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Using Your Learning Strengths and Styles


Know What Learning Styles Are

What do you do when you have to learn something new? You probably approach the task in a similar fashion each time.Over time you developed a pattern of behavior or a preferred way of learning that you use for processing and receiving new information.This pattern is called a learning style.

While we don't approach every learning task exactly the same way, each of us develops a set of behaviors that we are most comfortable with. The purpose of examining our learning style is to get to know those behavior patterns so that we can see when they are helpful and when they are not.

What are the types of learning styles?

The most common forms for learning styles are classified as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile.

Visual Learners learn through seeing.

These learners need to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads). They may think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flip charts and hand-outs. During a lecture or classroom discussion, visual learners often prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information.

Auditory Learners learn through listening.

student speaking to class


They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners learn through, moving, doing, and touching.

Tactile/Kinesthetic persons learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration.


Use A Multi-Sensory Approach

The identification of our learning strengths is certainly beneficial. At the same time, it is important to remember that applying a multi-sensory approach to learning ensures that information is retained through all our senses. By building different pathways within the brain, information has multiple avenues to retrieve material sought.

Learn with your brain!

See it + Hear it + Say it + Do it = Retention


Find Out about Learning Styles

Knowing Yourself as a Learner You will find excellent information on how knowledge of your learning styles will help you succeed in college. (Bucks County Community College)

Take a Learning Style Survey

woman listening through earphonesMany learning style surveys are available, as you will see if you do a Google search. Listed below are several to choose from.

Note: The learning style categories will change with each survey, so refer to the information that follows for feedback that is consistent with each assessment.

VARK Questionnaire (Neil Fleming)

    • Short and reliable. Results are in terms of Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Multimodals.
    • Read the FAQs before you begin to better understand the approach of the survey. Then click on Questionnaire to discover your learning preferences. It is easiest to print the score sheet from the site.
    • After completing the survey, you will calculate the results. Follow directions carefully.
    • An explanation of your particular learning style and tips for applying this information to your college studies are found under Descriptions.

    Information for auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners can be found at the following sites.

Learning Styles: Learn Effectively by Understanding Your Learning Preferences (Mind Tools) This web site is a bit distracting, but the information includes other types of learners which you may want to look at. Print the handout if the site bothers you.

Photo of a female  student sitting on the grass and reading a bookIndex of Learning Styles This on-line instrument is used to assess preferences on four dimensions (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global). (North Carolina State University)

Read the introductory information, check out the FAQs, the click on ILS questionnaire. To interpret your assessment results, click on Descriptions of the learning styles.

Paragon Learning Style Inventory A 48-item self-administered survey that provides a very reliable indication of learning style and cognitive preference. It uses the four Jungian dimensions (i.e., introversion/ extroversion, intuition/sensation, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving). (CSULA and State University of New York at Oswego)

    • Click on Take the PLSI. Follow the directions carefully. Upon completion, click on Your Score.

    • For interpretation of your results, click on Descriptions.

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences This is not a survey. You will find information about multiple intelligences, an important theory that impacts education today. From reading the descriptions, you will be able to determine your strengths, that is, your different forms of intelligence.

Kingdomality Not all learning surveys take a serious approach. Try this one to find out your medieval vocational personality! There are only eight questions to answer. And it's fun!



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This site was created and is maintained by Barbara J. Speidel, SWC Academic Success Center Coordinator. @ Barbara J. Speidel

The ASC logo was created by Andrew C. Rempt. @ Andrew C. Rempt
Southwestern College