July 28, 2023
11 min read
If you don’t know what type of learner you are yet, today’s a great day to find out.
Many people overlook learning styles, especially once they’ve finished school. But knowing what type of learner you are can completely transform not only your professional life, but your personal life, too.
We’ll give you the rundown on the four most common types of learners, how they each absorb information best, and help you find out which type you are.
Whether or not you realize, there are four main types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading and writing. These different types refer to how people process and understand information best.
So for example, one person might learn best by listening to the information presented where another person would struggle to understand just by listening.
What type of learner you are can depend on many things. Factors like your cognitive ability, the environment, and even your emotions can affect what type of learner you become.
That being said, no one type of learner is “better” than the other; these are just learning styles that help the individual get the most out of the information they receive.
The VARK model is a way to conceptualize types of learners for people to better understand how to optimize their learning. VARK is an acronym for the types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic.
For students, using a model like VARK emphasizes the importance of processing and retaining information in ways that make sense for the individual student. Using such a model can actually boost a student’s academic confidence which can be a classroom game changer.
Still, the VARK model can be applied outside of educational institutions and into other areas, such as a person’s professional and personal lives.
It’s important to know what type of learner or learning style you use because it can completely transform your professional (and personal) life. Here’s why.
People learn and absorb information in different ways. That being said, what works for one person might not work at all for another. If you’re not sure what type of learner you are, you could be inadvertently struggling to understand a concept that you could more easily understand through your learning style.
Knowing what type of learner you are can help you not only absorb the information, but also to process, understand, and remember the information.
As mentioned earlier, there are four main types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Each type of learner carries different meanings for people, but being able to recognize which type of learner you are can make a world of difference.
Let’s take a closer look at these four types of learners.
If you’re a visual learner, you prefer to learn through visualization. In other words, you take in information better when you can visually see it. It’s also called the “spatial” learning style.
Visual learners thrive when working with information in the form of shapes or patterns and visual aids.
For example, for visual types of learners, they may benefit from getting information from visual elements like:
If observing and seeing the information is right up your alley, you’re probably a visual learner. Learning through sight is a really common way to understand data, facts, and other types of information.
An auditory type of learner does best when they can hear information spoken aloud. Auditory learners also benefit by speaking and talking through information.
Examples of things that benefit auditory learners include things like:
Learning better through hearing information or subject matter is also pretty common. This type includes using your own voice to reinforce what you’ve learned or heard.
If you’re an auditory learner, you might like things like reading materials out loud, talking and explaining things verbally, and asking lots of questions.
Kinesthetic learners thrive when they can absorb information through “tactile” experiences — AKA, touch. That’s why they’re also known as tactile learners.
If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you learn best by doing or experiencing things. Kinesthetic learners understand information by using their hands to physically touch something or even by acting out concepts.
Even though this type sounds a bit complex, understanding complex is easier for kinesthetic learners when they can physically sense things.
Some types of learners prefer taking in information through reading and writing. For this type, words are the key. This type is actually pretty similar to visual learners given that people who prefer reading and writing are also experiencing the information visually.
Reading and writing learners do best with they process information by doing things like:
Yes! You can absolutely be more than one type of learner, and most people are. However, there’s usually one predominant type of learner that comes through more than the rest.
For example, you might be a reading and writing type of learner mostly, but you also appreciate experiencing things through touch.
If you’re a student, knowing what type of learner you are is exceptionally helpful. Students often take in more information on a daily basis than anyone else and optimizing this by using your learning style is ideal.
Here are a few tips and tricks for how to thrive at school based on your specific learning style.
If you’re a visual learner, you might find yourself taking notes (or doodling) during class. To best learn at school — no matter if you’re in high school or at university — you need to be able to visualize things.
Using smartboards or whiteboards in particular is a great way to take in information when you’re studying or trying to understand a concept.
When you’re studying, try learning the information with tactics like:
If you find yourself struggling to understand and remember information during a lecture, try using an AI speech coach like Yoodli. With this tool, you can upload a recording of the lecture and get an automatic transcript to see what the professor said, word-for-word, and when.
Unlike similar tools, Yoodli is completely free for anyone to use. You can also use Yoodli to improve your own speech, as Yoodli can analyze any video with you speaking and provide you with a plethora of metrics. These include things like filler word usage (including which ones you use), speaking pace, body language, and even word choice.
Yoodli is perfect for visual learners who attend lectures, as visual learners also need time to process the information after seeing it.
For auditory learners, being able to hear the information is what’s most important.
If you’re an auditory learner, you might thrive in lecture settings, are able to to explain things well, and like reading aloud to yourself when you’re studying. Still, don’t be surprised if you’re a slower reader — most auditory learners typically read slower than other types of learners.
To take advantage of this learning style in school, you could try things like:
Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn through touch or other tactite experiences. Physically doing an action solidifies the information for people who learn through this style.
If you’re a student who’s a kinesthetic learner, you might find that you have trouble sitting still and are drawn to doing physical activity, like sports.
Kinesthetic learners can benefit at school from doing things like:
One of the easiest ways to trigger kinesthetic learning is to move while you obtain information. So for example, if you’re trying to memorize formulas, moving around while doing so can help you remember them faster. Pacing back and forth while you take in information and different concepts will help you process what you’re learning.
If you’re a kinesthetic learner, remember: It’s helpful for people with this learning type to take lots of breaks during study sessions to keep their brain refreshed.
If you learn best through reading and writing, chances are, you usually score highly when you have written assignments, short answer questions, and papers or reports.
The traditional education system tends to be based around people who do well in these areas, which makes this type one of the easiest to leverage for school.
Ways to excel at school when you’re a reading and writer learner include doing things like:
For example, if you’re a reading and writing learner working with more visual information — like charts, diagrams, or graphs — it might help to grab a notebook and describe these visual elements in words.
Although the type of learner you are doesn’t change when you’re at work, the way you can use your learning style to your advantage does.
For those in the workforce, check out these tips for types of learners in a professional space.
Depending on your industry, visual learners at work can look very different. If you can, try to use lots of pictures, infographics, diagrams, and charts to visualize the information necessary. Almost all industries use some type of visuals, but this type of learner can utilize visual aids at any time — not just during presentations.
One good tip for visual learners at work is to experiment with color-coding. If you work with spreadsheets for example, color-coding can act as a powerful tool to sort and clarify information. It can also help you recognize patterns within your work.
For auditory learners, work might (literally) sound a little different. Background noise can be important to this type of learner and as such, implementing sound while you’re working can boost your productivity.
For example, instead of working at your desk in silence, grab some headphones and listen to music. If you don’t like to listen to music while you work, try other sounds like ambient noise. This can also help you concentrate better as an auditory learner.
You might think tactile experiences might be harder to accommodate at work, but actually, kinesthetic learners have lots of potential strategies to help improve their work life.
For example, lots of job training is given in a “hands on” style. Many workplaces also use experiments and simulations for things like product testing or for simply trying out a new way of doing things.
Some offices even have standing desks or treadmills where you can work while moving. This is a great tool for kinesthetic learners.
Reading and writing learning is pretty easy to accommodate at work. Doing things like taking notes during meetings, making to-do lists, and reading materials to help you understand projects are all very doable.
You can also take advantage of Yoodli at work. When you’re a reading and writing learner, retaining information from visual, online meetings can be difficult. But with Yoodli, you can get real-time nudges and reminders during the meeting (without anyone else seeing).
For example, by using Private Yoodli, you’ll get gentle reminders to keep the meeting on track and remember what you want to say, when you want to say it. As mentioned above, using Yoodli also provides you with a full transcript that you can read and review later.
If you want to figure out what type of learner you are, there are tons of great resources that can help you identify which type you are.
One such resource is EducationPlanner. This site allows you to take a test that identifies which type of learner you are by analyzing your responses to questions.
Similarly, Arden University has a quick 10-question quiz to help you figure out which type you might be.
Usually, figuring out which type of learner you are takes less than 20 minutes.
Knowing what type of learner you are is only half the battle. It’s important to figure out how to use your learning style to your advantage.
Whether it’s using Yoodli to transcribe meetings at work to accommodate your reading and writing style, or drawing diagrams of what you’ve learned in school, knowing your style can completely change your life.
Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.