FOUR Different kinds of learners | Which is you?

in psychology •  9 months ago

On Sunday, I did a THIS IS BS post, debunking a quote that I often see going around WhatsApp/Slack groups for CEOs, business owners and startup founders:

All CEOs are readers

I went on to explain that it's only partial true, because psychologically, there are different preferred modes of processing information.

Since that day, I've gotten a few PMs asking if there are ways to identify someone's learning style, so they can maximise their personal growth.

Today, we're gonna look in-depth into the four different styles of learning, and a quick and dirty way to help you identify which is yours.


In school, I'm pretty sure you have some subjects you preferred, and were better at, than others. It's not always just about the interest for the subject, nor the effectiveness of the teacher. Sometimes, the way the information is being delivered plays a big role too.

Some of you may liked it when the subject has lots of hands-on activities, like experiments, art crafts, or even mathematic calculations.

Then, some of you enjoyed subjects where the teacher was a great storyteller, while another group may complain that she did not provide sufficient handouts!

Most teachers were not aware that when they were teaching, they were essentially talking to four different kinds of students in the class, which is why they usually resort to only one way - their own preferred way.

Yup, sometimes when you "connect" with a teacher or lecturer, it wasn't always about just the personalities, but rather, both of you may share the same mode of processing information.

Most of us inherit the learning methods we learned in school into our adult lives, and if that method was inefficient, chances are, your growth potential will be limited too. I mean, how can you enjoy processing information in a manner that's unnatural to you?

So which is natural to you? Let's have a look.

*Note: These signs are just indications, and not conclusive. You may find you are a bit here and there, which is fine, because over the years, we have become good at learning using multiple senses. The trick is to find the one that is most comfortable to you, and leverage on it.


Well, these are the most common group of learners. They are the ones that can pick up any reading material and consume it with ease. To them, a picture is worth a thousand words, and giving them instruction over the phone is tough; they probably would ask you to meet up instead. They generally enjoy meetings too, because then, they can use their sights and power of observation to study others. And in this meetings? They are usually the smartest dressed in the room!

A few signs that you are a visual learner:

  • You take short breathes, usually at the top of your lungs
  • You speak fast, and sometimes in a higher pitch
  • You like to gesture with your hands
  • When talking to someone, you look at their eyes, and are conscious if they don't look at yours
  • You are easily distracted by visual prompts, flashes of light, people/cars/things passing by etc
  • You use words like look, sight, visualise, watch.
  • You are conscious of details in any environment you go in to
  • You are good with spelling, and when you think of a word, it's first spelt out mentally in your mind's eye
  • You prefer to show rather than tell
  • You like having subtitles in your movies or anything you watch
  • When given instructions, you prefer it to be written down or have the map drawn out, rather than listening to the instructions
  • Flash card/memory cards work really well for you
  • You are good at planning for the future
  • At times you have something you want to say, but you can't seem to find the words to "describe it"

Recommended Learning Tools:

Well, books work super well for you. As a matter of fact, anything that is visually appealing registers easily in your head - infographics, diagrams, charts, illustrations etc. To remember, use mind maps and flash cards, and the more you see something, the more "impressions" you have of it, the more likely you will be able to recall them too.


Next up, the auditory learners. As you would have guessed, they love to process information using their sense of hearing. If this is you, you'll always have an internal "beat" in you, and you may tap your feet, shake your legs or flip a pen to that "rhythm". The beat is evident in your walks too!

A few signs that you are an auditory learner:

  • When trying to spell a word, you would whisper or mouth it
  • You would read out a Steemit title and ask "How does it sound?"
  • As a matter of fact, you like to use words like sounds good, talk soon, and looking forward to hearing from you
  • Can't really stay idle, and your feet or fingers have to move to your beat
  • You enjoy talking and voicing out your opinions
  • You are conscious of someone's tone, pitch, volume and timber
  • You hum songs unconsciously
  • You can pick up even the slightest change in pace or mood in music
  • You are easily distracted by noises
  • You are put at eased with calming music
  • You usually "mouth" your words when you read
  • Because of the internal rhythm, you also speak in rhythm
  • Good at imitations and impersonations (of how someone speaks)
  • You enjoy listening to music (duh)
  • Lengthy discussions are your favourite, because you get to discuss and exchange points and banter
  • You may not notice this, but when you are talking to someone, the more engaging the conversation gets, the more likely you will break eye contact because you want to tilt your head so you can position your ears better.
  • When you're young, like baby young, you probably spoke first before starting to walk

Recommended Learning Tools:

Podcast, radio interviews, audiobooks works really well for you. Check out or They will make great resource for your personal growth, and you're in luck because you are the rare type that can learn on the go (commuting, driving etc)


Hello, action people! These are the people who like to roll-up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and create a learning experience for themselves. Hands-on work, getting-out-of-the-room activities, producing physical handicrafts, and movement are things that excite you, and now, you're gonna know why.

A few signs that you are a kinaesthetic learner:

  • You speak slower then normal people
  • You touch others to get their attention
  • You are also sensitive to the touch of others, and if it's from someone who you do not trust or dislike, you will flinch whenever they approach you
  • But if it's from people you like or trust, you welcome their hug. You may even be the one who initiated it!
  • You can remember places you've been to really well, not because of the visuals or the sounds, but because of the experience
  • You enjoy physical activities. You like to move it, move it.
  • On that note, dancing is your things too. Especially if no one is watching, haha!
  • Sitting still in a classroom for long periods of time will bore you
  • You will pace back and forth when trying to commit something to memory, or trying to "clear your head"
  • If you spoke to your parents about your toddler days, they would probably say you walked first before you uttered your first words.
  • When you're reading, you may have a habit of "pointing", using your finger as a guide
  • You fidget a lot, and probably have a fidget spinner somewhere near by right now
  • You're sensitive to the surfaces of materials
  • You're also sensitive to temperatures and the moisture in the air
  • Because kinaesthetic also involves the sense of taste, you are probably quite sensitive to flavours
  • Like the visual learners, you gesture a lot to when you speak, but usually at a less intense pace
  • You are also sensitive to emotional and mood changes
  • When processing information by listening, your hands will be holding/fidgeting something, or may even be doodling. But unlike the doodling of a visual learner, your "artwork" is usually in rhythmic strokes

Recommended Learning Tools:

It has got to be action. You need to be able to move around your learning environment, so role-plays, simulations, games, activities, even Legos help you make learning "fun"!


Let me ask you a question: do you talk to yourself?

If you're asking yourself "Do I talk to myself? I do, right? Not that often…"

Then yeah, you got your answer. You do talk to yourself. Chances are if you record yourself or have someone observing you, you will realise that you tend to look down to your left (if you're right handed) often. That's when you're talking to yourself.

Auditory Digital is usually a secondary mode of learning, which means you'll probably have one of the three above as your primary.

A few signs that you are an Auditory Digital learner:

  • As mentioned above, you talk to yourself quite a bit.
  • You like to journal after learning something
  • You reflect quite a lot
  • You often check-in with yourself regularly too, on decisions you've made, or impending decisions
  • Before saying something, you will think it through a couple of times
  • You can be quite thorough in your work as well, not necessary because you are a detailed-orientated person, but rather, you want to consider the point of views from different perspectives
  • Friends and loved ones come to you often for advice, usually citing your insightfulness, ability to think in another person's shoes, and covering all the bases
  • You sometimes think of going on a soul searching journey to "find yourself"
  • You enjoy quiet time on your own, not because you like the silence, but rather for you to reflect on your day
  • People will comment that you're often lost in thoughts, or have those blank stares

Recommended Learning Tools:

Journalling, questions to provoke further thoughts, and introspective assignments are probably on top of your list. Because you are naturally inclined to evaluate your growth, you're probably more aware of your own personal development paths, and the best tools to help you achieve your goals.

So… which of the four are you? Which is your preferred mode of learning?


Haha, I wish. It's actually taken from the representation systems module of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Also known as sensory modalities, or VAKOG (Visual Auditory Kinaesthetic Olfactory & Gustatory). Google it. :)

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I'm Type 5: Olfactory Learner

I have to smell it to understand it :D


Hahaha. Good one there. At least you didn't say you have to taste it, yeah?


No, no, licking things is just how to claim ownership, not to learn about them.


Haha, that's funny! Although lots of animals do that. Of course, some would say why stop at licking when you can pee on it. :)

Ok, this conversation has drifted far...


Hm, I think I am none of the above. Are there only 4 types? Or maybe I have a bit of all. Well, it´ts actually a very great article :)

I am find myself a part of all types of learners but prominantely in visual learners. The first one.
Very good observations @maverickfoo. Good writing skills.

Thnx to sharing.. I always following you..


Good to know you managed to identify your best learning style :)

i am TYPE 1: VISUAL LEARNER - - I like having subtitles in movies &
When given instructions, i prefer it to be written down or have the map drawn out, rather than listening to the instructions, coz i get really bored listening to them ;)


Haha, I like having subtitles too, although some movie lovers would say it takes the attention of what's really happening, which is bad movie watching. :(


Hmm right, if the movie is that good then it matters otherwise, ​don't think it matters​ much. I think​ we are good enough to be attentive to whats happeing even whie reading subtitles :)

Great informative post! Yeah, I am a visual learner type. I prefer videos showing actual diagrams or just reading academic journals/papers, articles, etc. I did try audio books, but I always fall asleep to them 10-15 minutes in lol.


Haha, so audio is not your thing eh? I always find audio learners kinda awesome, because they can learn while doing low thinking activities like commuting and driving. But the setback is books are usually cheaper than audio programs. Give and take...

Wow! Interesting, I'm type2 learner.. You got all the signs right, nice research..


Thanks man. So you're the person what always have your headphones on, eh?

I my self, always using learning media by visual..


In many ways, lucky you! For one, most of the world's info are presented visually.

I am definitely a type 3 learner. I need to move around and I certainly pace when thinking about something. I even have a stand up desk.


Oh yeah, I like those stand-up desks too. Learning preferences aside, it always helps to keep my mind focused longer. The only set back is I then to shift my weight to one leg and then the other, and over prolonged periods of time, it hurts my back. A way to counter that is to have a little stood I can step on because it will then distribute the weight at all the right places.

Learning is our life time homework

Is it possible that a person can have 2 types of learning habit? I think I'm a Visual Learner and an Auditory Digital Learner.


Yeah you can. It's usually Type 1 + 3, or type 2 + 3. Type 4 is more like a top up. It doesn't stand well on it's own, but it works really well with any combination.

Awesome! i always feel motivated when ever i go through your posts

I am a combination learner, VISUAL- AUDITORY LEARNERS, Both are required. I can go to a professor's lecture watch and listen. Six months later pass a test on everything he said. listen to his recording lecture and that is like trying to understand Klingon. Look at a diagram of a piece of furniture to assemble and not only will you have extra parts but it will not be the item you ordered if it does not fall apart.
Man I am way out of the average box


Way out indeed!


Yea. Maybe I'm not alone and somebody will jump in here ans say "i'm out here too".
Where are the combo learners ?

Great post! I've known for quite a few years that I'm an auditory learner. In fact, that's crippled my use of Steemit at first. As a bonus tool, I'd recommend dictation software for auditory learners. Ever since I got mine, I've produced more content in a week than I did in a year (I'm using it right now)!

I also love podcasts and audiobooks, but a caveat I would add is the danger of being distracted when you're learning on the go. Focus is key! I often find myself rewinding the same bit of podcast over and over again to hear what the content was, and the funny thing is that sometimes, at the same point every time, the same mental monologue will distract me for the same reason. Thanks again!


Wow, spoken like a true auditory learner, and sounds like you've designed a growth system that works well in your favour.

Oh yeah. Dictation is super cool too. If you map out your contents and structure prior to the recording, I think you'll get good focus. After that, it's just the transcribing it. Any tool you use or know of?


Haha it was literally spoken by me! As far as your question goes, the gold standard is really Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I got the cheap home version for about 100$ Canadian (on special). The main thing that held me back is the cost. But I realized that if I can monetize my writing, then it would literally pay for itself and more.

And yeah! Now all I have to do is write outlines, and I'm pretty good at dictating first drafts. Now that writing is truly becoming an option for me, on top of Steemit, I'd also like to see if I can get into copywriting. It's a skill I have, although I'm still in noob, but being able to write so much quicker will help me "earned my stripes".

I wish this post would be taught in schools. :)
There are so many children who are stuck in educational systems that are obsolete.
Thank you for sharing this with us


Quite true. We are products of the past systems, and sadly, we put our children through the same system too.

Teacher to student ratio is one issue. I believe if it had been a smaller class, the teachers can be more flexible with their approach.


You have a point there. I've been a tutor for the past 15 years, and it's a huge difference to have a one on one approach than the standard one. One teacher for 25 or more kids? Terrible. It's funny how we managed to improve everything, from food to technology but still have the same approach to education as we did 200 years ago.


My thoughts exactly! And while the gap of education and real practice stretches farther and farther apart, our kids will eventually have to struggle more trying to connect the dots.

I'm visual learners! This is so true when you wrote "they probably would ask you to meet up instead. They generally enjoy meetings too, because then, they can use their sights and power of observation to study others." I just told my manager yesterday that let's have a face to face meeting instead of messaging! Another thing so true is visual learners learning tools, I pick up book not long ago, before that I used to learn from infographics & diagrams as I can overview the entire thing at one glance (e.g. unifi vs TIME, pros, and cons of topic XYZ)

My second type of learning would be kinaesthetic learners! I love DIY stuff & hands-on things. It feels great for me when I finish 1 DIY or get my hands on to do some physical activities. Again recommended learning tools for kinaestetic is so true, I love Lego!

Thank you again for this awesome and insightful post!


Thanks Bro. Looks like you are a VK learner. See to learn, Do to absorb.

Very classy

I’m teaching others how to get newbies at the company faster on track. And learning styles is one of the hot topic- there are several tests you can find online to identify the learning style of the newbie. I suggest to give the test to everyone you will be supposed to mentor


Yup, there are a few free tests online. Super useful.

Good sharing. What if I said there is a technology that can be used to discover ur learning style? Technology ROCKS! By the way, my learning type is the combination of auditory and visual.


I think there already are a few, which uses machine learning to determine your natural learning styles.

That's cool. I am going to write. I haven't read this whole post as I am very sleepy right now but going to do it in the morning and write my experience .
‌Best of luck to everyone and hoping to come accross some interesting.

Thnx to sharing.. I always following you..

I find myself a part of all 4 types of learners but prominantely in visual learners. The first one.
Very good observations @maverickfoo. Good writing skills.

It's not always just about the interest for the subject, nor the effectiveness of the teacher. Sometimes, the way the information is being delivered plays a big role too.

That explains why I never liked some classes in high school and here I thought I was been a slacker then. I think they were being delivered not to my style of learning and that will be type 4

I'm a visual learner, it stays forever once seen.

Thanks for sharing this @maverickfoo, i love it

Wooow, enlightening. Had an idea about the first three but i thought the self talking ish run through everyone. I for one have visual as my primary but then i think I switch to auditory when I'm tired or on the move, and find kinaesthetics interesting but only for a short while. Thanks for sharing.


That's a good mix there. Actually, based on what I know (I could be wrong as there are new researches done all the time), it's not possible to have both visual and auditory together because they are opposites. But then again, you could be one of the rare ones. :)

I am definitely a visual learner.
Good topic, thank you.

Nice post✌

I haven a new teacher

Nice post Mav!
Thanks for sharing this with us
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