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What Learning Style Are You?

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but found that something in the way the grammar was taught just didn’t work for you? Or perhaps you find yourself revising for an exam, but the images on those flashcards everyone else is using refuse to stick in your brain?

You’re not alone in feeling confused - for thousands of years, humans have been debating over the best way to learn. From Roman philosophers to Renaissance humanists, all sorts of potential skills and social influences have been explored to try to figure out why some people seem to be fundamentally better at learning and retaining new information.



Nowadays, one of the most popular theories on learning styles is the VARK theory (Visual, Auditory, Reading and Kinesthetic), which divides people into four categories according to their strongest skills. Developed by Neil Fleming in 1987, it’s been used by educational establishments and employers throughout the world to help people understand and improve their learning methods.

Another key aspect to learning which compliments the VARK learning styles is the idea that humans either learn better in social situations with other people (known as Social or Interpersonal Learning) or alone (known as Solitary or Intrapersonal Learning). While claiming to be a Solitary Learner may not necessary get you out of group presentations, knowing which of the two you are will make a difference to how you retain new information, and also how stimulating you find learning in general.

Check out our guide to the four major learning styles, and pick up some tips on how to make the most of the style which is best for you!

Visual Learning

Visual learners are most able to retain information when they see it, whether that’s written down, on a chart, in a video, or via a diagram. They find it much easier to remember images they have seen than recall something they’ve been told.

Signs this is you:

  • Do you find yourself remembering information better if you physically see it?
  • Are you aware of aesthetics around you?
  • Do you often visualise information to help you learn?
  • Can you easily recall faces, photographs or paintings when asked?



Tips for learning:

Try sketching out the information your need to remember with a flow chart, mind-map or a diagram. These will help you make connections between ideas and concepts, while also helping you visually learn the image. Flashcards and infographics can also be very helpful to you. 

Auditory Learning

Also known as aural or auditory-musical learning, people who learn best in this style will find themselves most able to remember things that they hear - whether it’s through a discussion with other people, during a lecture or from a presentation.

Signs this is you:

  • Do you find it easy to remember things said in a classroom or lecture environment?
  • Do you find that you can remember information from presentations without needing detailed notes?
  • Are you good at accurately pronouncing words in foreign languages after hearing them, or mimicking accents?



Tips for learning:

Repetition is a great learning technique for Auditory Learners, as they will find themselves retaining information much quicker by repeating multiple times, particularly if this is in the form of explaining what they’re learning to other people. They also benefit from using mnemonics, and from taping information then playing it back. 

Reading (Verbal) Learning

Also known as linguistic learning, Reading Learners find it easy to pick up facts just by reading book and absorbing the knowledge as they go along. Writing helps them to process new information, and they are likely to have done well in school environments.

Signs this is you:

  • Do you enjoy reading as a hobby?
  • Are you the kind of person to take detailed notes during lectures and presentations?
  • Do you like to make lists?



Tips for learning:

The best way for Reading Learners to memorise information is to write it out multiple times, in different ways and rewording key principals for more thorough understandings. If you’re planning to use flashcards, organise your information into bite-sized statements that you can easily retain. 

Kinesthetic (Tactile) Learning

Kinesthetic Learners have a much more hands-on approach to learning than other learners, favouring movement and action over and ruminating. They will memorise something by either physically doing it themselves, or creating something to help them understand the topic.

Signs this is you:

  • Can you easily find your way back to somewhere you’ve been, despite not knowing the street names?
  • Do you prefer to put concepts into your own words when taking notes rather than repeating exactly what has been said?
  • Do you find yourself frequently questioning the reasoning and relevance behind actions and theories?



Tips for learning:

Action is the best method for Kinesthetic Learners, whether this is by applied activities such as creating music, cooking, participating in sports or painting, or turning the information they need to know into a report. Try to apply real-life experiences or situations to a problem, and you might find that the answer comes much more easily.