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Version 3f

Home > Resources > Learning Styles

Learning Styles

I. Introduction

A. We are unique individuals
B. We Assume our way is the best way for others
C. Do what works for you and take charge of your learning

II. Environmental Preferences

A. Where to Study

1. Desk People
2. Floor People

B. When to Study

1. Morning People ("Early Bird")
2. Night People (Night Owls")

III. Modalities (How you remember)

There are three common learning styles, Visual Learning Style (the most common), Auditory Learning Style and (Kinesthetic (Tactile) Learning Style. Identifying the learning style that best suits you is an important part of developing effective studying.

A. Visual Learning Style (60%)

Individuals that learn best when ideas or subjects are presented in a visual format, whether that is written language, pictures, diagrams or videos are visual learners. Visual learners usually learn best when the teacher provides written study notes, writes on the chalkboard and uses an overhead projector to explain concepts. Visual learners frequently take detailed notes in class, when studying from a textbook or listening to lectures. They also create diagrams and use pictures to understand and remember concepts and ideas. If this sounds like you then you are probably a visual learner – many people are.

B. Auditory Learning Style (25%)

If you learn best by participating in class discussion, by listening to your teacher lecture, listening to audio tapes or by listening to other language formats then you are probably an Auditory Learner. Auditory Learners, unlike Visual Learners, are able to learn, understand and retain information better when they hear it rather than see it.

McDonald's Commercials

C. Kinesthetic (Tactile) Learning Style (15%)

Tactile Learners, also commonly referred to as Kinesthetic Learners, are hand-on learners. They learn best when they are able to physically participate directly in what they are required to learn or understand. Tactile learners usually excel when they are able to handle something in order to learn about it. Tactile learners may do especially well in classes where lab work is required. Unlike Visual Learners that learn by seeing and Auditory Learners that learn by hearing, Tactile Learners learn by touching and feeling.

IV. Thinking Styles

A. Perceptions (How you take in the information) The way in which we view the works

1. Analytical ("Sees the Trees")
2. Global ("Sees the Forest")

Information Map (charts and lists) - helps analytical
Global Map - helps a global person

Concrete vs Abstract

B. Ordering (How you Organize Information) The way we organize the information we perceive

1. Sequential (Lists person)
2. Random (Multitasking - Just get it done)

V. I've identified my dominant learning style, now what do I do?

A. Take charge of your learning. Do what works for you.
B. Realize that your teachers have different styles

So why is identifying and understanding your learning style so critical to your study preparation? By knowing how you learn best you can select those classes, teachers, subjects, majors and ultimate careers that appeal to your unique way of learning things.

Additional Resources

Are you a right brain or left brain person?

Right side of the brain processes from whole to parts, holistically. It starts with the answer. It sees the big picture first, not the details.

Left side of the brain processes information in a linear manner. It processes from part to whole. It takes pieces, lines them up, and arranges them in a logical order; then it draws conclusions.

Left brain Right Brain Test:


This animation is an optical illusion, made of 34 frames. Depending on the perception or frame of mind of the viewer, the dancer will spin either in anti-clockwise or clockwise direction, and some people are also able to make her change direction at will. If you cannot do it, go here - before you loose your mind. This animation has been blogged and commented upon widely, it seems to make peoples’ heads spin too. Most reports state that whether you see her turning clockwise or anticlockwise indicates a right or left brain dominance, however this is contested in the New Scientist. The image simply does not provide enough information for the brain, so it just fills in the rest, as with other optical illusions. However, they don't give an answer to why many people seem to have difficulties seeing it one way or the other. As John McCrone states here in this overview of research about brain lateralisation, very little about the brain is ever straightforward.

Content developed for the the SOS Workshop: Learning Styles by Colette Higgins with additional material added by SOS Coordinator.

Colette Higgins Web Site:

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