This is a delayed reaction to this prompt, but it’s a topic which fascinates me. I think I first sat a learning styles diagnostic test about 10 years ago. When I arrived home with the results (profoundly kinaesthetic, with a slight auditory leaning), my mother laughed and said that there was no need for me to have taken the test, she could’ve told me this herself. I had no idea what it meant, but reading the description was very much like looking in a mirror, and I have therefore trusted the diagnosis ever since!
I learn best by doing. Sometimes that involves copying or replicating what someone else has done, sometimes it involves being talked through a process. But ultimately, I usually decide to make up my own way of getting to the end goal and figuring out the best process via a series of trial and error. I’m the girl who buys a piece of flatpack furniture and ignores the instructions, safe in the knowledge that I know what a bed/desk/bookcase looks like, and that I will be able to assemble the pieces in the relevant order without instructions from a wordless stickperson. I’m the one who will purchase ingredients in the correct quantities in order to follow a recipe, but then proceed to cobble them together in my own fashion, because I know what a cake/pie/pasta dish looks like, thanks, and I’ll figure it out for myself.
Kinaesthetic learners apparently only represent about five percent of the population – given that we potentially do things the hard way, I can see why. The rest of you are the clever ones, learning by either reading or listening! I’m not too bad at following instructions if someone with an incredible level of patience reads them to me – I’m not great at paying attention for long periods of time, especially if something doesn’t really grab my interest, so whoever’s assisting me in a task needs to be prepared for lots of diversionary conversation and a battle to keep me on task!
Ultimately, I get things done though – usually via having entertainment whilst I work (I can often be found with music on as I work on something), and taking lots of little breaks (cup of tea, anyone?) along the way. Many people realise this key characteristic about me, even if it’s not spelled out to them or they don’t understand what it means, but I think learning styles are something that everyone should inform themselves about to a greater degree: knowing how your colleagues and employees work in this way, for example, can create a more harmonious working environment – there’s no point asking a kinaesthetic learner to sit quietly and bash away at one task for eight hours solid, it’s the quickest way to drive them crazy and de-motivate them! Whilst researching for this post, I found this to be a fairly useful quick reference guide. If learning styles aren’t something you’re familiar with, it’s worth a quick look. Remember that very few people will display every characteristic of their predominant style – it tends to be that you fall into whichever category that you show most signs of.
Happy learning! I’m off to try, fail and learn at my next task.