Matter & Substance
  February 17, 2014

Understanding Learning Styles

Last year, I attended a presentation by Stephanie Shippers on Neuro-Linguistic Programming which provided an insight into various learning styles. At Mowery & Schoenfeld, we spend a great deal of time with our young staff on learning and development. Applying learning style concepts can be very helpful in building rapport through the training process and in general interaction with others.

There are three primary learning styles - visual, auditory and kinesthetic. A person's learning style is established by the time they are two years old and never changes. A very small number of people apply all three learning styles at once.

Visual learners represent approximately 45% of the population. They work best with visual representations such as written text, charts, and graphs. Visual learners think quickly through decisions and answer quickly. They can frequently see the completed product in front of them as they think through a situation. Visual learners like to make lists and check off items as they are accomplished. If they have to bake a cake, they prefer to follow the recipe.

Auditory learners represent about 20% of the population. Auditory learners have an ability to remember exactly what was said and how it was said. They may frequently repeat what someone else has said and ask for clarification. Auditory learners often use auditory language such as "I hear what you mean" and "that sounds good to me." If they have to bake a cake, they would prefer that Grandma explain how it is to be done.

Kinesthetic learners represent 35% of the population. They need to establish how something feels to them. It may take them longer to process something because they need to determine how something sits with them and how it feels to them. Kinesthetic learners may feel pushed if asked to answer quickly. They do best in a hands-on manner or experimentally. If they have to bake a cake, they will taste the batter as they go along.

It is important to understand the various learning styles as you work with others in the workplace. I have applied these concepts and have a much better understanding of how to maximize the potential of all involved.


"Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him." - Booker T. Washington