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7 learning styles

7 Types of Learning Styles to Know: How to Accommodate a Diverse Group of Learners

By Alicia Beharry
Published on August 27, 2020

Pinpointing how your employees learn best can dramatically affect their ability to connect with the areas you are teaching, as well as how they absorb and process information. The following are the most common types of learners:

1) Visual (Spatial) learners

This learning style requires the learners to first take a look at what they are expected to know. This learner needs to see information in order to process it and effectively acquire it. These individuals learn by seeing pictures or visual shapes. They remember and understand information by sight and may need to map out their thoughts in order to process them better.

Learning strengths: 
  • The use of graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and other forms of visual stimulation. 
Learning struggles: 
  • Following directions and information that are not written out

Tip: Incorporate flow charts, white space and visual displays in training modules.

2) Aural (Auditory) learners

Individuals of this learning style prefer to learn by hearing and listening to information. Auditory learners understand information best when they are given verbal instructions. They learn best by hearing directions and speaking answers. They are able to process information better if it is accompanied with some form of audio. These individuals absorb listening to instructions better than reading them. Presentations with audio, and videos can be a very useful tool for this group.

Learning strengths: 
  • Follows verbal instructions well 
  • Oral presentations and lectures
Learning struggles:
  • Difficulty with instructions that are drawn 
  • Requires writing in a logical order so it can be easier to understand 

Tip: Incorporate catchy mnemonics, narration or audio in presentations and training.

3) Physical (Kinesthetic) learners

Kinesthetic learning is a learning style in which learning that takes place by the individual experiencing material through carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. Kinesthetic learners, also known as tactile learners require a hands-on approach and going through the motions of what they are learning in order to absorb information.

Learning strengths: 
  • Excellent motor memory, great experimenters, coordinated and agile
Learning struggles: 
  • Listening to lectures and watching demonstrations. 
  • Not all topics allow hands-on learning

Tip: Incorporate real world examples throughout training modules and involve role-playing when possible. This can be incorporated more in ILT in-person training. 

4) Verbal (Linguistic) learners

Verbal learners learn through the words they hear. Typically, they excel in both written and spoken material. They are drawn to expression through writing, reading articles or books, looking up words in the dictionary and researching online.

Learning strengths:
  • Flourishes in reading and writing activities
  • Strong and clear verbal expression
Learning struggles:
  • Abstract visual information
  • Interpreting visual presentations 

Tip: Incorporate reading material and key points throughout training material. Create debate topics when possible. 

5) Logical (Mathematical) learners

A logical learner enjoys exercising their mind by applying mathematical and logical reasoning to solve problems. They are highly skilled at recognizing patterns and can identify connections with material that have no obvious relation to one another. They often find statistical study more appealing than analyzing literature.

Learning strengths:
  • Perform complex calculations
  • Creates future procedures, after coming up with a solution to a problem at hand
Learning struggles:
  • Apprehensive when rules and procedures are not clear or don’t exist
  • May be unable to tolerate when others don’t follow logical sequences, rules, or procedures.

Tip: Incorporate problem-solving games and divide large amounts of material into smaller segments within training material.

6) Social (Interpersonal) learners

Social learners are true people persons. They often prefer being involved with others in group projects. They are stimulated by discussions and are likely to seek out feedback from instructors. However, they may not be comfortable or perform their best when working alone or on self-paced projects.

   Learning strengths:
  • Great listening skills and are good at resolving conflicts
  • Strong brainstorming and team-working skills 
Learning struggles:
  • Independent projects 

Tip: Incorporate a messaging tool with discussion boards for employees to communicate and bounce ideas and learn from one another.

7) Solitary (Intrapersonal) learners

Solitary learners are individuals who prefer to learn by themselves. These learners are self-motivated, enjoy working independently, and learn best when working alone. They require a quiet environment in their academic lives.

Learning strengths:
  • Great listening skills and are good at resolving conflicts
  • Strong brainstorming and team-working skills
Learning struggles:
  • Excellent self-management skills
  • Strong goal-setting skills

Tip: Incorporate a messaging tool with discussion boards for employees to communicate and bounce ideas and learn from one another.

Remember that people may learn in a combination of styles. Now that you have some strategies in your back pocket, you should incorporate a training platform that can accommodate a variety of learning techniques.

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