Understanding Learning Styles; Is your Learning Style Compatible with Online Education?

by Anna Michaelidou

Online education is everywhere, everyone knows about it and more and more people are starting to use it. It's popular, it's advanced and it gets results. Let's face it, everything you need to know about anything is right at your fingertips, from how to write an eBook, to finding the perfect home tutor for your child. And online education (as with many types of education) can be great for just about anyone, so long as you are aware of what type of learner you are and can adapt your learning style to your specific needs.

By understanding what type of learner you are, you can essentially learn, motivate yourself and communicate more effectively.

Overview of Learning Styles

Learning styles are the way in which a student comprehends, absorbs and retains information. For example, if a student is learning about numbers, some will learn easier by hearing the numbers spoken aloud, others by seeing them written down, and some by writing them a few times themselves, either in the air or on a piece of paper.
It is fundamental for educators (be it a teacher, private tutor or parent) to understand their students' learning styles, so that they can implement the best strategies into their teaching. If you are a parent, understanding which learning style best suits your child will also help you better find a more suitable tutor for them. For help finding a Tutor click here.

The Four Main Learning Styles

Learning styles are generally broken down into four main categories:

  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Kinaesthetic
  • Read/Write

It is often possible for people to change their style of learning where necessary and some people have a secondary learning style or even a combination of two styles; but everyone has a learning style.
Let's take a look at the four different styles in more detail:

1. Auditory Learners - gain knowledge through listening

Learners classed as Auditory best understand new content through listening. They will remember best through verbal lectures, debates and discussions and talking things through whilst listening to what others have to say.

Written information will basically have no meaning for them until it is heard, so reading aloud or using a recording device is a great idea. Auditory learners will more often than not have excellent verbal skills, although they can be weak readers because of their poor visual skills. Auditory Learners use repetition as a great study technique! Those who have an auditory learning style will usually be good at music and learning foreign languages.

2. Visual Learners - gain knowledge through seeing

Visual learners are those that can make pictures in their minds of how something will appear. They remember by visualising; seeing things written down, images and any other visual material. Simple approaches such as writing subject matter on a blackboard and exploring diagrams are great teaching techniques for visual learners.

Visual learners understand new information through images, graphs and diagrams. They are commonly good at Maths and are more likely to notice facial expressions when talking to someone. They are more aware of their surroundings than other types of learners.

3. Kinaesthetic Learners - gain knowledge through actions; moving, touching, doing...

A Kinaesthetic learner likes to learn through interaction and movement. They learn best by discovering how things work and exploring the physical world around them. They enjoy experiments and are keen to take things apart to understand how it fits back together. Kinaesthetic learners may often be fidgety and become easily distracted especially when need to sit still for long periods of time.