and other body language when communicating with others.  Common career paths for these learners are general physical work, mechanical, construction, sports, and drama.          

Some key phrases you may find yourself using are:

  • That seems right to me.
  • That doesn’t sit right with me.
  • I don’t have a good feeling about this.
  • Stay in touch.
  • I can’t quite get a grip on what you are saying.      

Study tips:

  • Create flashcards for studying
  • Take frequent study breaks
  • Take notes during class
  • Design your own sample quizzes


The following links provide more information about learning styles.

POWER Learning by Robert S. Feldman

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