One of the best things you can do to achieve your career goals is to keep learning. Whether you’re looking for a new job or hoping to get a promotion in your current role, developing your knowledge base and broadening your skills will help you get there.
In order to learn, retain, and apply new information effectively in the workplace, it may help to understand which of the three common learning styles you relate to the most. This will not only help improve your ability to acquire new knowledge and skills, but can also help you identify the right opportunities when looking for the best job for you. For example, during an interview you might ask employers how they are helping their employees learn and grow, and then use this information to determine if their methods are compatible with your preferred way of learning.
Below is some background information on the various learning styles and a list of the jobs best suited for each method.
What do learning styles have to do with job hunting?
Everyone learns and stores new information differently. When you were in school, you might notice that some information felt clear and direct while other courses seemed more difficult. The reasons for these various experiences are often due to the learning styles, or the methods you use to process new information.
The way you study most effectively will affect many aspects of your life, including your career. In order to grow and develop in the career path of your choice, you will continue to learn new information, expand your expertise, and acquire more knowledge. When you understand the learning styles that you are familiar with, you can apply these methods in the workplace and inform people who may be interested in your development, such as your manager and teammates.
What are the types of learning styles?
There are three main types of learning styles:
Visual learners (also called “spatial learners”) process information best when it is presented with a picture drawn on a whiteboard, chart, graph, diagram, map, or other graphic. Visual learners usually process images before they read printed text and are also able to visualize concepts quickly.
People who are visual learners prefer it when instructions are printed rather than given orally, and may often scribble or scribble when drafting or trying to understand new topics. Many visual learners remember things better after they have written or drawn them. They also tend to visually organize or sort information as they study it to help them connect concepts and ideas.
Auditory learners process information best when it is said aloud, such as in a lecture setting or an oral presentation. This type of learner can easily remember what other people have said and prefers to talk about topics they find complicated or difficult to understand.
People who are auditory learners prefer verbal directions and may use repetition or repeating things aloud to remember them. They may ask a few questions to understand the subject better and may need to hear something repeated more than once before they fully understand. They do well in group settings and value team discussions. Auditory students also often benefit from listening to recordings as a method of absorbing new concepts.
Kinesthetic learners (also called “tactile learners”) process information through experience rather than by being shown or told. This type of learner prefers to do things that are more “direct”. They prefer to touch and feel things and can easily remember things they have done versus what they have heard or read.
People who are kinesthetic learners like to create and create things using their hands, and remember information best when they are physically involved. They may stand, move or act out information to remember it. Kinesthetic learners like to participate in the process by shadowing or assisting, and prefer to practice or practice concepts as a way to absorb new information.
Take some time to consider how you prefer to receive new information. Think about the last time you learned something new. How do you work to make sure you retain information? What patterns, explanations or pictures make the concept understandable? The answers to these questions will help you find which learning style suits you best.
Once you know which learning style is most effective for you, it may help to communicate your preferred learning style with your manager. This way, you can work together to make sure you can develop your skills efficiently. Additionally, your manager can help you find ways to incorporate your learning style into your role.