There has been much debate as to whether one’s learning style matters, or is even valid. While we use all of them, there are usually one or two that we favor and use more. The three styles are:
- Visual – this leans to what you see
- Auditory – this leans to what you hear
- Kinesthetic – this leans to what you feel
Knowing your preference will help you to better understand yourself and how you are taking in the world, so to speak, as well as understanding others.
Using myself as an example, I am a very visual person; I’m not great with names but I will never forget your face, what you wore, what you did, how you acted and what was going on in the background. I’m not a north-south-east-west directional person but I will get you where you need to go by every landmark to your destination. My secondary is kinesthetic – I’m very intuitive but can take on the emotions (or energy) of others. Auditories focus on how things are said – the pitch, rate, tone, inflection; they don’t have to look at you but hear every word.
Why do these matter? Well, as a visual, if an auditory doesn’t look at me when speaking, I tend to get upset and feel they either don’t care or are choosing to not be engaged in our conversation. This could lead to conflict of some sort if I allow it get to that point. As a kinesthetic, I need to set good boundaries so as not to take on other’s emotions which could lead to over-helping, leaving both them and myself resentful.
How we perceive others, and interpret our daily interactions, are based on one of these so this is why it is important to know how you are doing so. It could lead to less negativity and conflict and to more positivity in our daily lives. As a visual, I have to challenge what I see; for example, if I interact with someone and they don’t smile or look receptive, I could think they don’t like me; I don’t know this to be true but my initial reaction is such. An auditory might not respond as quickly as one would like, as they focus on how things are said and need to interpret them; this could lead someone to become frustrate with them and they may finish their sentence or leave them out of a conversation.
In the workplace, good communication is vital in going about our day; with our boss, with coworkers, the team, and customers. Taking the time to be aware of your learning style, and how you are interpreting situations, will go a long way to having more effective interactions and relationships. You won’t take issues so personally, ala being more emotionally intelligent.
Answer which applies to you to determine your style:
Visual: you create pictures in your mind; you remember how things looked and surroundings; you look and react to facial expressions; you remember what you saw, what people wore how they acted etc.; you write to remember; you prefer to read or see the words; you use words: see, saw, look, picture
Auditory: tend to sound a word out; can be distracted by noise; you enunciate words clearly; you remember what was said; you’re good at remembering names; you listen to tone voice; you may talk to yourself or repeat words out loud; you use words: sounds, hear, heard
Kinesthetic: you need to write things down; get distracted by movement; use hand gestures; remember other’s emotions; watch body language; try things out on your own; use words: feels (like), felt, sensed
When you are more aware of how you best learn, which involves how you interpret and then take action on them, is what will help you to moderate your actions and better understand those around you. Begin by paying attention to the words and behaviors of others so you can be more understanding and then know how to react to them. Having better relationships with others and our own surroundings is why learning styles matter.
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