Recently I have been looking at the process of learning, and how we do it and what works for us, etc.

One of the key things I have been looking at, and trying to figure out for myself, are personal learning styles. It is important to know and understand your own personal learning style. Not only for yourself, but also if you intend to ever teach or pass on some information to other people. You can tailor how you learn new material effectively or how you teach others the new material.

There are 5 learning styles, but the first 3 are the most popular and most identified with by learners.

These are:
1) Auditory
2) Visual
3) Kinesthetic
4) Olfactory
5) Gustatory

The last two are really only relevant in specific situations, so I will quickly cover those now.

Olfactory is learning through smell. If you were learning to blend perfume this would be an optimum learning style to have.

Gustatory is learning through taste. If you were taking cooking classes or making jam this would be a good learning style to have.

The next three learning styles are the three main players. These are the learning styles that people most identify with.

Auditory is learning through talking and listening. People who fit into this learning style are generally rather talkative. This kind of learner profits from talks and seminars, instructions, stories and discussions.

Visual learners learn through reading and watching. This kind of learner profits from diagrams and presentations, demonstrations, words and the use of whiteboards or flip charts. They also enjoy varied use of colour and font.

Kinesthetic learners like to do things and learn through doing. This kind of learner enjoys practical tasks, the use of models and displays, and hands on experience. Generally, this type of learner has trouble sitting still any length of time.

Then, there are the combo learners. These are the learners who don't fit neatly into just one category - and like introvert/extrovert, I find we are all a little of each but its the percentage that matters most. For instance,  you might absorb the most information through visuals and audio equally (50%) and that's why a seminar that uses slides and stories works best for you, or like me you might learn visually most of the time (75%) but getting your hands dirty helps to really drive some things home (15%) and the remainder is audio (10%).

As I said, it is fairly common for some to not fit into just one category. People cannot be pigeon-holed quite so easily as we hope, but what is important is that you know and can recognise which styles and approaches are important for your personal learning. Knowing how you process new information is a vital skill for those on a journey of personal growth and development because you want to learn, process and action what you read, see and hear about. Your success needs this awareness.

Figuring out which type of learner is highly beneficial, especially if you are a self-learner too. You will be able to create and utilise materials that you know are going to help you absorb the information presented. 

Even better, you can pretty much figure out which learner type you are in 10 minutes or so, with a little quiet reflection on past learning. Think back to a few times when you were learning new skills. What worked for you? What didn't?

So, which type of learner are you?

I am primarily a visual learner. I like to look at words and pictures. I have a good memory for faces and can recall situations clearly in my mind like a photograph or movie. I also have good spacial awareness and can remember locations and routes better than most. I like using coloured pens and highlighters when I take notes, and I am a big note-taker and annotater. Maybe thats why I love Bullet Journalling so much, and why I always have a healthy supply of fresh notebooks.

In some situations though experiential (aka. kinaesthetic) learning works best - doing things and learning through trial and error. I like to have hands-on practical experience for some tasks.

I would class myself as a visual learner with situation-dependant kinaesthetic tendencies - in psych speak.

What type of learner are you? Feel free to share your learning style in the comments below.  I always love to hear from y'all.


Personal Learning Styles: The Key to Your Growth and Development

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