What is your Learning Style?


If you are thinking about taking on an Online course, be it a Nationally Recognised qualification like a Cert IV or Diploma or even a short course designed to teach you a specific implementable skill set; it makes sense to know how you learn best. It’s easy to blame ‘online’ as the reason you struggled with your course, but think about it – if you never went to a lecture, how would your face-to-face study have turned out?

In any Adult Education scenario you are likely balancing home, family, kids/school and just having a life. But, studying efficiently can help you make the most of your study time. Everyone learns differently and understanding how you retain information can cut down on your study time and potentially increase your chances for academic success. According to the VARK Learning style classification system – Learning styles are classified into 4 categories: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic or Tactile learning.

Discover some of the basic characteristics and study tips for each learning style.

1. Visual learning

Visual learners learn best by sight. Maps, diagrams, graphs and other visual aids help these learners understand and retain ideas and concepts. Here are a few study strategies for visual learners:

  1. Take thorough notes in class or while reading. Review your notes when preparing for a quiz or exam and use a highlighter to help you focus on important information.
  2. Create outlines for each textbook chapter you cover in class.
  3. Make color-coded flashcards for material you need to remember.
  4. Develop your own diagrams, flowcharts, maps or timelines when appropriate. For example, you might create a timeline when preparing for a history exam or a flowchart if you are trying to learn a scientific process.
  5. Visual learners are individuals who prefer to take in their information visually—be that with maps, graphs, diagrams, charts, and others. However, they don’t necessarily respond well to photos or videos, rather needing their information using different visual aids such as patterns and shapes. The best way to present to visual learners is by showing them the relationship between different ideas visually. For instance, when explaining a scientific process, it can be done by using a flow chart

2.   Auditory learning

Auditory learners process information best by listening. These learners find it easiest to remember information they’ve heard on a recording or in class.

Here are a few tips for auditory learners:

  1. Record your trainer’s lectures so you can replay the recording when you’re studying. Be sure you ask for permission to record. If you can’t get permission, record yourself reciting your notes from class.
  2. Make flashcards to review aloud.
  3. Find a study partner or group so you can recite information you need to remember.
  4. Repeat information you’ve memorised aloud with your eyes closed. Eliminating visual distractions can help you focus on the information you are reciting.
  5. Auditory learners are individuals who learn better when they take in information in auditory form when it is heard or spoken. They are prone to sorting their ideas after speaking, rather than thinking ideas through before. Since, to them, saying things out loud helps them understand the concept.
  6. Auditory learners learn best when information is presented to them via strategies that involve talking, such as lectures and group discussions. They can benefit from repeating back the lessons, having recordings of the lectures, group activities which require classmates explaining ideas, etc.

3.   Tactile or Kinaesthetic learning

Tactile learners, also called Kinaesthetic learners, learn by doing and tend to have a secondary learning style. Some of the auditory and visual study tips may also help these learners retain information.

Additional study tips for tactile learners include the following:

  1. Copy important notes repeatedly. The act of writing information repetitively can help you remember it.
  2. When memorising material, pace or walk around the room as you recite the material aloud.
  3. Keep something flexible in your hand as you study, such as a stress ball to squeeze or use a pen to tap a rhythm.
  4. Study in short intervals. Take breaks, get up and move around.
  5. List examples in your notes of how you can apply what you’re learning to your life.
  6. Physically practice concepts, if you can. For example, if you are studying communications, practice the verbal techniques you are studying with a partner. If you are taking a computer application course, use the software in addition to reading about how it works.
  7. Listen to music while studying.

Kinaesthetic learners are individuals who prefer to learn by doing. They enjoy a hands-on experience. They are usually more in touch with reality and more connected to it, which is why they require using tactile experience to understand something better. The best way to present new information to a Kinaesthetic learner is through personal experience, practice, examples, or simulations. For instance, they can remember an experiment by recreating it themselves.

4.   Reading & Writing

Reading/Writing learners consume information best when it’s in words, whether that’s by writing it down or reading it. To them, text is more powerful than any kind of visual or auditory representation of an idea. These individuals usually perform very well on written assignments. There are different ways to get a reading/writing learner to engage and understand a certain lesson. For instance, it would be best to have them describe charts and diagrams by written statements, take written quizzes on the topics, or give them written assignments.

How Do Students Learn Best?

Given that everyone has a unique learning method, it would be wrong to say that a specific learning style is the best way to go. However, understanding your own style of learning is very important to your studies. Since the way someone best consumes information can be a deciding factor in their academic success, understanding what kind of learner they are is vital. You can do this by trying all four methods of learning, and then decide which one helps you remember best. Once you know what kind of style fits you, you can tailor your studies to fit your needs.

There are many factors that affect how someone learns best, including the environment, cognitive and emotional factors. However, understanding your learning style can help you learn more easily. According to the VARK system, there are four types of learning styles—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing.

We hope this article helped you understand in which category you fall into.

Most importantly, remember why you decided to pursue online learning. Get back in touch with that motivation so it can fuel you through the entire course.


The Australian Institute of Finance Training offers online self-paced courses in Business, Entrepreneurship and Accounting. Targeted at students looking to enter the bookkeeping industry, start or scale their own business and those looking to simply upskill. We have a suite of targeted Nationally Recognised qualifications alongside specific skill based ‘how to’ style short courses where you can learn practical skills for everyday use.

For more information please contact us on (07) 3556 3831 or via email on [email protected]