Student group learning together

Whether it’s planned during exam preparation or by chance in everyday life: We all learn throughout our lives and acquire new knowledge until old age. But why does it seem that learning is easier for some people than for others? This may also be due to the learning situation. Different learning situations and materials are ideal for different types of learners.

Systems researcher, environmental expert and biochemist Frederic Vester has done research on this topic. Based on his findings, he derived four learning types. In this post, we'll introduce you to these four types and show you the strategies that can help you learn.

Which learning types are there?

The division into different types of learners is based on the observation that each individual receives, processes and acquires knowledge differently. Researchers and psychologists have already carried out numerous studies on this subject. The most famous model of learning types comes from Frederic Vester, who identified four types during his research.
Vester studied the absorption of knowledge as well as the connection and storage of information. Another important aspect of his model is the channels through which we absorb information.

  • The optical-visual type: Learning by seeing and observing
  • The haptic-kinesthetic type: Learning by feeling and touching
  • The intellectual type: Learning by reading and thinking
  • The auditory type: Learning by speaking and listening

Most of us have a certain amount of different learning types inside of us, so we're mixed types. But usually we still have a dominant perceptual channel.

Once you figure out which one is yours, you can design tailored learning strategies that support your learning type and simplify your study experience.

The four types of learning

The visual learning type

Graphs, videos, pictures or diagrams – the visual learning type is best suited to absorb information through visual media. Text and pictures should ideally be linked to each other to ensure that information is remembered well. Charts also help the visual learning type to process what has been learned and to remember facts in the long term.

Student in front of a computer

Tips for the visual learning type:

  • Complete mind maps, sketches or diagrams
  • Use colored markers, for example to mark related information in the same color
  • Produce written notes during lectures and studying
  • Use flashcards
  • Take notes at the margins of texts
  • Illustrate information with pictures
  • Create collages and posters for your walls

The auditory learning type

If you are an auditory learner, the best way to gather information is through hearing. This type of learner is therefore particularly comfortable during frontal teaching.
Tips for the auditory learning type:

  • Record the material yourself as an audio file
  • Read texts aloud
  • Create a quiet learning environment
  • Write talks on topics
  • Listen to podcasts or audio books
  • Create songs with the learning material

The haptic-kinesthetic type

The haptic learning type studies best by touching and experimenting, so learning by doing. The ideal learning environment for this type of learning is in areas like physics or chemistry with lots of experiments.
Learning tips for the haptic-kinesthetic learning type:

  • Create Models
  • Move during studying
  • Perform role-playing
  • Use experimental kits

The communicative or intellectual learning type

Intellectual learners can memorize information just by thinking. This type of learner learns best by critically questioning, debating and talking to others. Therefore, the best way for the communicative type of learner is to learn with others to better memorize knowledge.
Tips for communicative learning:

  • Take part in discussions
  • Learn with a quiz
  • Ask questions
  • Learn with fellow students and in groups
  • Perform role-playing

Are you looking for more tips and tricks for studying? Find out what you can do against exam anxiety.

Images: Brooke Cagle (Unsplash), (Pexels)

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