What’s your learning style?

Are you a visual, auditory or tactile learner? Figuring out your learning style is one of the best ways to optimise your study habits.

14 Sep 2015

Everyone learns differently. Some of us need to write things down; some need to hear instructions out loud, and some of us can’t figure something out until we’ve had a chance to actually do it with our own hands. There’s no right or wrong way to learn, but if you can figure out your learning style and use it to your advantage, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Visual learner

visual learner
Visual learners + coloured post-its = true love

You are all about reading and seeing. You process information best by picturing what you’re learning in your head, and by looking at pictures and diagrams. When you are trying to remember something, there’s a chance you close your eyes and visualise the situation. You’re probably easily distracted by loud noises, and if you don’t have something to look at, you become bored. You must have loved those days at school when the teacher wheeled the TV into the classroom.

Techniques to maximise your learning powers

  • Sit at the front of the classroom so you are less likely to be distracted by other people’s activity
  • Make your own study flashcards
  • Colour code different sets of information
  • Try to visualise where you were and who you were with when you learnt about something. It will help you recall the details.

Auditory learner

auditory learner
Auditory learners + headphones = match made in heaven

You learn best by hearing and listening. You store information by the way it sounds, and you follow instruction better if you hear them, rather than read them. You take information in best if you read it aloud to yourself, or have other people read it to you. You are great at processing information that you hear, even in a noisy room. When you hear songs you know, you sing or hum along, and you probably learnt all the lyrics before all your friends.

How to nail your study style

  • Record your classes or lectures, and play them back when you’re studying
  • Have a friend ask you test questions out loud
  • Put your study notes to a melody and sing them to yourself
  • Sit with a classmate or family member and explain the concepts you’re learning to them.

Tactile (or kinaesthetic) learner

tactile learners
Tactile learners + hands on practice = genius

You learn by touching and doing. You find it frustrating sitting in a classroom, listening to someone explain concepts, or having to write extensive notes. The best way for you to learn something is to just start doing it, and practicing until you have it down pat. You need to be active, take frequent breaks, and it’s important that you know not just how something works, but why. When you drive, you remember the route, but possibly not the street names and landmarks. You probably got in trouble for dismantling radios when you were a kid. You just wanted to know how it worked, right?

How tactiles get tactical

  • Do lots of hands-on activities that involve touching, building or moving
  • It might drive your visual and auditory-learner friends nuts, but move around while you study, or act out concepts
  • Just jump in and give something a go, you’ll figure it out a lot quicker than by reading notes
  • Learn new material while doing something active, like reading a textbook on the treadmill.

Most people are a mix of the above, but one style usually resonates more. Figure it out, and nail your study.


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