Types of Learners – Part I – Identifying the Types of Learners

At Jigsaw Interactive, we are changing how the world learns and collaborates. We know and understand that everyone learns differently and absorbs data at different speeds and in different ways. 

In this series of three articles, we will cover the percentage of each type of learner, how each type learns, and what instructors must do to ensure all learners are included in the learning process. We’ll start by identifying the three different types of learners before applying these to your training program.

The three types of learners are:

  • Visual learning (cognitive) is a type of non-trivial learning that includes the processes involved in acquiring, processing information, and using it. Visual learning relies on 5 important principles:  understanding, remembering, applying, evaluating and creating.  These learners prefer to experience demonstrations and do better when they can see the body language, or facial expressions, of the instructor. 
  • Auditory learning is done through lecture and listening.  This type of learner prefers to hear the instructions vs reading them.  Auditory learning includes class discussions, presenting materials and this type of learner gets enjoyment from participating and responding to the topic during class. 
  • Kinesthetic learning is physical learning.  This type of learner needs movement, touching and action to absorb the materials.  Kinesthetic learners are hands on.  They learn best by doing.   They prefer to dig into the material, figure out the problem then actively work to solve it.  They do not like lecture-based learning and will go to great lengths to get the data they need to begin figuring out the problem and solution.  

For the best learning results, you should identify the types of learners and create course material and activities that fits their needs. But what are the percentages of each type of learning, and how can you identify who’s what type of learner?

65% of the population are visual learners and prefer engaging visuals and graphics that get the information to them in a way that sticks. You can easily identify learners because they love to doodle, take notes and whiteboard based learning.  Visually you can identify this type of learner by paying attention to how they dress.  If they are color-coordinated and well put together, they are most likely a visual learner. 

Around 30% of the population are auditory learners.  This group learns best through hearing the information.  An auditory learner loves lectures and can happily sit through hours of it, walking away with a high percentage of information from the session.   The key to capturing this type of learner is to ensure your subject and information is interesting and you avoid the monotone of droning on.  You can identify an auditory learner very easily because they are the one asking questions, starting a discussion and pushing back on the concepts. 

Kinesthetic learners consist of about 5% of the population and struggle with traditional ways of learning and sedentary activities like lectures. You can identify kinesthetic learners because they are fidgeters if you are lecturing.  They are generally high energy people and they want to be engaged with whatever you are doing.  Kinesthetic learners generally love sorts, have great reflexes and push learning through experiments.  This group is a hands on group and the only way to stimulate their interest is to get them involved.