Learning styles can be defined as various methodologies or means of learning. Three major learning ways include auditory, visual, and tactile. Different people processes, integrate, and retain new knowledge in diverse ways. Thus, it is meaningful for every individual to know and understand their learning styles. Understanding personal learning styles assist in building ways to cover for one’s weaknesses. This paper offers an analysis of the three learning styles and evaluates how these learning styles influence one’s education.
Types of learning styles
Auditory learners process and acquire new information via listening. The category of students using this technique learns through hearing and listening to verbal lectures, debates, conversations, and audio devices. Learners can synthesize the latent meanings of lectures via listening to the pitch, tempo, and tone. If they have to learn from written information, these learners tend to read text aloud. Auditory learners need a serene environment, and mostly they sit at the front of the class to enhance hearing the speech (Akram, 2014).
Visual learners process and accumulate new information by seeing the instructor’s gestures and facial expressions. Learning can also entail seeing pictures or visual demonstrations. It is through seeing that visual learners get to connect what they see with what they hear in a bid to comprehend the content of the study. Documentaries and novels rich in imagery can be of great benefit to visual learners. Visual learners often try to visualize when recalling something.
Tactile learners gain knowledge through conduct and doing. The process and learn things through touching. This group of learners opts to make conduct, create, adjust, or make drawings of what they study. These students benefit much if a physical event is induced. These students like the hands-on approach, actively engaging in taking things apart and assembling. They tend to trace texts with their figure, underline words in sentences or use computers while studying to increase the conduct and movement.
Similarities and differences between learning styles
Visual learning entails taking keen observations to illustrations rather than enjoying discussions and listening as is the case in auditory learning. Visual learners often stay quiet to visualize and remember things, unlike auditory learners who hum and talk to themselves when learning. Both auditory and visual learning needs students to sit in positions where they can hear and see respectively. Contrary, tactile learners need to move around, keep on changing positions, and often take breaks.
Having read and understood various learning styles, I have concluded that I am a visual learner. I often benefit from the teacher’s body language, and it is easy to read facial expressions to understand the content. I also like sitting in a position where I can see the lecturer well. Furthermore, learning is a self-initiative that incorporates the teacher as a guide.
How learning styles affect education
Understanding how individuals learn forms the basis for effective teaching and learning. How one learns translates to how one undertakes duties, solves problems, and formulates decisions. According to Akram, (2014) the more aware an individual is about own learning styles facilitate optimizing their strengths and eliminating their weaknesses. When a student encounters difficulty with processing and retaining specific skills, it is advisable to try an alternative learning style. When one is aware of his/her learning style, it becomes easy to integrate it in the process of gaining new skills and knowledge. Consequently, students can learn fast and improve performance.
According to the behaviorist’s approach, people learn from what they can see and observe. Students can see how their lecturers behave and react. From their actions, learners can make logical deductions. Skinner, one of the behaviorists’ theorists argued that the learning process is influenced by a stimulus that builds after an act is done. Skinner defined these stimuli as ‘reinforcers’. Thus offering visual reinforcements in learning could shape understanding in a preferred way (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2009). Teachers widely adopt Skinner’s work and induce visual reinforcements as a way of directing and motivating student learning and behavior. The role of the educator is to facilitate an environment that elicits favorable feedback from the students.
According to the humanistic orientation theory pioneered by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, learning is viewed as a form of self-actualization (Pashler et al., 2009). This self-actualization creates a sense of accomplishment for learners. Students and teachers should learn that to establish one’s learning style. Additionally, one has to ensure personal involvement because such styles are self-initiated even when motivation comes from around. For instance, adult learners can only be motivated to learn new knowledge but cannot be forced. According to Rodgers, learning styles are evaluated by the learner and if s/he feels the style is not meeting expectations it is important to change.
Constructivist theorists claim that learning entails developing meanings from what is observed, heard, or experienced. This theory advocates that physical activity can be incorporated into learning though not sufficient without sensory input. This assumption implies that visionary, auditory and tactile learning styles are intertwined only that different people learn best when they figure out the one that meets their needs appropriately. Social cognitive theories share the relatively same view as behaviorists’ approach that people learn through observation, visualization, and imitation in a bid to retain or remember events (Seng, 2014).
Developing adult education and training
It is fundamental to understand learning styles when developing adult education and training because adults have fully developed cognitive abilities. Furthermore, adults are not like children whose teachers dictate the information that circulates in a classroom. Adults have accumulated life experience that can be used to bolster their learning. Malcolm Knowles, a researcher of adult learning, introduced the term andragogy to differentiate learning beliefs and assumptions of adults and children’s learning styles (Pashler et al., 2009). Andragogy indicates self-control, initiative, and solution-oriented activities.
Adults are purpose-driven and often learn when they can see how they will benefit from the study (Ravenscroft, 2012). Adults like being involved in the decision-making process and learning new information based on their values and experience. While most adults can process information using any of the three styles, every adult has one that they prefer. Educating adult learners need to introduce presentations to cover all these styles to ensure participants’ needs are catered. The instructor must motivate the adults to learn. Reinforcements and practice are necessary aspects of progressive adult education. Most adults like illustrations such as videotapes and powerpoint presentations that relate to their life or skill.
It is fundamental for every student to understand their intrinsic abilities to process and retain new skills and information. Students who are not sure about their learning styles can benefit from the many recent studies on learning styles and see which models match their characters. Instructors can also assist students to realize the styles that match their needs. This will not only facilitate learning but also promote self-esteem and confidence among students.
Akram, H. (2014). Learning Styles and their Relation to Teaching Styles. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2(3), 241.
Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2009). Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119.
Ravenscroft, A. (2012). 21st Century learning for 21st century skills. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Seng, E. (2014). Investigating Teachers’ Views of Student-Centered Learning Approach. International Education Studies, 7(7), 143-48.