What Type of Learner Am I?

by Christine Chadwick

Every person has a unique way of approaching tasks and challenges, so it should be no surprise that teaching experts have identified a number of different learning styles. Grouping students into divisions that encompass common learning styles help both student and teacher achieve success at school and while working through curriculum in study groups or at home.

Learning styles defined

Seven different learning styles have been identified and generally considered:

  • Visual: Also known as spatial learning, this type of learner does well with images, charts, and pictures.
  • Aural: Also known as auditory-musical learning, this type of learner gravitates to music and sound to accumulate knowledge.
  • Verbal: Also known as linguistic learning, this type of learner prefers to receive information through words, spoken or written.
  • Physical: Also known as kinesthetic learning, this type of learner finds a hands-on approach most successful.
  • Logical: Also known as mathematical learning, this type of learner uses reasoning and systems to gain understanding.
  • Social: Also known as interpersonal learning, this type of learner gains a better grasp of concepts in small or large groups.
  • Solitary: Also known as intrapersonal learning, this type of learner is most comfortable working alone.

Do you recognise yourself?

As you read through these styles, chances are good that one or two feel comfortable and familiar to you. Perhaps you are drawn to study groups or maybe you absolutely avoid them at all costs. Are you always making up a little mnemonic or humming a tune to remember facts or establish a timeline? Is it important for you to practice doing a task, or are you content to view a slideshow or video before taking off on your own? Do you do your best learning reading a book or listening to a lecture?

Combination learning styles

Many people find that they are comfortable using a number of different approaches to learning. Often the method can be situational. For example, a hands-on physical method works well for tasks that require motion, like cooking, sports or games, playing a musical instrument or dancing, while a logical style works better for math or scientific theories.

A solitary style devotee may profit from a social twist when reviewing for a test, while a verbal learner may need a chart from the visual toolbox to understand a complicated issue. Using a variety of approaches is probably wise, as the learner cannot choose how an instructor will teach the information.

How to determine your learning style

Discovering the learning styles that work best for you may be as easy as reviewing the list above. If you are still undecided, you might want to talk with a trusted teacher, other adult or STUDY SKILLS TUTOR who knows how you approach learning.

Your school counselling centre may have resources to help you determine your learning style. In addition, many do-it-yourself tests that can help you narrow down your learning style are available for free use online. Simply search for "learning styles."

Learning never stops

Learning styles are not just important when you are in school. Every day of your life is an opportunity to learn something new. New skills on the job, parenting, hobbies and a wide range of other activities require an open mind and a willingness to be a lifelong learner.