Work and Learning Styles

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We all have different preferences for how we work and learn. Some of us like to gather all the information in the one place before we start making decisions, others like to get started and adjust along the way. Knowing the way you work and learn and finding strategies to incorporate these styles can help you work and learn more efficiently.

Most of us have a preference for one type of work or another – let’s take a look and see which one you identify with the strongest.

Active v Reflective

Active people like to jump right into the task at hand, but reflective people like to think things through first.

Active people might:

  • Enjoy hands-on activities
  • Like working and learning in a fast-paced environment
  • Find it easier to work in groups

Reflective people might:

  • Enjoy doing thorough research
  • Like learning and working in a slower, more methodical environment
  • Find it easier to work alone

If you’re an active learner, try studying with a group and testing out concepts you’ve learnt in class. Reflective learners should spend time reviewing what they’ve learnt and thinking of possible other questions you could ask.

Sensing v Intuitive

Sensing people like to follow the plan and stick to facts and thrive in a predictable environment. Intuitive people like to innovate and try things out and can get bored doing the same job twice.

Sensing people might:

  • Easily memorise facts and data
  • Want to know how the things they learn connect to the real world
  • Be more practical and careful

Intuitive people might:

  • Learn best from trying out new things
  • Get bored trying to memorise facts and data
  • Work faster and more intuitively

If you’re a sensing learner, try thinking about what you’ve learned and how it can apply to the real world, or situations in your own life. Intuitive learners need to make sure they go over the details of their work and don’t miss anything important.

Visual v Verbal

Visual learners remember pictures and images easier, while verbal learners work best with written and spoken words.

Visual people might:

  • Like seeing charts and graphs instead of written data
  • Enjoy learning from videos and images

Verbal people might:

  • Enjoy learning from reading or listening
  • Benefit from hearing other people’s explanations

As a visual learner, you might find it handy to colour code your work or include lots of diagrams and pictures. Verbal learners can benefit from having something explained to them from multiple perspectives.

Sequential v Global

Sequential people like to follow steps one at a time, while global people can see the bigger picture.

Sequential people might:

  • Want things explained to them step-by-step
  • Learn better by following a logical order
  • Connect small details to find the bigger picture

Global people might:

  • Like seeing an overview of things
  • Learn in large jumps, without following any order
  • Understand the big picture without worrying about the small details

If you’re a sequential learner, you might like to make a step-by-step timeline for yourself of what you’re learning and see how it all connects together easily. Global learners might benefit from seeing a bigger overview or summary of what they’re learning, then going back in to fill in the details.

Remember, most people are a mix of both different styles, and learn best from using a combination of both. Think about which style you prefer, and try and incorporate it more into your studies.

You can take a Learning Styles Questionnaire to see which learning styles might suit you. You can also find more study tips here.

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