This informal CPD article Do you know what your unique learning style is? was provided by Vinit Shah at London School of Sales (LSOS), an elearning company designed for sales people focusing on the importance of mindset and behaviours creating a highly effective and rewarding experience.
How do you learn? Are you aware of the learning style(s) that best support your growth and development? It may not be a question that you have thought about at length, but it’s an important one if you want to make the process of learning enjoyable and rewarding for you. There are so many choices available to us that it can become overwhelming when deciding what the right option is.
If you want to get the best out of any learning experience, then you need to ensure that it’s aligned to the unique way in which you learn and that the timing coincides with the point when you’ve consciously accepted that you’re committed to engaging in the process.
I recall my English Literature classes in high school, where I was given fictional books to read, and asked to analyse and understand the subliminal messages. I did not enjoy reading books at the time, let alone trying to analyse them. On one such occasion, I remember having to read Lord of the Flies and then being asked to answer questions on the key themes. I took it upon myself to find an alternative approach and discovered a film based on the book, which I rented on VHS. I thought it would be a great way to familiarise myself with the storyline. In hindsight, it was not the best idea I’d had. Having only watched the film, I developed an idea of the narrative and the roles of the key characters; however, what I failed to comprehend was some of the messaging around the emotions and the underlying themes that ran through the book.
It took me many years to realise that I had my own unique learning style. Depending on what information I was trying to consume or what my objective was, I needed to apply the appropriate learning style to achieve the best results for me. I realised that reading reams of text made me tired and frustrated and I would lose interest as a result. I couldn’t get away with not reading at university and hence learned to read smaller amounts of text and take more breaks throughout. By doing this, I maintained my focus and was able to retain more of the material that I was studying. Furthermore, I found that listening to individuals describe the content through their own experiences helped me process and retain the information better.
Everyone has a different learning style and it’s important for each individual to identify what works for them and embrace the way that suits them best, or find ways in which they can tailor the information received to help them learn. There are numerous learning systems that have been developed over the years, which are underpinned by specific sensory categories. The acronym VARK has been used to describe these categories: Visual, Auditory, Reading (and Writing) and Kinaesthetic. These categories describe various learning styles. The style or combination of styles you prefer will depend on the type of learner you are as well as the environment and situation you find yourself in.
- Visual learners have a preference for seeing information and like to visualise associations and relationships between elements.
- Auditory learners have a preference for hearing information and are more inclined to listen attentively and focus on the descriptions and voice tones used.
- Reading/Writing learners have a preference for working with information presented in a textual format.
- Kinaesthetic learners have a preference for being more hands-on and learn by experimenting or doing.
Finding your ideal learning style is important because it will make the process easier for you and you’ll be more likely to enjoy the learning experience. Your development is likely to accelerate, along with your ability to connect the different data points and ideas. It is your responsibility to identify your preferred learning style and then find information that is delivered in that format. If you don’t take the time to do this, you could be spending hours trying to learn skills that aren’t calibrated to your unique learning style. This will also have a knock-on effect on your confidence and make you think twice about any future learning opportunities that you may be considering.
Whichever combination of learning styles you prefer, you must take responsibility for your own growth and development. The individuals that succeed do so because they take control of their own development and make it their responsibility to go out and find the answers to questions that they don’t understand in a way in which they can appreciate. Whatever you do, do not leave your development to chance or in the hands of someone else. Your manager can push you and highlight areas for improvement. They can also create the environment for you to grow. However, ultimately, the person that has to go through the learning and development process is you. In my experience, if the person is not willing to put the time and effort in, growth will stagnate, and the individual is unlikely to realise their potential.
It is because everyone has a unique learning style that London School of Sales has created e-learning courses utilising the principles of VARK. Every course and module delivers learnings aimed at various sensory categories. London School of Sales is committed to providing valuable and effective sales training to suit different learner types.
Before you embark on your next learning journey, take some time to understand how the content will be delivered. Ensure this suits your particular learning style and make the most of your valuable time.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from London School of Sales (LSOS), please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.