What is a learning style?

What is a learning style?

Humans are capable of acquiring knowledge. Some grasp more concepts, ideas, knowledge and skills than others and each of us learns differently, via various methods.

what is a learning style - pic

So what is a learning style?

Most of would understand that learning consists of watching, listening and physically practising. Learning something can involve one, two, or all three of these methods.

We can watch by reading and absorb new facts from a book or a video. We can also learn new things by listening to a teacher or to a CD or the radio.

We can learn to juggle by watching, listening and then putting the techniques into practice. One person might not need much instruction or practice to become proficient, while others may need more time on one or more of the different aspects. After all, every one of us can learn only at our maximum speed, and we are all different.

Seven learning styles

The conventional wisdom among education experts is that these three methods can be broken down into seven different learning styles.

  1. Visual: where a person learns from looking at and studying pictures, diagrams, colors, and mind maps.
  2. Aural: where a person listens and learns rhythms, music, lyrics, poetry and rhymes.
  3. Physical: where a person uses his/her body and perhaps a physical object to assist in their learning.
  4. Verbal: where a person learns by recital.
  5. Logical: where a person uses logic and established formulae to uncover a solution to a problem or a trick.

The final two on the list involve situations rather than use of a particular style.

  • Social: where a person interacts with other people and learns from working with others.
  • Solitary: where a person learns alone without the distraction of other people.

Our eyes and ears are important senses in learning, but what about the other senses?

Touch? An animal or an infant will soon learn by touching a hot or extremely cold object that it might be wise to avoid doing so again.

Taste? I’m sure we all learn from tasting different foods and that guides our future choices of eating and drinking.

Smell? Any expert wine-taster will tell you that he or she will know a wine and its age and origins by nosing it and that the subsequent taste merely backs up the assumption. Of all the senses, smell seems to have the longest memory. For my part, every so often I will sniff something that makes me recall a particular (but not necessarily special) moment of my childhood. Plastic book covers and rum are two that can in some cases take me back instantly.

Each what is a learning style - L platesof us employs a combination of learning styles and some work better than others.  The trick is finding out what works best for you in any situation. How are you going to study for that next test? Or what will you do to prepare for a challenging hurdles race?

The good news is that we humans, at least, have a number of arrows in our learning quiver, and by using them all, we can expand our capacity to learn. More learning usually eventuates in more earning.

Learning should be a lifelong experience.


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What do you think? How do you learn? Please let me know a learning style that suits you?


  1. I realized that my learning style is solitude, visual, logical, and smell.
    It is a wonder how smell improves my memory of something that I have read or experience. That’s why I try to incorporate different smell for different topics of studying.

    • Thanks Arief. Noses are wonderful devices, particularly when directly linked to the brain.

  2. Cheers for the info! I must admit that i learn a lot by listening but also doing!. I think taking action is such a big part of learning. Don’t be afraid to fail, I say. It also raises questions about the schooling system. My mother is a teacher and we have had loads of talks about different learning styles and we both think that the schooling system doesn’t allow for each individual student’s needs.

    • Jonathan, I agree re schooling. It’s a bit of a production line, and the strongest might flourish. However, our real education begins post-school, I feel, when we can follow those dreams and passions a little more and learn what we want to rather than what we have to in oder that we pass exams. Thanks for your comment. Keep learning!

  3. A great post Mike. I thought I would add my two cents here.

    The best way that I have learned a new skill, either at home or a team work is to actually do it. For example, I wanted to learn to juggle. But I couldn’t see how I could throw the second ball after the first. After many attempts of physically doing this I learned how to juggle two or three balls.

    The same technique I applied to my workplace. I work in a factory and so I learned all about the new machinery by being hands on.

    • Thanks Owain
      With physical activities, you can read, watch or listen a lot, but nothing beats the doing. There are many things we can learn how to do but until we try them, we won’t know if we can do them ourselves. The basic ability, through repetition, then leads to proficiency. We hope!

  4. I am a preschool teacher so I know all about the importance of finding how each student learns! I am definitely a visual learner. Thanks for the post!

    • More power to you. Educating our young is a vital undertaking.

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