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Do you use sight, sound, or touch to explore and understand the world around you? Answering this is a very important part of getting to know yourself and working with yourself, rather than against yourself in life. Luckily, you can take our quick quiz to find out what your superpower is:
Life really is a journey. We are always taking in information, making sense of it all, and learning how to do new things – and that’s where your learning style really comes into play.
What are learning styles?
‘Learning styles’ is what those in education and psychology use to describe how you take in new information through your senses, sort and understand this information, then retain it. There are three main learning styles: auditory (sound), visual (sight) and kinesthetic (touch).
For example, if you want to learn how to build a website, you will either find it easiest to read a book on how to do this, hear others tell you how to do this in a class or in videos, or jump right in and figure it out yourself as you go along and build it.
You probably have one main learning style, but you might use others along the way. This means that you won’t use one style all the time, every time. You might try to build the website yourself but choose to watch videos or read manuals to help you get the job done.
Three learning styles
There are three main learning styles:
If your ears are your superpower
If your ears are your superpower then you are most likely an auditory learner.
You love talking about things and discussing pros and cons. You show your emotions through your voice – the volume and tone say it all.
You find sounds distracting when you try to concentrate on something.
You probably speak to yourself often and make lip movements when you read. You tend to remember names and easily forget faces.
You learn and work best when hearing things said out loud.
If your eyes are your superpower
If your eyes are your superpower then you are most likely a visual learner.
You love pictures, maps and colorful organizers. You like to look around you and take in your surroundings, and you become quiet and annoyed when you have to listen to someone talk a lot. You show your emotions through your facial expressions – you stare when angry and give a big smile when happy.
You think in pictures and details, organizing your ideas by writing them down. You love highlighters, symbols and abbreviations. You also love daydreaming and have a lively imagination. You tend to remember faces and forget names easily.
You learn and work best by taking notes and seeing words and pictures.
If touch is your superpower
If touch is your superpower then you are most likely a kinesthetic learner.
You are hands-on and love using real-life examples, doing experiments, and drawing pictures or showing photographs to get your ideas across. You use your hands a lot when talking. Your body gives away your emotions – a relaxed body says you’re happy and a tense body shows your anger or stress.
You love trying new things. If you see something interesting in a store, you will touch it or try to use. You lose interest in long chats and stand quite close when talking to people.
You remember what you’ve done rather than what you’ve heard or seen.
You learn and work best by being directly involved with what you need to concentrate on.
How can learning styles help you?
Knowing your preferred learning style is very valuable! It can help you:
Learn how to handle conflicts better
If you know how you react when angry, you can learn skills to help you resolve fights and express your feelings.
Being a visual person, I go quiet when I’m very angry. Knowing this, I can work on saying things that are difficult and find healthy ways to cope with these emotions, rather than bottling them up.
Understand others in your life
Knowing the learning style of others will help you understand them better and have better relationships with them. You will be bale to explain things to them in a way that they will understand, and you will understand why they do what they do.
If someone you work with likes to move around when they brainstorm ideas then they have a kinesthetic style, and you know that this is how they express their ideas. Give them space and move around with them to get them motivated to carry on.
Choose how to learn new things
Maybe you want to change careers or learn something new.
If you’re a visual learner then it’s best to buy a book on the subject and do online research. If you’re auditory then you need to hear instructions, so attend classes or sign up for a podcast or video series on the topic. You’re a kinesthetic learner? Okay, then you need to get involved and explore the material yourself.
If you apply your preferred learning style then you are more likely to understand and retain the information, and you will be more motivated to do it!
Decide on a career that works for you
Knowing your learning style will help you choose a career that suits your style. A kinesthetic person will probably not be very happy sitting behind a computer reading all day, like Christine who runs a stable yard. Jacqui, on the other hand, is a visual person who loves to write, so she is happiest working with words and not with horses.
Choose a career that works with your style and gives you the freedom to express it, then try to find an office that does the same.
Set up your home and life to make yourself happy
If you are visual use colors and pretty systems to organize things in your home. Use a paper diary to plan your days. Don’t spend too much time with big talkers and take time out to recharge when you need to.
If you are an auditory person then use low-maintenance organizing systems. Keep away from distracting noises at home and at the office. Make lots of time to get out and speak to people.
If you are a kinesthetic person, make your home easy to move around without too many objects or things in the way. Sign up for activities that are physical or allow you to take part.
Come up with ideas and solve problems
If you need to come up with ideas or solve a problem, work with your style rather than against it. Brainstorm ideas if you’re visual, listen to podcasts if you’re auditory, and go out and try new things if your kinesthetic. All of these will get your creative juices flowing.
Want more? Here’s a great article on how to practically apply your learning style in many areas of your life, from how to organize your space and which vacations to take, to how to manage your finances and how to be productive at work.
Your learning style may change
Using your learning style will give you the motivation and energy to be creative and grow in life. It is your responsibility to find a way to use your style and make the most of what you can achieve.
You will change as you grow older and have different experiences, and so your learning style may change. Take responsibility for changing with it and enjoy the journey along the way.