What are the types of learning styles?
There are three key types of learning styles:
Visual learners (also called "spatial learners") process information best when it’s presented with images drawn on a whiteboard, charts, graphs, diagrams, maps or other graphics. Visual learners usually process pictures before they read printed text and are also able to visualize concepts quickly.
People who are visual learners prefer when instructions are printed rather than given verbally, and may often scribble or doodle when conceptualizing or attempting to make sense of a new topic. Many visual learners remember something better once they’ve written it down or drawn it out. They also tend to organize or visually compartmentalize information as they learn it to help them link concepts and ideas.
Auditory learners process information best when it’s said out loud, such as in a lecture setting or spoken presentation. These types of learners can easily recall what others say and prefer to talk through topics they find complex or difficult to understand.
People who are auditory learners prefer verbal directions and may use repetition or repeat things aloud to commit them to memory. They may ask multiple questions to understand the subject matter better and may need to hear something repeated more than once before they fully comprehend. They work well in group settings and appreciate team discussions. Auditory learners also often benefit from listening to recordings as a method of absorbing new concepts.
Kinesthetic learners (also called "tactile learners") process information through experience rather than by being shown or told. These types of learners prefer to do things that are more “hands-on.” They prefer to touch and feel items and can easily recall things they’ve done versus what they’ve heard or read.
People who are kinesthetic learners like to make and create things using their hands, and remember information best when they are physically involved. They may stand up, move around or act out information to remember it. Kinesthetic learners like to participate in the process by shadowing or assisting, and prefer to practice or rehearse concepts as a way to absorb new information.
Take time to consider how you prefer to take in new information. Think about the last time you learned something new. How did you work to ensure you retained the information? What patterns, explanations or drawings made the concepts understandable? The answer to these questions will help you discover which learning styles work best for you.
Once you know which learning style is most effective for you, it might be helpful to communicate your preferred style of learning with your manager. This way, you can work together to ensure you’re able to efficiently grow your skillset. Additionally, your manager can help you find ways to incorporate your learning style into your role.