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All individuals learn and absorb new material in different ways. They are most effective when they are taught in their personal learning style.
There are three major types of learners:
Visual learners are people who generally think in terms of pictures. They often prefer to see things written down in a handout, text or on the overhead. They find maps, graphs, charts, and other visual learning tools to be extremely effective. They remember things best by seeing something written.
Auditory learners are those people who learn best by listening. They typically like to learn through lectures, discussions, and reading aloud. They remember best through hearing or saying items aloud.
Tactile or Kinesthetic learners, are those who learn best through touching, feeling, and experiencing that which they are trying to learn. They remember best by writing or physically manipulating the information.
Learning Style Assessments
As with everything in life there are many tests available to help you discover your best learning style. Generally speaking, if you are somebody who is more likely to think in pictures, prefer to meet with someone in person, and are more likely to want visual diagrams when completing a task you have tendencies towards visual learning. Likewise, if you are more likely to think in terms of sounds, prefer to speak on the phone with someone, and want verbal instructions then you have a propensity towards auditory learning.
Finally, if you are more likely to think in terms of moving images like mini-movies in your mind and tend to jump right into a task without reading directions or you tend towards tactile or kinesthetic learning.
Problems with Learning Styles
If a person does not find and adopt his or her best learning style then their ability to learn and most importantly learn quickly can be compromised leading to frustration and in extreme cases total disengagement from the activity of learning.