Learning styles are the consistent way in which students respond to or use stimuli in the learning environment, that is, the educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn .

Therefore, learning styles are not really about what students learn, but how they prefer to learn and, in many cases, how they find it easier to learn. Learning styles are a mixture of characteristic cognitive, affective and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how the learner perceives, interacts and responds to the learning environment.

  • You might be interested in: “The 13 types of learning: what are they?”

Learning styles: what are they?

Some people find it easier to learn by observing, because colors or pictures help them learn more easily; while others learn better by reading and this is their way of studying. Have you ever thought about which learning style is more effective for you? The truth is that there is no single way of learning, but that each of us is often more comfortable with one learning style or another .

In today’s article, we review the various learning styles. Don’t miss out!

Learning styles according to Alonso, Gallego and Honey

For Alonso, Gallego and Honey (1995), authors of the book Los estilos de aprendizaje procedimientos de aprendizaje y mejora, “it is necessary to know more about learning styles and which of them defines our favourite way of learning.

This is essential, both for learners and teachers. The authors state that there are 4 learning styles:

1. Assets

Students who prefer the active learning style enjoy new experiences, are not sceptical and have an open mind . They do not mind learning a new task, as they do not avoid challenges even though this may compromise their idea of themselves and their abilities.

2. Reflective

Individuals with a preference for the reflective learning style observe experiences from different angles . They also analyse data, but not without first having reflected with determination. They are prudent and do not rush to draw conclusions from their experiences, which is why they may appear hesitant.

3. Theoretical

They tend to have a perfectionist personality. They are also analytical, but like to synthesize and seek to integrate facts into coherent theories, without leaving loose ends and unanswered questions. They are rational and try to remain objective above all.

4. Pragmatists

They are rather practical and need to check their ideas . They are realistic when it comes to making decisions and solving an issue, and they orient their learning towards the need to give answers to concrete problems. For them, “if it is useful it is valid”.

Other learning styles we can find

But the above classification is not the only one that exists, other authors have proposed different learning styles. They are the following:

5. Logical (mathematical)

Individuals with the logical learning style prefer to employ logic and reasoning rather than contextualization. They use schemes in which relevant things are shown. They associate words even if they don’t make sense of them.

6. Social (interpersonal)

This learning style, also called group learning, is characteristic of those people who prefer to work with others whenever they can . These individuals try to share their conclusions with others. and put their conclusions into practice in group settings. Role-playing” is an ideal technique for them.

7. Solitary (intrapersonal)

This learning style, also called individual, is characteristic of those who prefer solitude and quietness to study . They are reflective people and tend to focus on subjects that are of interest to them and place great value on introspection to “mental experiments”, although they can also experiment with the subject.

8. Visual learning

These students are not good at reading texts but, on the other hand, they assimilate images , diagrams, graphics and videos very well. It is often practical for them to use symbols or to create a visual shorthand when taking notes, as this way they memorize better.

9. Aural (auditory)

These students learn best when they listen . For example, in discussions, debates or simply with the teacher’s explanations. While other students can learn more when they get home and open the class manual, they learn a lot in the classroom, by listening to the teachers.

10. Verbal (reading and writing)

Also known as language learning, students with this learning style study best by reading or writing . For them, it is better to read the notes or simply elaborate on them. The process of making these notes is a good tool for learning.

11. Kinesthetic

These people learn best by doing, that is, doing more than reading or observing . It is in this practice that they carry out analysis and reflection. Teachers who want to get the most out of these students should involve them in the practical application of the concepts they intend to teach.

12. Multimodal

Some individuals combine several of the above styles , so they do not have a particular preference. Their learning style is flexible and they are comfortable learning with several learning styles.

Understanding learning styles: what does science say?

Learning styles have more influence on learning than we realize, because they represent the internal experiences we have or the way we remember information.

Researchers have been interested in this phenomenon, and it is estimated that each learning style uses different parts of the brain . Here are some examples:

  • Visual : The occipital lobes at the back of the brain control the visual sense. Both the occipital and parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.
  • Aural : The temporal lobes handle auditory content. The right temporal lobe is especially important for music.
  • Verbal : This learning style involves the temporal and frontal lobes, especially two specialized areas called the Broca and Wernicke areas.
  • Kinesthetic : The cerebellum and the motor cortex at the back of the frontal lobe, handle much of our physical movement.
  • Logical : The parietal lobes, especially the left side, drive our logical thinking.
  • Social : The frontal and temporal lobes manage a large part of our social activities. The limbic system also influences both social and individual style. The limbic system has a lot to do with emotions and moods.
  • Individual : The frontal and parietal lobes, and the limbic system, are also involved in this learning style.

An approach to the theory of multiple intelligences

Taking into account what has been exposed in the previous paragraphs, a theory that revolutionized the concept of intelligence makes a lot of sense. This theoretical idea was born when Howard Gardner warned that the IQ is not the only form of intelligence that exists , and identified and described up to eight different types of intelligence. According to this conception of the human mind, there are various types of mental capacities that, in one way or another, are relatively independent of each other and can be considered self-sufficient types of intelligence.

Thus, learning styles could indicate the different ways in which people learn depending on the type of facility propensities they have, taking into account those intelligences in which they excel more and those in which they excel less.

  • To learn more about this theory, you can visit our article: “Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences”