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Analysing The 8 Types Of Learning Styles [Characteristics, Strengths & Strategy]

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In this post, we will analyse the 8 different types of learning styles.

At the end of the post, you will be able to identify what type of learner you are.

You’ll also learn:

  • Why learning is important 
  • The benefits of learning
  • Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence

Let’s get to it.

Why Is Learning Important?

Learning should be an important part of everyone’s lives, no matter how old you are.

Just as food nourishes our bodies, continued learning helps to nourish our brains. 

It’s a critical tool for both our personal and professional careers as it enables us to grasp new concepts and ideas in a better way.

Learning helps us to acquire critical thinking skills and helps us to relate better with people from different cultures. 

The research shows there’s a number of ways in which people learn and retain information.

One study’s findings show that there are 71 different learning style models.

Here’s a few examples of the different types of learning styles:

  • David Kolb’s Model
  • Peter Honey & Alan Mumford’d model
  • Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK model
  • Anthony Gregorc’s model

The type of learning style that we will be focusing on in this post is Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Based on Gardner’s theory there are eight types of learning styles that everyone will fall into.

The more you are aware of these different learning styles, the better equipped you will be to learn in the right way for yourself.

We will look at Gardner’s theory of learning styles in more detail shortly.

The Benefits Of Learning

Before we analyse the different types of learning styles I want to show you some of the key benefits of learning.

A quick google search on the benefits of learning throws up lots of results such as What Is The Importance Of Learning and 5 Key Benefits Of Lifelong Learning.

However, I want to focus on the 3 benefits that I feel are most important.

Changing Brain Chemistry

The white matter we have in our brain is called myelin and it is this that helps to improve our performance on lots of different tasks.

As we learn and practice something regularly, the myelin becomes denser which helps to improve our learning capabilities.

Learning Speed Increases

By learning a new skill it helps you to learn things faster over time.

Learning stimulates neurons in the brain, which results in more neural pathways forming and electrical impulses traveling faster.

As more pathways form, the impulses travel faster which speeds up our ability to process new information.

Helps To Stop Dementia 

People who learn more frequently than others could be at less of a risk of developing dementia.

Dementia is linked to the demyelination of your brain (damage to the myelin).

People who actively try to learn new skills don’t let their brains have a chance to demyelinate.

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence

Gardner first introduced this theory of intelligence in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

In the book, he suggested that everyone will learn better in different ways.

The 8 types of learning styles that Gardner proposes are:

  • Visual (Spatial)
  • Aural (Auditory-Musical)
  • Verbal (Linguistic)
  • Physical (Kinesthetic)
  • Logical (Mathematical)
  • Social (Interpersonal)
  • Solitary (Intrapersonal)
  • Naturalistic
The 8 types of learning styles

Let’s take a look at the different learning styles in more detail.

The 8 Different Types Of Learning Styles

In this part of the post, I will outline each of the 8 different types of learning styles.

We will then look at the key characteristics, strengths, and strategies for learning for each style.

This will give you a good understanding of each learning style and will hopefully help you to identify which type of learner you are.

1. Visual (Spatial)

The term visual-spatial learner was first introduced by psychologist Linda Kreger Silverman Ph.D.

As the name implies, visual learners learn best when they are using images to help process information.

It refers to a person’s ability to analyse and understand visuals in the world around them.

Individuals with this learning style typically think more visually, hence the reason for learning in a similar way.

They tend to be good at seeing the overall picture but can sometimes lack specific attention to detail.

Visual learners are often found to be good with directions, maps, and charts.

Key Characteristics of Visual Learners:

  • People learn better when presented with visual, rather than auditory information
  • Their brain thinks in pictures, not words
  • They do not learn by the more conventional step-by-step style that is taught in school
  • They do not benefit from repeating a task over and over to help them understand it
  • They can appear to be unorganised
  • Like coloring and drawing
  • Have vivid imaginations and come up with creative solutions to problems
  • Have strong spatial awareness and sense of direction

Strengths

  • Visual Judgment
  • Spatial Judgement

Strategies For Learning

  • Use visual aids when teaching
  • Make use of visual analogies and metaphors to complement visual imagery
  • Use colours and pictures instead of words
  • Emphasise key points in the text by highlighting or colouring in
  • Don’t use large blocks of text
  • Using storytelling to help with visualisation
  • Colour code similar content
Photo by Soraya Irving on Unsplash

2. Aural (Auditory-Musical)

Aural learning is sometimes referred to as the musical learning style.

The musical learning style refers to a person’s ability to be able to process sound, rhythm, patterns in sound, relationships between sounds, and other auditory information. 

Individuals will generally have a strong musical intelligence as well as be good at thinking in patterns, sounds, and rhythms.

They will typically have a strong recognition for music and will have an interest in musical compositions and performance.

Key Characteristics of Aural Learners

  • Will enjoy singing and playing musical instruments
  • More easily remember songs and melodies
  • Have a strong understanding of musical structure and rhythm
  • Music will evoke strong emotions
  • Recognise musical tones and patterns
  • Be good at oral reports and class presentations
  • Be able to work through difficult tasks by talking out loud

Strengths

  • Rhythm
  • Music

Strategies For Learning

  • Instead of reading a book, try audiobooks
  • Listening to music as you read over material
  • Make recordings of what you are learning and play it back
  • When solving problems do this vocally
  • Use mnemonic devices and rhyming
  • Re-read any notes when you get back home
Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

3. Physical (Kinesthetic)

Kinesthesis sometimes referred to as kinesthesia, is the perception of body movements.

It is being able to identify changes in body position and movements without the need for using your other five senses.

You use your kinesthetic sense when you are walking, swimming, driving, or anything that uses body movement.

Individuals with high kinesthetic intelligence are likely to be good at body movement, physical control and physical actions.

It’s also likely you will have extremely good hand-eye coordination.

Physical learners normally learn best by learning by doing.

Key Characteristics of Physical Learners

  • Have lots of energy
  • Appreciate the world around them, such as textures and feel
  • Will like sports and outdoor activities
  • Remember by doing, instead of seeing or hearing
  • Have very good motor memory (easily duplicate something after doing it once)
  • Be good at art and drama
  • Enjoying making things with their hands
  • Have very good physical coordination

Strengths

  • Physical movement
  • Motor control

Strategies For Learning

  • Exercises where you are standing and walking are really effective
  • Will learn better through the use of diagrams, maps, and graphs
  • Physical exercise and getting your hands dirty
  • Role-playing
  • Interacting with physical objects and solving puzzles
  • Reviewing notes whilst engaging in physical activity
  • Use real-life examples, such as case studies
Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

4. Verbal (Linguistic)

Verbal-linguistic learning style is where individuals typically learn best through language and problem-solving.

People who excel in this type of learning style are able to use words well when writing and speaking.

Typically they will be very competent at writing stories, reading, and memorising information.

As most of the school curriculum is based around the verbal learning style, people who learn best this way generally excel at school and university.

These types of learners will often end up in writing, journalism, and public speaking type jobs.

However, it is important to distinguish that verbal-linguistic ability does not have a direct correlation with intelligence.

Key Characteristics of Verbal Learners

  • Will remember spoken and written information
  • Will like to read and write
  • Be open to debate and persuasive speeches
  • Able to use humor when telling stories
  • Easily able to explain things clearly
  • Often quicker at learning new languages
  • Will like to learn in study groups
  • Will like learning new words and have a large vocabulary 
  • Will ask lots of questions and be curious

Strengths

  • Words
  • Language
  • Writing

Strategies For Learning

  • Use acronyms and mnemonic devices
  • Typical verbal and writing activities
  • Role-playing
  • Teaching relevant material to people who dont understand as well
  • Re-read and re-write notes
  • Presenting in front of groups of people
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

5. Social (Interpersonal)

As the name implies, social learners are people persons.

The interpersonal learning style refers to someone’s ability to interact and understand others in social situations.

These types of learners will also be good at assessing emotions, desires, and intentions of those they are around.

They are often stimulated by conversation and will typically seek out feedback, whilst preferring direct involvement in group projects.

Social learners may struggle when required to work alone and away from groups.

Key Characteristics of Physical Learners

  • Communicate better verbally
  • Also skilled at nonverbal communication
  • Find it easy to create new friends
  • Can help to resolve conflicts in a group setting
  • Are good at seeing different perspectives
  • Enjoy socialising
  • Like getting involved in group sports and activities such as football and drama
  • Are good listeners
  • Trusted by others for their advice

Strengths

  • Understanding 
  • Relating

Strategies For Learning

  • Engage in lots of role-play
  • Lots of group work
  • Discuss and share your ideas with others
  • Bounce your ideas off other people in groups
  • Be inquisitive, ask lots of questions
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

6. Logical (Mathematical)

The Logical-mathematical type of learning style refers to someone’s ability to solve problems and learn using numbers and abstract visual information.

Those who learn best with this type of learning are typically good at reasoning, identifying patterns, and logically and methodically analysing problems.

Generally, logical thinkers will become mathematicians, statisticians, engineers, or scientists.

They are the type of people who want to understand the reasons why something is like it is.

They will also like playing chess and solving puzzles.

Key Characteristics of Logical Learners

  • Excel at problem-solving
  • Like doing scientific experiments
  • Can solve complex puzzles
  • Can group and classify information together
  • Be extremely methodical
  • Create workflows for future use
  • Enjoy statistical study as opposed to writing

Strengths

  • Analysing problems
  • Mathematical equations

Strategies For Learning

  • Perform lots of problem-solving tasks
  • Work things out on your own
  • Interpreting abstract visual information
  • Critical thinking exercises
  • Evaluating statistics and facts
  • Provide statistical evidence to back up your claims
Photo by Antoine Dautry on Unsplash

7. Solitary (Intrapersonal)

Solitary learners are those who prefer to learn alone.

They are typically more private and independent and can concentrate better when there are no distractions.

Individuals who are strong in intrapersonal intelligence are generally very aware of their own emotional state and feelings.

They will enjoy self-reflection, assessing their personal strengths, and enjoy looking back at their success or accomplishments.

Key Characteristics of Learning

  • Able to analyse their own strengths and weaknesses
  • Are very self-aware
  • Have a strong grasp of their own motivation and feelings
  • Like to set goals
  • Will generally write in a journal
  • Struggle in larger crowds and loud rooms

Strengths

  • Introspection
  • Self Reflection

Strategies For Learning

  • Participate in individual problem-solving exercises
  • Read textbooks and other materials
  • Will like to track progress
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Will identify areas for improvement
Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

8. Naturalistic

Naturalistic is the newest addition to Gardner’s theory.

This type of learning is associated with people who are more in tune with nature.

They will use natural elements and patterns to help them solve problems and create products.

Naturalistic learners will be more interested in nurturing, exploring the environment, and learning about other types of species of plants and animals.

They are generally extremely aware of small subtle changes to their environments.

Characteristics Of Naturalistic Learning

  • Can categorise information easily
  • Like exploring outside
  • Will notice very subtle changes in their environment
  • Like to go camping, hiking and walking
  • Interested in subjects such as botany and biology
  • Will not enjoy topics that aren’t related to nature

Strengths

  • Exploring Patterns
  • Relationships to nature

Learning Strategies

  • Will like trying different experiments
  • Linking activities in daily life to nature
  • Enjoy working from real-life case studies
  • Like to group similar things together
Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

To Sum Up

We all learn in different ways.

Play to your strengths.

You will now be aware of what type of learner you are and what works best for you.

I would love to hear what types of learning styles work best for you and how you approach it.

Drop a comment below to let me know.


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