Blog Article

The six types of learning and how to find your own?

Did you know that we all have our best learning mode? While we all have different memory types - like an auditive or a visual, each of us excels in one certain type of learning only. With the ever-increasing demand for knowledge and development in the workplace, understanding how we learn is more important than ever. By making space in your organization for multiple learning avenues including listening, speaking, reading writing and doing processes – every employee can reach their full potential. So, what are these different learning methods we need to be aware of? Let’s explore them together!

November 7, 2023
Tina Ruseva

Have you ever had a sudden epiphany about something in the middle of a fiery debate? That’s the power of learning by talking. It can be as simple as having a chat with a friend or colleague over coffee.

Or have you ever only truly understood a subject by listening to a podcast?

Or, like me, you might be the type of person that simply learns best when writing?

For many of us, learning is a mix of listening to lectures, watching videos, or the classic - reading through books. But there are more ways of learning, though.

Winston Churchill famously used to “write himself into clarity.” He was known for his long and detailed letters, which he wrote in order to really get a grasp of the topics he was trying to understand. He believed that the act of writing allowed him to think more deeply about any subject.

Peter Drucker, the man frequently referred to as “the father of modern management” was a big believer in learning by talking. He would often practice what he called “thinking out loud”; engaging in conversations and dialogues with those around him to help deepen his understanding of various topics.

That's right! We are all different. Those are just a few famous examples that not only do we learn in different ways, but that each of us has our very own individual learning type. Let's see if you can identify your own?

1. Learning by talking

If you are the type of person who loves to debate and discuss complex topics with others, then you might be the "learning by talking" type.

Learning by talking through a subject has many benefits for learning, development, and growth. "Thinking aloud" is a powerful way to explore, understand and master a subject for anybody. Talking can help to make sense of the abstract by connecting it to our memories and subconscious that could broaden our view on certain topics. Through talking about a subject, one can also discover blind spots, missing pieces of information, or different perspectives. Moreover, talkers are able to connect with others while socializing and discussing new ideas in an environment that fosters positive relationships and communication.

Plato and Socrates are some of the most famous examples of "learning by talking". Plato once asked Socrates a question during one of their conversations. To Plato's surprise, Socrates responded by asking Plato a different question in return. The Greek philosophers called this type of learning "The Socratic Method". In this method, you ask a series of questions on various topics in order to help students think through and come to their own conclusions. This dialogue was seen as an effective way of teaching because it allowed individuals to explore different perspectives and ideas.

2. Learning by writing

If you find that writing about a subject helps you to better understand it, then you are probably what is known as a "learning by writing".

Writing can be an effective way of learning because it allows us to process information more deeply and digest ideas more quickly. It works because it requires us to focus on a given subject and break it down into smaller pieces in order to understand the whole.

When we write, our brains naturally make connections as words are laid down on paper in a syntax. As we move through the writing process, these connections become more meaningful and organized. Furthermore, writing helps us remember more easily because it creates a physical record of what our minds have processed.

A key benefit of being a writing learner is that you don't need to be surrounded by others or have someone explain something to you.

Albert Einstein and Bill Gates belong to the "learning by writing" type. One of Einstein's most famous quotes is from a letter written to his son and states, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". He explained how imagination helps us to explore and understand the world around us - something that certainly supports the idea of learning through writing.

3. Learning by Doing

If you are the type of person who needs to do something in order to understand it, then you might be a "learning through doing" learner.

Doing is one of the best ways to learn because it requires us to actively engage in a task or project. Doing gives us an opportunity to use the material we have consumed, such as rhetorical skills, mathematical formulas, theories and more. By doing something related to a certain subject, we are able to apply what we know and create a deeper understanding of the topics at hand.

Steve Jobs was famously a learning through doing learner. He believed that the best way to master something was to actually do it - whether this was designing products, coding software, or managing teams.

Elon Musk is also a learning through doing learner. He designed parts of his Tesla cars himself in order to better understand how they worked and how he could improve them. It is said that when Elon Musk was in college, he tried to learn more about physical engineering by not just reading books or taking classes on the topic, but instead building stuff, like his own rockets. He actually built a mini-rocket that went 1 mile high in the sky!

4. Learning by listening

Another way to learn is by listening.

Listening to lectures, soundtracks, or audio recordings can be an effective way of learning. This explains the trend of podcasts and audio recordings for learning.

Listening learners would often retain information longer than other learners because auditory memory is one of the most effective ways of remembering. Listening also provides a great opportunity for reflection. In addition, this method can be used to develop critical thinking skills.

Oprah Winfrey is one of the world's most successful learning by listening learners, having built a career on her ability to listen to those around her. As she has said, “The reason why I'm successful is because I actually listen.” Another famous personality who best learns through listening is Barack Obama.

5. Learning by reading

Reading is often seen as the gateway to knowledge, offering insight into a variety of topics and providing an entry point to foreign worlds.

This notion has been around since ancient times, when books were first created and mostly the only source of knowledge. There’s nothing like snuggling up with a good book and getting lost in the pages. While reading may not be everyone's cup of tea, it teaches us valuable lessons, such as how to focus our attention, comprehend complex topics, and break down large ideas into small chunks of information.

Famous people who learn best through reading are J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. J.K Rowling famously re-reads her Harry Potter series every year. She says she does it to, "reconnect with the story and the characters." By reading these books over and over, Rowling is able to gain an even better understanding of the themes, ideas, and characters that she crafted in these beloved novels.

6. Learning by connecting

Learning isn't just about reading, writing, listening and speaking. It's also about connecting with others, understanding social relationships and experiencing different leadership styles. When we open ourselves to these forms of learning, whether through respectful discourse with colleagues or mindful conversations with friends and family, we set ourselves up for maximum success by unlocking the hidden potential within social relationships. Together, we can critically think through ideas and come up with innovative solutions that nobody thought was possible before. Learning by connecting can truly be an empowering experience!

Warren Buffet is known for his ability to connect with people and learn from their experiences. He has frequently said that one of the most important aspects of being successful is having a strong network and building relationships with those that have knowledge he doesn't possess.

To sum it all up

By being open to and understanding of different learning styles, we can create an environment that is conducive to learning, creativity and innovation. We are more likely to be successful if we pay attention to the unique ways in which people learn and use them creatively. Each person has the potential to learn through a variety of methods, but learn fastest and best through one of them. Knowing what works for you is key to unlocking your potential and helping you reach your goals.

The easiest way to find it is to take a standard assessment to determine if you are a visual, auditive, or kinesthetic learner, for example. The assessments typically involve a series of questions that measure your preferences. Questions may relate to how you like to learn, what type of environment is best for you, and your ability to remember information. The most popular assessments are the VARK (visual-auditory-reading-kinaesthetic) and Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory. You can find plenty of free online versions of these type of assessments if you search for them.

The best way to explore your best learning mode is to try out all different styles and see which one works best for you. Or have you done it already?

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