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Learning Style Preferences

Learning Styles*

As you plan developmental options for your team members, it is important to remember that everyone has a learning style preference.  A learning style is simply an approach to learning new things.  Because people have preferred ways of learning that suits them best, it is beneficial to structure a variety of learning strategies to cover the three core learning styles:

1. Visual Learners.  Visual learners learn through seeing.  This means that they are sensitive to body language and facial expressions.  They learn best from seeing things like visual displays like diagrams, illustrations, PowerPoint, charts, videos, and handouts.

Typical characteristics of the visual learner:

Notices details;

Is aware of similarities and differences;

Often has good hand-eye coordination;

May be quiet and deliberate;

May have a vivid imagination;

Prefers to write down directions, not just take them verbally

2.  Auditory Learners.  Auditory learners learn through listening.  They prefer learning strategies like lectures, discussions, and one-on-one conversation.

Typical characteristics of the auditory learner:

Talks to him or herself;

 Asks lots of questions;

Very verbal;

Wants to engage in discussion;

May be distracted by having too many sounds at one time;

Would rather listen and learn than read and learn;

Is very social and loves to talk about what he or she is doing.

3. Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners.  Tactile/Kinesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach. They want to engage the physical world, try things out for themselves, engage in activities, explore and investigate things, and generally get their hands onto what they are learning.

Typical characteristics of the tactile learner:

Likes to stay active;

Needs to handle and try things out in order to understand them;

Prefers to see something done and then to do it himself;

Employs the trial and error approach to problem-solving;

Likes to show rather than tell.

*Adapted from Planning Individual Development Activities published by CSP, Office of Civil Service Personal Management