Seven Perceptual Learning Styles
learners like to observe people and situations.
A visual learner often has to see something, not just hear it,
to learn. Slides,
pictures, demonstrations, graphs, tables, and overhead transparencies
are useful ways of helping these people learn best.
Research indicates that most people in their twenties and over
the age of fifty use this perceptual style as their primary way of
Learners learn best when verbalizing their thoughts and
discussions, lively question-and-answer sessions, and debates are
techniques that engage this type of learner.
People over the age of fifty ranked this style of learning as
second in terms of preference, and younger learners ranked it as
third. Programs which
place an emphasis on small-group learning are very successful.
Learners learn best through their sense of touch.
They need to feel objects or to touch as many things as
possible to learn something about them.
By touching an object, these people often are able to form a
visual image of it. “Hands
on” experience is essential for them to learn.
People who combine haptic and visual elements of perception
learn best through demonstrations that are followed by hands-on
Learners learn best by listening.
In fact, unless they combine this way of taking in information
with an interactive mode, these learners often are annoyed by
interruptions to a lecture. In
general, aural learners like to listen carefully, rarely speak out
during a lecture, and easily remember what they hear.
People who listen to audiotapes of popular speakers or books
are probably aural learners.
Learners need to move in order to learn. You might find such people fidgeting, knitting,
doodling, or wood carving during a lecture.
Instead of distracting them, movement actually helps this type
of person to concentrate. When
they speak, kinesthetically oriented people often use hand motions to
describe what they are saying. This
kind of learner would probably volunteer to take part in a
role-playing activity because it involves movement.
Learners often learn best by reading and writing.
Reading books, magazines, or journal articles helps these
learners to easily retain information.
When print types attend a lecture, you often find them jotting
down notes. Being able to see and record what they hear helps them
focus and learn better.
Learners use their sense of smell or taste to learn.
These are the people who associate what they learn with
particular smells or tastes. They might walk into a room and smell an odor that
immediately reminds them of a past learning experience.
Recent research on the brain indicates that smell originates in
the most primitive part of the brain and is, therefore, a powerful
reminder of people or past events.
Wawyne B., and Galbraith, Michael W. "Perceptual Learning Styles:
Implications and Techniques for the Practioner." Lifelong Learning,
Learning Style Descriptors
at taking risks
others for ideas
“What can this become?”
things from many angles
at generating ideas
“Why? Why not?
facts to build ideas
at making decisions
a single, correct answer
working with things
“How does it work?”
to know what experts think observer
working with data
“What is it?”
David A. Learning Style Inventory. McBer and Company: Boston,