What are Learning Styles? 14 Learning Styles and their Characteristics

Learning is a concept to which we are exposed from our childhood, this being a natural and continuous process throughout our lives. Since we are born we are responding to stimuli and constantly learning day by day. Consequently, each one of us decides how to carry out this process. But, have you ever wondered: Do all people learn in the same way? o Will it be just as simple or just as complicated to learn about a subject or a skill for other people?

The answers to these questions are summarized in that there are different learning styles. So we can say that not all people learn in the same way. However, to understand the different existing learning styles, it is necessary to know what learning styles are and what their types are. Below are the answers to these questions.


According to educator couple Rita and Kenneth Dunn, learning styles are the way each learner begins to focus on the process of absorbing and retaining new and difficult information. In other words, they are the different strategies that we use to learn easier and faster.


Different theorists have studied different learning styles and from these studies have developed different models. Below are some of the more well-known learning style models.

The American educational theorist David A. Kolb developed his model of  Experiential Learning  in which he proposes that in order to learn something, the information obtained must be processed.

According to his model, this is achieved through the following learning styles:

1. Theoretical (Assimilator)

The students are distinguished by being rational, objective and analytical. He is usually interested in theories and abstract ideas. Learning is obtained through following detailed instructions.

2. Pragmatic (Accommodating)

The students are distinguished for being experimental and for basing their learning on the verification of ideas. You enjoy doing experiments and learn best when you relate theory to practice and by observing other people.

3. Reflexive (Divergent)

The students are distinguished by observing, analyzing and reflecting on each content they learn. It is usually emotional and creative. Observe and analyze the data from all angles, so that you can reach conclusions that seem more assertive and with better results.

4. Active (Convergent)

Students tend to have initiative to learn and are not afraid to obtain new knowledge. You perform better in solving or responding to problems. He prefers to learn by rehearsing and working with other people.

In the same way, educational theorists Rita and Kenneth Dunn in their Theory of Learning Models propose five learning styles based on student preferences.  

5. Environmental

It is distinguished by the preference of the students to certain types of sounds, tones of light, temperature and design of their environment. The motivation to learn will depend on the environment where the students are.

6. Emotional

Learning will take into account emotional preferences related to motivation, will and responsibility. The students decide if they want to learn by themselves or guided by others. Decide if you learn under pressure, motivated or relaxed.

7. Sociological

The students decide if they prefer to learn individually, in a group, in pairs or with adults. This decision will depend on your personality.

8. Physiological

Students learn based on their physiological preferences related to time, mobility and perception. Learning occurs successfully when there are breaks. Four senses are mainly used: sight, touch, taste and hearing.

9. Psychological

Students use their personality to solve a problem. This problem solving is your motivation. This style is based on the personality of the students, it can be analytical, impulsive, reflective or by cerebral dominance.

 10. Kinesthetic

It is distinguished by the preference to interact with the content and put theory into practice. Students learn by doing, building, manipulating and touching. He prefers experiments, laboratories, drawings and field work.

11. Visual

Presentation of information using visual representations, diagrams, maps, videos or images is preferred. Students learn content best when presented with visuals. In the same way, he tends to demonstrate his knowledge through pictures or symbols.

12. Auditory

It is preferred to receive the information orally in order to speak and explain the information to another person. Students learn best by listening. He prefers the use of debates, audios,  podcasts  and radio to learn the content. This style is fundamental in learning languages ​​and music.

13. Verbal (Reading and Writing)

Students learn best by reading or writing. It is easy for him to obtain information through lists, books and reading. He likes to take notes word by word. It is important to note that this skill is essential in their learning process.

14. Multimodal

It is the most common learning style in humans, as it combines all of the above. However, students may have preferences between one or two of them.

Taking into account the learning styles presented, we cannot ignore their relationship with Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner proposes that every human being has eight intelligences. The development of these will depend on the cultural and environmental exposure that the individual has. We can intertwine learning styles with this theory to understand how our brain learns and how we can gain meaningful learning. 

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