What are the seven styles of learning?

If you sat down to eat the same meal every night of the week, you’d soon lose your appetite.

Learning is just the same. If every lesson and assignment was carried out in exactly the same way, students would soon lose their appetite to learn. (And teachers would probably lose their appetite to teach, too!)

Variety, change, new combinations – these qualities are a vital part of any regular activity, and learning is no exception. In fact, contemporary teaching has even identified and codified the seven key ways that people learn.

Knowing these can help any professional to structure their teaching to ensure it’s varied and constantly inspiring. Here’s our handy guide to what the seven styles are. Each has an ‘everyday’ tag (which we’ve shown first), and then a slightly more technical term.

1  Visual (spatial learning)

Students who enjoy visual learning are those who find pictures, images, movies and so on a good way to absorb information. Similarly, they may find techniques such as creating diagrams, using colours and drawing mind maps a useful way to express and organize their ideas. With much digital content taking a visual form, this is an essential part of contemporary learning techniques.

2  Physical (kinesthetic learning)

All about “learning by doing”, this style involves practical interaction. It could be a scientific experiment, or role-playing. In some senses, even activities like writing and drawing are physical learning techniques.

3  Aural (auditory learning)

More than just ‘listening’, this means instances when students employ rhythms, music, recordings and so on to help them learn. Podcasts is one example of how digital techniques can deliver this.

4  Verbal (linguistic learning)

A verbal learner enjoys using words, both when speaking and writing. They make the most of word-based techniques, such as scripting and reading content aloud. Allowing students to record video blogs and so on is one great way to apply verbal learning to the digital classroom.

5  Logical (mathematical learning)

Embraces the indispensable skill of using reasoning to explain or understand concepts. Students who thrive through logical learning like to use systems, procedures, lists and so on to learn. One thing to look out for is any unwillingness to change or ‘do things differently’ – over-reliance on logical learning behaviours can lead to this.

6  Social (interpersonal learning)

As the label implies, this kind of learning is all about groups, interactions, discussions and more. Many digital platforms, such as IT Worx WinjiGo, now enable social learning to take place virtually, in new and rich ways.

7  Solitary (intrapersonal learning)

The converse to social learning, this is when a student prefers to learn by his- or herself, using personal goal setting and interests to shape and drive their learning. Many advanced and adult education course now use self-study, delivered digitally and supported by other methods, to empower solitary learning.

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