Understanding Learning Styles


Your learning style is the way you acquire information.  Students learn faster and retain more when information is presented to them in their learning styles of choice.  Most people have a dominant learning style, but they can still learn when information is presented in another learning style.  Teachers should present information in ways that appeal to all learning styles, but they may not always have the time to do so.  When you know what your student’s learning style is, you can tailor information so that they can understand and process it better.  Too bad Common Core standards have not really embraced learning styles in the design and implementation of the teaching goals and materials.

The Seven Learning Styles

  1. Verbal (linguistic): Verbal students prefer using words to communicate, both in speech and writing. They like to read and take notes.
  2. Physical (kinesthetic): These students prefer using their body, hands and sense of touch. They enjoy learning that is action-based like science experiments, making projects and working with their hands.
  3. Visual (spatial): Spacially-oriented students prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. They work well when information is presented in graphs, pie charts, infographics, pictures or video.
  4. Aural (auditory-musical): These students prefer using sound and music. They like listening to lectures or talks.
  5. Solitary (intrapersonal): These are independent learners who prefer to work alone and use self-study.
  6. Logical (mathematical): These students prefer using logic, reasoning and systems. They are great with math and science.
  7. Social (interpersonal): Social students prefer to learn in groups or with other people. They love organizing study groups and collaborative projects.

Consult your Teachers and Tutors

Ask your teacher or tutor to help to determine your student’s dominant learning styles. Most students use a combination of styles to assimilate information. While they will have a dominant style, it’s important to remember that styles are dynamic. That means that with practice, your student can adjust to any style of learning.

Once you know what your student’s preferred learning style is, you can teach them to arrange material to suit their style. For example, if your student prefers a visual learning style, organize information that they need to understand into graphs, infographics, mind maps and pictures. Let them watch videos on the subject and allow them to create videos and visually-oriented presentations for their projects. Presenting information in their learning style will help them to understand and remember.

Your tutor can help to teach your students how to arrange information into a more favorable format and how to tailor study skills to suit different subjects. Ask your tutor to give a brief test to determine learning style preferences.

Here are some resources for finding out your learning style online. Most of these resources are short tests which help you to see which learning style suits your student best. Do two or three to get a better idea of the learning styles that your student prefers:

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 3/31/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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