Advantages & disadvantages of different learning styles

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Your learning style is the way you absorb and assimilate information. People have different learning styles depending on how their brains work during learning. Four different learning styles are identifiable among learners -- the visual, auditory, read/write and kinesthetic styles.

Each of these styles has advantages and disadvantages, which you should know so that you can recognise the most suitable styles for specific subjects or situations. Some subjects or situations require you to adopt a style different from your natural learning style.

The Visual Style

People who learn best through visual aids have a visual learning style. Visual aids include facial expressions and gesticulations of teachers, pictures, texts with illustrations, DVDs, etc. Visual learners think and learn in pictures. This style of learning has an important advantage: It makes recollection easier when, in an environment different from where you had learnt the information, you see pictures similar to those through which you learnt the information. However, a special disadvantage of the visual learning style is the difficulty you experience when only texts and speeches are available for learning, without any visual aids.

The Auditory Style

Some people prefer to learn by hearing what they want to learn. Theirs is the auditory learning style. To learn, such people would prefer listening to discussions, talking matters over, reading out of texts or making use of e-courses containing audio recordings. One special advantage of this style is that you assimilate and retain information without having to see it in texts or pictures. However, the difficulty of learning among silently reading learners -- in a library for example -- is one disadvantage.

The Read/Write Style

If you learn best by reading texts or writing down notes from what you read, see or hear, then you are a read/write learner. Read/write learners need writing materials to take down points they think important from what they read, hear or see. The read/write style has the advantage of making them more self-dependent because with their note taking, they can learn much by themselves. However, they face the disadvantage of not being able to learn easily where the only medium of instruction is visual or audio, or where they do not have access to writing materials.

The Kinesthetic Style

Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by moving and doing. They prefer interactive learning, learning through practical challenges and hands-on experience and taking in information as they move from one place to another. Kinesthetic learners are therefore not comfortable sitting in a place for long. The kinesthetic learning style has the advantage of exposing learners faster to practice and evidence: You learn as you practice and practice what you learn; you see the evidence of what you had digested with difficulty from texts or discussions. However, where there are no places to move to for such live experience and nobody to interactive with, you are at a disadvantage.