Whether you’re an old dog, a young pup or somewhere in between, every day we learn something new.  But do you notice how some things are harder to get than others?

Well that’s due in part to your learning style—and whether or not it matches the teaching style of the person showing you what to do.

So what’s a learning style, how do you figure yours out and why is it important?

The Three Main Learning Styles

We all learn and process information in different ways. There isn’t a best way to learn–it’s all about what works for you.  Learning styles are usually in sync with the things that we like to do.  Our learning styles fall into one of three main learning categories: Visual, Auditory and Tactile/Kinesthetic.

If you like to…

You’re Likely a….

You Learn Best When You….

Read, look at pictures,
think in pictures, see
something being done
for yourself

Visual Learner

Are able to see a teacher’s body
language and facial expressions;
see an illustrations, charts or
diagrams when something is
explained; can take detailed notes
to make the information stick.

Listen to music or audio
books, talk on the phone
rather than write an
email or letter

Auditory Learner

Can hear the verbal lecture; listen
to the underlying tones of speech;
hear someone explain how to do.

Like to stay in motion,
or work with your hands


Touch objects, actively explore
your surroundings or actually
experience something hands-on
while  learning something new.

I Figured Out My Learning Style—Now What?

Understanding your particular learning style or the style of someone you are teaching is  helpful to make sure that you are receiving or presenting materials in a way that will stick.

For example, some of you will not absorb this message as much if you are not primarily a  Visual learner. (So you can either have someone read it to you, or print it out and handle the paper while you  read it!)

Seriously, if we know how we best learn, then grasping new things becomes easier. The best  teachers incorporate a combination of techniques that play to each learning style. That way most of their students will walk away  feeling more comfortable with the new material

Encourage Your Learning Style

So if you’re teaching or learning something new, take note of how new information is received and play to the primary learning style.

Talkers like to hear information. People who say ‘show me” really mean ” show me”. Someone who says, “let me see that” but takes the item with their hands is obviously a “touchy-feely” type.

  • For the visual learner–draw a picture or present the information visually.  Give them enough visual cues to help them process details more clearly.
  • If you or your student is always handling something, find a way to incorporate a hands on demonstration in your lesson plan.
  • For the auditory learners, the spoken word is valuable. If you are teaching, repeat important points verbally and with emphasis.  If you’re the student, ask if you can record the lesson, then play it back afterwards to help the details sink in. If you can only take notes, read your notes out loud once home.

Understanding how you prefer to learn can be the difference how well you adapt to change and master new skills.

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