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The three common types of learners
by cynefin November 3rd 2018, 01:34 PM

The three common types of learners
By Cassie (cynefin)

Whether youíre in middle school, high school, or beyond, learning and retaining the information youíve learned can feel difficult, if not impossible at times in your school career. You learn a lot of new material and it can be hard for your brain to file it all away for future reference. This article is going to discuss the different types of learners and their characteristics. It will also have you ask yourself questions about the way you learn, and give some studying tips for each learner.

Though there may be more types of learners, there are a few main types. The common types of learners are visual, auditory, or tactile. Some learners also find that they are a combination of the three. Discovering what type of learner you are can help you study in a way that works best for you. There are different models of learning preferences. This particular one helped increase society's awareness of these preferences. David Kolb, a University Professor, is the one who began looking at learning styles; he did not create this model, however [source].

Visual learners absorb information by watching. These learners typically enjoy sitting in the front of the classroom so they have a good view of the board and the teacher. Some visual learners have a photographic memory in conjunction to information on the board which helps them recall the material at a later time. These learners tend to be heavy note takers.

Auditory learners do best by listening. They may be able to record their professorís lecture and use that to study. These learners can often pay attention to their instructor without taking notes and have the ability to store the lecture's information in their minds for later.

Tactile learners adapt to new information through hands-on activity. They may struggle in a classroom where they have to sit, listen, and take notes. Many tactile learners can be easily mistaken for having an attention problem or learning disability; some are thought to be trouble makers because they have difficulty sitting still. Tactile learners usually enjoy any type of experiment or movement; they like to work with their hands.

When discovering what type of a learner you are, you may benefit from asking yourself a few different questions such as:
  • How are you with directions? Do you prefer to listen to them, read them, or do you struggle with them?
  • What kind of hobbies are you into? For instance, do you prefer reading, listening to music, or doing something crafty?
  • What school setting are you most comfortable with? Would you rather read about a topic, listen about that same topic, or get out of your typical setting by taking a field trip to a place that is relevant to the topic?
  • In what ways do you typically study? What techniques work for you? What techniques are unsuccessful?

If most of your answers included characteristics of a visual, auditory, or tactile learner you may benefit from using study techniques that are specific for each learner. If you are a combination or two or even all three, it may help for you to assess yourself to find the most successful ways you learn and retain what you have learned.

If you are a visual learner, you may achieve success through taking notes. You can take notes in class and then use them to later stimulate your sight. For instance, you can highlight them, rewrite them in different colors, or use flashcards to study from. You can also watch informative videos and annotate notes from your textbook into your own words to refer to later.

If you are an auditory learner, you could best absorb information by recording and listening to your teacherís lecture if that is allowed. You could also listen to podcasts, or have a friend or family member relay the same information you are learning back to you so you can listen to it a few more times. You could even talk out loud and listen to the way you sound when talking about the material you are learning, or record your voice and listen to it later.

If you are a tactile learner, you may benefit from doing things. For example, you could find practice problems or questions and do them on your own to test yourself. You could watch interactive videos and then safely try or reenact what the video depicts. You could also work on crafty projects such as a diorama or a poster board related to the material you are learning; doing so could give you an opportunity to absorb information while doing something fun.

Do note that different study techniques work for different people regardless of what type of learner they are; this is just a general guide. It is something you can try if you are looking to understand yourself and improve your study skills while youíre at it. When choosing study techniques, you should choose what you find most helpful to you.
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