Different Learning Styles


Learning, as we know, is the process of receiving an input and applying it later. It is greatly determined by heredity. Listed below are the three basic learning styles −

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Emotional

Visual learners

Visual Learners

Visual learners find it easy to learn using visual aids. They store information by seeing. Visual aids are most important in presentations and training because they find it easy and effective to learn from diagrams rather than listening to audio or verbal instructions. These prefer to receive information visually. They like to get information in written form.

A visual person would like to read an email or see a fax of something before taking any decision, no matter how articulately you explain things to him. They will tend to use sentences that will have a lot of visual words like “I don’t see a lot of profit here”, “Look, I wanted things to be this way”, “Did you see what he said?" etc. They enjoy reading, watching TV, writing stuff and playing intellectual games.

Auditory Learners

On the other hand, the auditory learners find it easy to just listen and follow up instructions. The most frequently used comment would be “The manual is too long to read, please tell me which applications are to be used.”

Auditory Learners.jpg

Auditory Learners like to ask for information in speech. Instead of reading a book, they would like to listen to audio book where the lines will be narrated to them. If you send them even a brief mail, they would most likely respond somewhat like “Yeah, I got the mail, however couldn’t get the time to go through it. Could we talk about it now?”

Auditory Learners use auditory sentences like “I don’t like the sound of that.”, “The plan sounds great.” They like listening and humming, sometimes unconsciously, and love listening to music. They enjoy word games and having conversations.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic Learners would want to meet you in person before taking any decision. They would use words that are predominantly related to touch, feel and presence. Their sentences would sound like “This is a touchy issue.”, “This doesn’t feel right”

They like to hold things while talking. Even if they are complimenting the color of your dress, they might reach out and touch your dress. They enjoy sports and dancing. The emotional learner tries to relate every information he/she receives and retains with emotions and feelings.

Feelings play an important role when it comes to emotional learners, they retain and retrieve information in relation to feelings or emotions. They believe in actions and applications and strengthen their learning by doing so. The typical response would be ’Okay, I’ve seen or heard what you want me to do, now let me try it”.

They prefer applying it rather than listening or seeing it, for them application is important. In this case, good supervisors will combine visual, verbal and emotional methods to give a misunderstanding free effort and follow up. If you ever come across an employee who seems to be in his own world or “preoccupied”, the best strategy would be presenting the information in variety of ways.

People do cross over from one style to another but researchers say that we stay in our own comfort zone 70% of the times. So identifying and adapting to someone's primary style can help you break the ice quicker with them and build a rapport.

Take a moment. Which style do you usually prefer while communicating with your fellow employees? Which adaption technique do you use while receiving information so that the other employees understand with a different learning style?

Overall, understanding diversity is about feeling comfortable in an interrelated society and providing optimal output in an interdependent workplace that is a representation of the different demographics of the world.

Know Learning Style of your Team-mates

When working with team-mates with different learning tendencies, it’s important to know the learning preferences of each one of them. Communicating with them in a manner they like to receive information could not only make them more responsive but also productive.

This worksheet is designed to give a clear indication of a person’s learning preference. Answer the questions to the best of your ability.

S.I Statements YES NO
1. I prefer watching a video to reading.
2. When I sing, I know the words to the songs
3. I have athletic ability.
4. I can picture the setting of a story I am reading.
5. I study better with music in the background.
6. I enjoy hands-on learning.
7. I’d rather play sports than watch someone play them.
8. Reading aloud helps me remember.
9. I prefer watching someone perform a task before I do.
10. I color-coordinate my clothes.
11. I’m good at rhyming and rapping.
12. Use phrases like: “I’m up against the wall,”
13. I look at something many times before I understand it.
14. I prefer receiving oral directions than written ones.
15. I have difficulty being still for long periods of time.
16. I use phrases like “That looks good.”
17. I’m good at figuring out how something works.
18. I can understand a taped lecture.
Questions that are visual in nature 1, 4, 9, 10, 13, 16
Questions that are auditory in nature 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 18
Questions that are kinesthetic in nature 3, 6, 7, 12, 15, 17

Compare all your “Yes” responses with the chart given above. Depending on the type of learning that question fits into, write the corresponding question number under suitable headings in the table.

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic
Total Total Total

The box with the maximum number of question numbers in it will determine your dominant learning style. If someone doesn’t find a clear dominant style emerging, there’s nothing to be worried about. He could be a versatile individual!