"The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust.



What Type of Learner are you?

Think about yourself and also your friends, family members and teachers. Notice the way these people might prefer to learn and communicate.

We all have preferences for how we like information to be presented:

Some like to see what you mean .....

Some like to hear your idea .....

Some like to experience or feel what you are talking about ....

Similarly, we also have preferences for the way we evaluate and analyse information:

Some decide by how things look to them ......

Some decide by how things sound to them ......

Some decide by how things feel to them ......

Your personal learning style is a key to improved performance on the job, in training, and in interpersonal situations. When you're aware of how you and others perceive and process information, you can make learning and communication easier by working with your own style.

Trainers, teachers and educators are realising that every person has an optimum way of learning new information. They understand that some students need to be taught in ways that vary from standard teaching methods. If these pupils are taught in the standard way, they are less likely to comprehend what's being presented. Knowing these different learning styles or preferences has helped teachers everywhere reach all or nearly all of their students simply by presenting information in several different ways.

A person's learning style is a combination of how they perceive, then organise and process information.

When you're familiar with your learning style, you can take important steps to help yourself learn faster and more easily. Plus, learning how to decipher the learning styles of others, like your boss, colleagues, teacher, spouse, parents, and children, can help you strengthen your rapport with them.

To decipher the essence of your learning style the first step is to identify your preferred modality - whether you prefer visual, auditory, or kinesthetic modality (V-A-K). As these terms suggest, visual people learn through what they see, auditory learners from what they hear, and kinesthetic learners from movement and touching. Although each of us learns in all three of these modalities to some degree, most people prefer one over the other two.

Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic?

Do you often catch yourself saying things like "That looks right to me," or "I get the picture"? Or are you more likely to say "That sounds right to me," or "That rings a bell"? Expressions like these may be clues to your preferred modality.

If you couldn't see or hear, or if you couldn't feel texture, shape, temperature, weight, or resistance in the environments, you would literally have no way of learning. Most of us learn in many ways, yet we usually favour one modality over the others. Many people don't realise they are favouring one way, because nothing external tells them they're any different from anyone else. Knowing that there are differences goes a long way toward explaining things like why we have problems understanding and communicating with some people and not with others, and why we handle some situations more easily than others.

How do you discover your own preferred modality? One simple way is to listen for clues in your speech, as in the expressions above. Another way is to notice your behaviour when you attend a seminar or workshop. Do you seem to get more from reading the handout or from listening to the presenter? Auditory people prefer listening to the material and sometimes get lost if they try to take notes on the subject during the presentation. Visual people prefer to read the handouts and look at the illustrations the presenter puts on the board. They also take excellent notes. Kinesthetic learners do best with "hands on" activities and group interaction.

The following characteristics will help you zero in on your best learning modality.

Visual Preference

  • are neat and orderly
  • speak quickly
  • are good long-range planners and organisers
  • are observant of environmental detail
  • are appearance-oriented in both dress and presentation
  • are good spellers and can actually see the words in their minds
  • remember what was seen, rather than heard
  • memorise by visual association
  • usually are not distracted by noise
  • have trouble remembering verbal instructions unless they are written down and often ask people to repeat themselves
  • are strong, fast readers
  • would rather read than be read to
  • need an overall view and purpose and are cautious until mentally clear about an issue or project
  • doodle during phone conversations and staff meetings
  • forget to relay verbal messages to others
  • often answer questions with a simple yes or no
  • would rather do a demonstration than make a speech
  • like art more than music
  • often know what to say but can't think of the right words
  • sometimes tune out when they mean to pay attention

Auditory Preference

  • talk to themselves while working
  • are easily distracted by noise
  • move their lips and pronounce the words as they read
  • enjoy reading aloud and listening
  • can repeat back and mimic tone pitch and timbre
  • find writing difficult, but are better at telling
  • speak in rhythmic patterns
  • are frequently eloquent speakers
  • like music more than art
  • learn by listening, and remember what was discussed rather than seen
  • are talkative, love discussion, and go into lengthy descriptions
  • have problems with projects that involve visualisation, such as cutting pieces that fit together
  • can spell better out loud than in writing

Kinaesthetic Preference

  • speak slowly
  • respond to physical rewards
  • touch people to get their attention
  • stand close when talking to someone
  • are physically oriented and move a lot
  • have early large-muscle development
  • learn by manipulating and doing
  • memorise by walking and seeing
  • use a finger as a pointer when reading
  • gesture a lot
  • can't sit still for long periods of time
  • can't remember geography unless they've actually been there
  • use action words
  • like plot-oriented books - they reflect action with body movement as they read
  • may have messy handwriting
  • want to act things out
  • like involved games

It's easy to decipher the modalities of other people in your life by noticing what words they use when they are communicating. These words are called predicates, or "process words." When a situation is perceived in someone's mind, it's processed in whatever modality the person prefers; the words and phrases the person uses to describe it reflect that person's personal modality.

Once you identify a person's predicates, you can make it a point to match their language when you speak to them. Besides using process words that the person can relate to, you can also match the speed at which they talk. Visual speak quickly, auditories at a medium speed, and kinesthetics more slowly.

Matching your modality to another's is a great way to create rapport and an atmosphere of understanding.

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