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Learner Types

Eileen Rosewater

mount st. mary's university campus

Everyone learns differently and at their own pace; people with learning disabilities are a tremendous example of this. Unfortunately, some parents, teachers, guidance counselors, etc. do not always take the time to figure out how each student learns best. This is not just an issue for kids with learning disabilities, but for all kids. 

There are three types of ways in which a student can learn best. I cannot stress enough that every child is different and there is no order in which any of them learn. A quick Google search can help you access all the information you need on the different types of learners. According to the Teach a Class Foundation, the three types are

  1. Visual Learners
  2. Auditory Learners
  3. Kinesthetic Learners

Visual learners learn best by being seeing and/or reading. These individuals benefit the most from visual aids when learning new information. Some examples of visual aids include charts, diagrams, maps, pictures, etc. 

Auditory learners learn best through listening. These students often excel in classes that are lecture-based. Listening to a professor lecture on a subject is the best way for that auditory learners to retain information. Another example of auditory learning is music. Auditory learners are most likely able to memorize song lyrics, by simply listening to a song multiple times. 

Kinesthetic learners learn best by getting on-hands experience. Some examples of this are labs, field trips, skits, props, etc. Being able to physically move their body and touch things help kinesthetic learners make better sense of what they are being taught. Kinesthetic learners are most likely very active individuals who take part in sports, clubs, theatre, or crafts.

Sometimes people can fit into more than one category for different subjects. For example, I took a test in high school to determine what kind of learner I was. My results suggested that I was mainly an auditory learner. However, in my chemistry class, I discovered that I was more of a visual learner. I needed to write each equation on a whiteboard and be able to study each individual part of it in order to find the answer. 

The moral of the story is to not lock yourself inside one box and feel like you have to stay there. I thought that because my test results said I was an auditory learner that auditory learning tools were the only tools I could use. But when I realized how much I was struggling to keep up in my chemistry class, I decided to explore other ways of studying, and I figured out that sometimes I can be a visual learner as well. 

I hope this post encourages someone to explore how they learn best and not be afraid to try new study techniques with various subjects. And if you're a Mount student reading this blog, Learning Services is there specifically to help students with learning disabilities succeed. It's important to take advantage of the resources that are provided to you now.

Eileen Rosewater