Four types of learning: visual tactile kinesthetic & audio

Updated April 17, 2017

Everyone learns using a different style or a combination of styles. The four major categories are visual verbal, visual non-verbal, tactile (also called kinesthetic) and audio. The name of each style suggests how it is defined and what the learner responds to best. These learning concepts are often confused with multiple intelligence, which is related but has a different meaning.

Visual Verbal

As the name implies, visual verbal learners use their eyes to retain information. This learning style involves a clear view of the classroom, including the teacher's body language. If you are a visual or verbal learner, you respond to viewed and written information. Outlines, textbooks and blackboard notes serve you well when recording information. Use colour coding, like multicoloured highlighter pens, when taking notes or reading.

Visual Non-Verbal

Visual non-verbal learners also respond well to colours and flashcards, but prefer pictures, designs and video as opposed to the written word. Flash cards, highlighted text and symbols are the tools of the visual non-verbal learner. Use a computer to craft tables and charts to help you study if your learning style is visual non-verbal. If you are a visual non-verbal learner, you remember information by picturing it in your mind and likely have an artistic side.


Closely related to the visual verbal learner, the audio learner functions best when information is presented in a spoken format. Group work and lectures are the most efficient ways that audio learners record and retain information. Studying with a friend and discussing points of interest and importance is also helpful. The rise in popularity and availability of audio books and MP3s is a boon to the audio learner.

Tactile or Kinesthetic

These learners respond to real-life situations or objects they are able to touch and feel. The Montessori style of learning that is used for early childhood education is based on this concept. Writing and pictures do not matter to you if you are a tactile learner. Brief notes, sketches or models are the keys to retaining information for the tactile or kinesthetic learner.

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About the Author

Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.