Learning is the key to advancing in life. But learning doesn’t have to take place in the classroom exclusively. It could be training at your dream job, an online course, or things you pick up while browsing the web.
But knowing which of the many learning styles you are is critical to retaining and using new information in the real world. While there are four different learning styles traditionally, Scientific American stated there could be up to 170 learning models.
Today, we’re going to detail the learning style definition and examples before talking about what are the four main learning styles.
What are the Four Main Learning Styles?
Within education, there are four types of learners. Most people don’t fall neatly into a single category, but learning styles theory states that the majority have a dominant style that will inform how they learn best.
If you’re struggling to figure out which learning style you are, you can take a learning styles quiz to enable you to learn more.
Mastering your learning style will bring you closer to achieving your goals, whether it’s making six figures or starting your next side hustle. In the meantime, here are the four main learning types.
1. Visual Learning Style
Visual learners make up the bulk of the population. One publication states that visual learners represent 65% of the population.
These learners prefer to take in information through visual aids, such as maps, graphs, diagrams, and charts. Simultaneously, this doesn’t mean they respond well to photos and videos.
The best way to teach a visual learner is to visually demonstrate relationships between two ideas. For example, if explaining how a sales funnel works and how it relates to organic traffic growth, you may display each part of the funnel as a flow chart.
The main characteristics of these learners include:
- Immense visual recall
- Strong spatial awareness
- Need for structure
- Often take detailed notes
- Difficulty retaining purely auditory information
What’s the Best Way to Accommodate Visual Learners?
Knowing how to accommodate different learning styles will enable you to get the best out of yourself and others.
For example, if teaching visual learners about how to build credit, relying on strong, colorful visual aids and encouraging note-taking will help retain information. Mind maps, concept diagrams, and visual cues can reinforce key points.
2. Auditory Learning Style
Auditory learners prefer to hear things when studying or participating in the workplace. These learners can recall up to 75% of the information they hear.
These learners prefer to sort and organize their ideas after they finish speaking rather than think them through before. They excel in in-person environments, such as lectures, workplace meetings, and group brainstorming sessions, making them prime candidates for things like starting a business.
The main characteristics of these learners include:
- Preference for spoken guidance
- Excellent listening skills
- Favor oral presentations
- Strong aural memory
- Difficulties with visual distractions
- Love of audio-based learning
What’s the Best Way to Accommodate Auditory Learners?
Auditory learners benefit from the information provided to them in some oral form. It could be a Zoom call or speaking to them directly. For example, if teaching someone about what is crypto, you may prepare an audio guide or point them toward an audio book.
Within formal learning environments, these learners can benefit from recording lectures and group discussions to play back the content and retain more of it.
3. Kinesthetic Learning Style
Of all the different learning styles, kinesthetic learners are the least common. According to one study, tactile learners comprise just 5% of the population, meaning they can often struggle in environments not geared toward them.
For example, if these learners are trying to work out how to save money or how to invest money, they will often have to make mistakes along the way for the lessons to stick.
Kinesthetic learners are the definition of people who learn by doing. They prefer hands-on experiences, which is why these learners tend to excel in physical jobs, such as blue-collar work while finding traditional academia challenging.
The main characteristics of kinesthetic learners include the following:
- The desire for a hands-on experience
- Learning through touching
- Struggles with passive learning
- Impressive muscle memory
- Benefits from physical activity
What’s the Best Way to Accommodate Kinesthetic Learners?
Kinesthetic learners require physical activity to keep them engaged. Forcing these learners to sit in a lecture hall or a group meeting is unlikely to yield the results you expect.
Instead, providing some form of physical activity can help them to stay engaged if explaining otherwise dry topics like what is inflation or how mortgage rates work. It could be as simple as walking while talking or tossing a tennis ball around or an in-depth tutorial or roleplaying session.
4. Reading/Writing Learning Style
The reading/writing learning style, or verbal-linguistic style, is for those who consume and retain information when they read or write it down. While not the most common of the various learning styles, it dominates specific industries. For example, 33.8% of medical students fall into this learning category.
Text is the most potent medium for these learners, so they often ace written assignments like writing a personal statement or business plan. As visual learners do, they can benefit from using charts and diagrams.
The main characteristics of the reading/writing learners include:
- Love of reading and writing
- Strong language skills
- Avid note-takers
- Attention to written details
- Memorization through writing
- Excellent written communicators
What’s the Best Way to Accommodate Reading/Writing Learners?
Reading/writing learners benefit from access to a library of reading material. They will often prefer to write an email than pick up the phone. You may notice these learners are quiet during meetings and other group activities because they prefer expressing themselves differently.
Written assignments and communication are where these learners excel. Additionally, they can benefit from taking notes of important details to improve their recall.
Importance of Learning Styles – Tailoring Your Experience
Whatever learning category you fall into, you need to adjust accordingly if you want the best possible results.
So, here are some bonus tips for tinkering with your life based on the way you prefer to learn:
- Identify Your Learning Style – Begin by determining your learning style. Note that you may have characteristics of multiple styles.
- Adapt Your Learning Techniques – If you’re a visual learner, create charts for yourself. If you’re a reading/writing learner, ensure you make note-taking a regular part of your day.
- Express Yourself – Make it clear to your teacher, boss, clients, etc., that you benefit more from learning in a certain way.
- Seek the Right Resources – Gather resources compatible with your learning style. Don’t purchase a big textbook if you’re an auditory learner. Alternatively, embrace AI and incorporate it into your strategy.
- Combine Learning Styles – You don’t need to stay in your lane the whole time. Combining your preferred style with complementary ones can provide a more well-rounded learning experience.
These tips will help you to put your natural talents to work and increase your chances of generating an income, finding a new job, or succeeding in school.