—Andrew C., Temple University School of Medicine, Pennsylvania
You are in luck. There are many different learning style models. You can find out more about your learning style by knowing about the prevalent models used to measure it.
Some models include questions that ask you how you prefer to learn or how you prefer to complete tasks. Others you can read about on your own and find out what resonates with you.
It is important to remember that learning styles are not fixed and can change throughout your life. You might even identify with one learning style while a test reveals that a different one may be more relevant to you. Keep an open mind.
What might the quizzes look like?
Here is a sample that you may see on learning styles inventories:
When you need to travel from one place to another and you are unfamiliar with the route, do you prefer to:
A. Use a map?
B. Have someone tell you how to get there?
If you answered A, you may be a visual learner, or someone who learns best by seeing the information represented visually. If you answered B, you may be an auditory learner who learns best by hearing the information.
Here are some common learning preference models that you may want to explore:
Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner said there are eight types of intelligences. These include spatial, body/kinesthetic, musical, linguistic, logical/mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. There is no formal way to test for these intelligences, but there’s good information to explain each of them.
VARK by Neil Fleming
Neil Fleming theorized that people are visual, aural, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learners.
Experiential Learning Styles by David Kolb
David Kolb divided a person’s learning styles into four types: Diverging, Assimilating, Converging, and Accommodating. Kolb saw learning as a cycle: You start with your preferred style, but you can keep exploring other ways to learn.
Kolb inspired many theorists, including Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, who created their own model using many of the same principles.
When you are discovering your learning preferences, remember that the results will not mean you should not try to learn in other ways. In fact, more successful students not only know how they learn best, but also find ways to develop skills in all learning styles. This will give you your most complete learning experience.