The 7 Learning Styles

7 learning styles

The 7 Learning Styles

We all know that people learn differently.

Some of us thrive in a classroom setting, discussing ideas with our peers and broadening our understanding of the material. Others prefer to read through materials alone, taking their own notes.

There are those of us who like to listen to lectures or audio books. Some people learn best through demonstrations and doing the task.

Everyone has a different learning style. Most people know about the big three – visual learning, auditory learning and kinesthetic learning but did you know that there are seven learning styles?

Here are the 7 learning styles, where they came from and how you can use them to your advantage.

What is the theory behind the 7 learning styles?

The theory behind the 7 learning styles is a combination of the VARK model and the theory of multiple intelligences.

The VARK model

The VARK model for learning was developed by academic Neil Fleming in 1987 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Fleming designed a series of questionaries and tests that can help teachers and students identify their best learning style in the VARK model.

VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic.

You can read more about the VARK model here.

The theory of multiple intelligences

The theory of multiple intelligences was established in the 1960s by Howard Gardner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Gardner put forward six intelligence styles. This theory has now expanded to include nine intelligence styles; verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial-visual, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, naturalist and existential.

You can read more about the theory of multiple intelligences here.

What are the 7 learning styles?

Adapted from the VARK model and the theory of multiple intelligences, 7 learning styles are:

  • Visual – absorbing information through maps, diagrams, graphs, flow charts and graphics.
  • Kinesthetic – learning through real examples, such as demonstrations and simulations.
  • Aural – learning through listening and hearing models such as lectures and podcasts.
  • Social – adsorbing information through study groups, quizzing etc.
  • Solitary – learning through solitary practice, studying alone.
  • Verbal – Learning through written and spoken words and mnemonic tools.
  • Logical – Learning through logic, and structure, often finds numbers and statistics easy to understand.

The 7 learning styles

Let’s break down each learning style, from visual to logical and take a deeper look at them. What does it mean if you’re this type of learner and how can you use it to your advantage?


Visual learners will best take in information through visual cues such as info-graphics, charts and diagrams. If you’re a visual learner you might find that you doodle a lot while you are learning. You might create little charts in your notes and tend to pick up information better when it’s presented visually to you.

How to use this to your advantage

If you are a visual learner, you can use this to your advantage by:

  • Keeping your study space clean and visually pleasing.
  • Taking notes and incorporating diagrams into your notes.
  • Creating flashcards to memorise facts or formulas.
  • Making mind-maps of your topic to better absorb the information.
  • Colour-coding your notes.


Kinesthetic learners like to learn through doing and seeing it done. This means you could be a kinesthetic learner if you like to try doing the task physically, or to watch demonstrations to learn how to do it. This can be translated to theory learning through class discussion groups and activities such as inviting the class to identify and then dissect a theory in an interactive group environment.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you can use this to your advantage by:

  • Regularly incorporating physical breaks in your study sessions, short walks can be helpful.
  • Using role-play to learn concepts.
  • Making study materials that vary in size, texture and colour and utilise these to add physical attributes to different topics. For example use thicker paper for one topic, coloured flash cards for another etc.


Aural learners will learn best through auditory lessons. Therefore, lectures and podcasts are a good source for you to absorb your topic.

You might be an aural learner if you find yourself better able to remember lessons that were delivered in lectures, if you recall lines and facts in podcasts or from shows you heard on the radio better than ones you read.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re an aural learner, you can use this to your advantage by:

  • Creating a study space that includes noise cancelling headphones, as you will find some noises distracting.
  • Record and revisit lectures, you’ll absorb more information.
  • Take audio notes, keep voice notes while you’re studying.


Social learners best absorb their information through social interaction and learning in a group environment. Learning in a class setting is best for social learners.

You might be a social learner if you do best when you are a part of a study group, or you enjoy class discussions.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re a social learner here are some tips to study best for your learning style.

  • Join a study group
  • Discuss your studies with friends and family
  • Incorporate studying with socialising, such as meeting friends at the library and studying together.


Solitary learners do their best learning, alone, in self-lead and self-paced study. Sometimes also called Intrapersonal Learners, this learning style is best left alone, and they do well studying online.

You might be a solitary learner if you get your best studying done alone, can work through tasks and maintain focus all on your own.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re a solitary learner, you likely cope well with studying but here’s a few tips for you.

  • Plan out your studying sessions.
  • Create a quiet space where you can focus without interruption.
  • Track your progress.


Verbal learners work best with words. They respond well to written materials, note-taking and lectures.

If you’re good with words and like reading and writing, you might be a verbal learner.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re a verbal learner these studying tips should help you to excel in your subjects.

  • Take heaps of notes. You’ll retain the information better if you write it down.
  • Use mnemonic devices and rhymes to make more complex facts stick.
  • Compare notes with other classmates to see if you’ve missed anything important.


Logical learners tend to lean towards mathematical equations, statistics and patterns to learn.

If you gravitate towards mathematical subjects and love to learn through numbers, patterns and statistics you might be a logical learner.

How to use this to your advantage

If you’re a logical learner, you will want to play to your strengths with these studying tips.

  • Look for recurring patterns and sort concepts into these patterns or mental baskets.
  • Use statistics and graphs to maximise your understanding of the topics.
  • Break up larger topics into smaller sections and draw links between them.

Final Thoughts

Understanding your learning style can help you identify topics you may struggle with and teaching methods that aren’t optimal.

Utilising your learning style will help you study more effectively, retain new information and learn new subjects quickly.

If you’re thinking of going back to study you can check out our courses here or get in touch with our course advisors. They can help you find the right course for your career and the learning style to match!

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