The Definitive Guide to the 4 Different Learning Styles

Learning how to approach any learning process is not something most people actively think about. The vast majority of people typically stick with learning styles that they are most experienced in, although many learn later in life that adaptations (and sharp-left turns) are sometimes necessary, as the older ways aren’t necessarily lending themselves to our benefit all the time.

Today we’ll talk about the 4 types of learning styles, their main characteristics, and ultimately, which types of people could benefit the most by approaching them, so let’s start from the top:

1. Reading & Writing learners

Although reading and writing could be separated into two separate learning styles, writing actually ‘absorbs’ reading while reading complements writing better than any other style. These are essentially two parts of a whole that are more synchronous than any variation of conventional learning methods.

Reading has for the longest time been considered as the ultimate learning tool, to the extent that it’s to this day a default learning mechanism taught at most schools in parallel to writing.

Readers memorize bits and pieces of information through written words while further cementing this newfound knowledge by re-writing what they’ve just read. Students who either exclusively write or read are usually not as efficient at accurately conveying recently acquired knowledge as students who practice both.

The main drawback of this learning style is that it’s arguably more time-consuming than others. Even the fastest readers and writers would take considerably longer to memorize lessons than kinesthetic, auditory, and especially visual learners.

However, the reinforcing aspect of writing what’s been read adds another layer of confidence to students who approach this learning style, allowing them to freely convey any idea through their own words, or even definitions when needed.

People who value thorough research and are on the opposite end of the spectrum from ‘lazy campaign students’ are ideal practitioners of this learning style. Obviously, students who value practicality and creativeness typically swim towards other learning styles.

2. Visual learners

Non-visual learners are often baffled by the ability visual learners have to memorize in great detail the things they saw once. The truth is, visual learners aren’t synonymous with ‘photographic learners’, who are essentially naturally gifted masters of this learning style; although there aren’t that many of them in the world.

Unlike reading & writing learners who ‘build’ their knowledge bases upon small bits of information, visual learners tend to observe the big picture first, and only after would they break it down and address the details.

It is believed that the mind of a visual learner is more responsive to patterns that only they are able to understand. Reading & writing learners sometimes give certain words unique associations and symbolic meanings; visual learners tend to do a similar thing to diagrams, maps, and graphs.

Without requiring words to describe a particular event or situation, visual learners are capable of ‘producing’ short films in their heads that are meant to achieve similar results much faster (and more creatively).

Additionally, visual learners tend to learn by searching for connections and links between different bits of information.

These relationships do not necessarily have to exist; it’s enough if the learner believes that a connection ties two separate chunks of information. They learn fast, but they can also be trapped by their own constructs, which means that they may end up needing more time to unlearn what they’ve learned improperly.

3. Kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners tend to approach new experiences and information through the sense of touch. They would recreate historical scenarios with toy soldiers, math problems with an abacus, and such. It’s safe to say that the kinesthetic learners value practicality and a more grounded approach to learning, even more so than writing & reading learners.

With a firm grip on reality, as well as a tendency to improvise examples when none are available for a particular situation, these learners also tend to be a bit more resourceful than practitioners of styles that need more specific learning platforms and tools.

The main drawback of this learning style is obviously a dependency on tactile sources of experience. Kinesthetic learners thrive at homeschooling, but they’re late-bloomers at best in conventional schooling situations with more traditional teachers.

On a more positive note, the resourcefulness of kinesthetic learners follows them through their life, and their practical approach to solving problems often helps them learn crucial life skills faster than most.

4. Auditory learners

Auditory learners acquire information and study by listening to spoken-word and recordings. While visual learners are methodical on-the-spot learners who prefer thinking things through as they’re faced with new information, auditory learners prefer are more analytical and tend to compartmentalize newfound knowledge.

When they are unable to listen to teachers, classes, or any other sources of audio information, they would speak aloud and listen to themselves. People who become aware of these affinities earlier on can become as resourceful as kinesthetic learners, becoming adaptable and less reliant on external listening tools.

Just as they are good listeners, learners who feel comfortable with this approach are also good talkers and enjoy sharing ideas and discussing challenges with friends and fellow classmates. For example, if the class is in recess, they would rather inquire about the things they aren’t certain of than hit the books and search for relevant information.

Auditory listeners have, according to several studies, a unique benefit of being able to learn as they sleep. With a pair of headphones around their ears and a pre-recorded material in their smartphones, they reinforce their knowledge and organize information pieces without investing any actual effort.

There are a few drawbacks to this learning style, though. First and foremost, auditory listeners are easily distracted in noisy environments and are reluctant to study if their earphones aren’t functioning.

Secondly, they are typically not as amazed by grandiose college halls where thousands of students are talking as the lessons are taking place. Fortunately, most colleges offer recorded classes on their websites.

We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new today on the four learning styles. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!