How Do You Like To Learn?


Early studies of intelligence indicated that it could be measured by I.Q. tests. Modern thinking recognizes that this was too narrow a view of intelligence and there is growing support for Gardner's (1983, 1996) Theory of Multiple Intelligences which suggests that there are at least 7 basic intelligences:

When you have a strong aural and oral sense. You are good at memorising dates, etc. and learn best by saying, hearing and seeing words.

When you have an abstract and numerical sense and are good at reasoning and problem solving. You learn best by categorising and classifying.

Strong imaginative and visual sense. Learn best by visualizing and seeing the graphical image.

You have a strong physical sense and learn best by touching, trying out, and interacting physically.

Strong aural sense for tones and rhythm. Learn best by rhyming and noticing sound patterns, melody.

You are sensitive to others' feelings and intuitive. Skilled at influencing people. You learn best by collaborating with others, discussing.

Strong self-knowledge and sense of own worth. Learn best by working alone and having your own space.

Strong scientific sense. Good at classifying and recognising similar models, either plants or animals. Learns best through case studies, comparison, etc.

Whatever about your learning style, research into communications suggests that people learn best when material is presented in such a way that all their senses are engaged. It has been suggested that we absorb

20% of what we read

30% of what we hear

50% of what we say

60% of what we do

90% of what we see, hear, do and say

The lesson then for both learners and course designers is to ensure that we make and take opportunities to apply this logic.

Studies of intelligence indicate that the ways we perceive and process knowledge are significant. We all have our own preferred way of absorbing information. One classification separates learners into either perceivers of knowledge

and processors of knowledge

Concrete perceivers absorb information through direct experience like doing, sensing and feeling, whilst abstract perceivers receive information through observation, analysis and thinking.

As you would expect, Active processors of information make sense of their knowledge by immediately trying it out, whilst the reflective types are more likely to absorb their experiences by thinking and reflecting about them.

Which type are you? See below for an assessment of your style.

Do you get distracted easily in class?

Do you find it hard to absorb information by reading about it?

Do you get bored watching others doing something that you just want to try yourself?

If you answered "YES" to any of these questions then you can learn something from discovering what is your personal preferred style of learning. Of course the reasons could also relate to poor teaching or lack of interest in the subject! It is possible, though, to learn about the way you best learn and by putting this into practice you will be able to learn better.

Do you learn best by working with others or by working alone?

Do you prefer a structured approach or an unstructured approach to learning?

Do you learn best by reading about something and trying it out?


By watching a demonstration and trying it out?

The answers to these and other questions will give you some insights into your learning style - i.e the way you have become accustomed to learning and which works well for you.

There are several different combinations of learning styles and you can check out your own preferred way of learning by completing any of the questionnaires on the following links.

We hope you found this useful information to help you to improve your learning. The site has been developed by G.Kelly as part of an integrated approach to using ICT to help learners in learning how to learn. The work will form part of a thesis for an MSc. Degree in I.T. in Education at T.C.D.

Your feedback would be welcome email the site developer

Last updated March 2003