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How to Use Different Learning Styles for Career Development

David Kolb, in 1984, came up with the definitions of learning styles on the basis of the ability of people to perceive and process data. There are two distinct continuums in relation to this – approach to a task, often also referred to as reflective observation continuum, and an emotional response, which is also identified as concrete experience continuum.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin

The truth is, in today’s world which revolves around learning more, knowing more and better skills - it is only fair for employers to look for people who’re willing to grow and improve themselves. 

Here’s a brief rundown of what we’ll cover:

- What is the relation between learning styles and finding a job?

- Learning style and work performance

- What are the types of learning styles?

- Visual

- Auditory

- Kinesthetic

- Best jobs for visual learners 

- Best jobs for auditory learners 

- Best jobs for kinesthetic learners 

- How to improve your learning style?

What is the relation between learning styles and finding a job?

Learning and acquiring skills and knowledge start right from school. Remember how you loved going to those computer classes and rarely ever found History or Psychology even remotely interesting? It’s because of the way your brain processes information, thereby dictating your approach.

Similarly, at a job, how you retain information and use it plays a major role in expanding your knowledge base. 

Let’s cite an example here. 

Jacob has been a great learner from his early days. He can grasp tough concepts with relative ease and is quick to identify the correct approach to problematic situations. He is trying for a job where he can learn and acquire information, and his affinity towards codes and computers made software development his go-to option. Once he joined work, he approached his manager and informed him of the work styles that suit him. His manager understands the situation and gives Jacob the perfect role for his learning styles and implementation. Jacob is overjoyed, and his performance levels are off-the-chart since.

Learning style and work performance 

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you will learn, the more places you will go. – Dr. Seuss

Jacob is delivering an amazing work-rate and is doing his job with dedication and style. The ebb and flow of the work are serving dividends to his efforts at being the over-achiever that he is.

Now, the question is, how effective are you in your learning process and how well can you reap the benefits later?

John is working in an android game development company – XBX Digital Works, as a software developer and game programmer. His addiction towards computer gaming and equal expertise at understanding the back-end metrics make him the go-to guy when the team is in a fix. His analytical thinking and subjective approach make sure he does not miss out any important detail and is able to deliver most of his tasks flawlessly. At the end of the day, managers and employers are always looking to add a touch of versatility to the workforce. 

Are you prepared to be the X-factor of positive business growth? 

Change is the name of the game, and adapting is the trick.

What are the types of learning styles?

By now, you must be wondering what the learning types are and how do they relate to you! Let us enunciate the learning styles and satisfy your curiosity. 

Visual: According to VAK Model, theorized by Neil D. Flaming, this is the skill of learning by watching or visualization. Also referred to as Spatial Learners, this group of people find it easier to learn by visually experiencing what needs to be done and how it is to be done. The art of learning through visual aid like diagrams, charts, videos, and even day-to-day life experiences, are all instances of spatial learning.

If you are one of those who loves presentations and data analyses, you probably had a keen eye for observing how codes work back when you were a middle-schooler. A humongous 65% fall in this category, and have shown distinct traits of being visual learners. In the present age of digital information exchange, the more you can hone your visual skills and optimize your information processing style, the better off you will be on your road to glory! 

Some classic signs that you are a visual learner

  • Remembering what you’ve read is way easier than remembering what you heard. 
  • Correct spellings and flawless work are your must-haves. 
  • You are always looking to catch a book to read, rather than getting an audiobook.
  • Asking questions is something which you cannot refrain from. Often constructive, you somehow always find the answers, one way or the other. 
  • You always want a quiet time for yourself to go through the things you’ve learnt. 

Auditory: Penny is the wonder-girl of this neighborhood. She has been able to learn speaking in 6 languages at the age of just 9, by listening to various audiobooks and watching videos, movies and documentaries. She is planning to learn Pashto and Czech next.

This shows her incredible capacity at grasping auditory clips and information, and she has the classic traits, albeit to a much greater extent, to be an ace of the auditory learning style. Auditory learning is but an ability to learn or grasp theories by hearing and listening to concepts and what is going on around you. As per Fleming’s VAK model, the auditory learning style is based on deciphering speeches and sound. 

If you have always felt at home listening to songs while working and tend to perform better, chances are you are an exhibitor of the auditory learning type. In fact, the auditory-skilled, at times, face difficulty in understanding instructions in complex language. They are much better off with a verbal briefing or relaying of the information. Are you someone who can easily recall what transpired in a meeting but have a hard time remembering stats from reports? 

Some more signs of being an auditory learner are given below:

You have always been particular about what is being told in the class, and now at client briefing sessions or conferences. 

You are always looking to catch a seat where you can hear clearly. Listening clearly is always your top priority.

Group discussions are your go-to thing. Lots to hear, lots to process! 

If you’re part of the 30% of people who fall under this category, here are some advantages that come with it:

  1. You are amazing at communicating with your colleagues and supervisors.
  2. Multitasking is child’s play for you, depending on the level of skills you have acquired. 
  3. Visual aid is something you can live without, thanks to those great earphones you got for crystal sound. 

So, have you found out how to use your learning style for career development? Because, buckle-up, the best is yet to come! 

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. – Albert Einstein

Kinesthetic: Before you get into all those interesting tit-bits, do you think that experiencing first-hand what you want to learn has helped you acquire the skill? Confused? 

For example, were you always excited to see how your dad works at his garage? And you developed a knack for dealing with cars? If so, here's a fact – just an elite 5% are part of this category, which is termed as kinesthetic learning style

Kinesthetic learners or tactile learners prefer to learn with the help of touch and movement. This type of learning style heavily depends on interaction and ability to learn to cope physically with the job.

Errors and failures do not bog you down. You are always on the hunt to acquire new information from around you. Whenever someone is working, you always take an interest if it is something new you are coming across. Lagging behind gets on your nerves and learning and becoming better is your sole mission and vision.

Some key edges you get over the other two learning styles 

Often, kinesthetic learners are doing tasks which require repetitions, which result in developing sharp muscle memory for the particular task. This greatly reduces chances of errors, as you keep on perfecting your skill each time you use it.

Because you have been through similar situations and conditions, you know the intricacies and possess an improved ability to take the right call. 

Experience is the key to knowledge, and knowledge is paramount to effective critical thinking.

Are you still unable to identify the traits which you can relate to and unsure if you are a kinesthetic learner?

We’re listing a few pointers here for your understanding.

  • You are always a do-er than a say-er! Going through it all the way, along with its ups and downs, are your bread and butter. It’s something you cannot live without.
  • Always getting up and learning something from here and there is your hobby and also sometimes why you get the stare from your manager. But as long as you are learning, you are happy.

While a lot of good is going on with this learning type, some of the things which may go against you are:

Lapse in concentration: Since you are always looking around for new skills to inculcate, you might often lose your concentration and make silly mistakes. Not the best thing your supervisor would want, right?

Not a fan of reading: The Kinesthetic-skilled are not greatly fond of reading. Acquiring and gobbling up information is something you prefer, but not when it is on paper and ink, which can put you in some harsh waters. Verbal instructions and live demonstrations are your strengths, but making your weaknesses your strength is what you are living for, isn’t it?

While kinesthetic learners are few in number, it is also testimony to the fact that this is one of the toughest learning skills to acquire and even harder working on it and enhancing the ability. 

With the various types of learning styles explained, now is the time to acquaint you with the jobs which can best sync with your learning skill. Choosing a job based on your learning skill is of paramount importance if your plans include achieving excellence and success. 

Let us lend a helping hand in your career choosing process.

Best jobs for visual learners 

1. Graphic Designer: Graphic designing demands impeccable skills at color recognition and a true sense of aesthetics, thus making it an apt job for the ones with a visual learning style. Eagles’ eyes help to get the exact tones and designs right for flawless work. Rest assured that without a great vision and knack for noticing even the minutest details, visual learners are adept at pointing out any discrepancy or mistake in color integration or designing. 

2. Photographer: Imagining the landscape and vision to spot it takes great dedication and practice. Visual style learners are highly skilled at relaying stories and incidents through pictures. The inept quality of being able to send a clear and unerring message is something photographers inspire to excel at. 

Who can do it better than a visual learner, who depends on his/her eye-sight to spot the unusual in the usual?

3. Interior Designer: Interior designing calls for great observation and implementation skills. Visual learners expect to go for glory in this profession due to their ability in spotting the right furniture or the right addition to an office space or your house to give it an added touch of style. It is of primal importance to be able to visualize the outcome before the leap. 

4. Architect: Job of an architect demands expertise in predicting the outcomes of the drainage, room designs, soil type, and the type of structure best suited for the particular piece of land. A cumulative spatial learning process can be a great helping hand in this process, making it a preferred job for the visual learners. 

6. Editor: Most people who fall in the category of visual learners are incredibly careful of how they spell and are extremely particular about the perfection of their work, both from a visual and content quality point of view. This demands perfection in the visual learning style, as the job of an editor is all about upping the quality of the content, and the presentation of the same is done in the best possible way being the top priority.

7. Cartoonist: Maria could be often seen with a pencil and paper in her hands from a very early age. She used to love to observe the characters in any show her parents are watching, and would then proceed to draw cartoons of those characters. Bemused, her parents knew that she had a knack in drawing cartoons and identified her visual learning talents. Today, she is a leading cartoonist in a New York children’s journal. 

This proves the point that visual learners are aptly skilled to put what they see into pen and paper and sometimes add their own flavor and touch to it. With its unfathomable depths to explore, cartoon drawing is one of the most preferred jobs for visual learners. 

8. Software Developer: Software development requires a clear mind which can visualize what needs to be done, and can chalk out the next steps accordingly, as required. The ability to imagine what needs to be done is the driving force behind innovation, and after all, innovation is the oxygen for software developers, is it not?

9. Painter: Like a graphic designer, any painter needs a vivid imagination and visualization skill to produce the best of their works. It was the imagination of the sweetness of Mona Lisa, which enabled Pablo Picasso to draw the serene happiness of his famous painting. Spatial learners often use their ability of visual information processing to get their work done. 

10. Data Analyst: If you are planning to pursue a career in data analysis, you are probably already aware that observation is your key strength and detecting the anomalies and the results require meticulous visual data processing while you are doing your job, and asking for great visual learning skill is only fair in this job. 

Are you game? 

11. CNC Programming: This job role asks not only for exemplary visual skills but also particularly amazing implementation procedures. To imagine how the machines would work, and to negate the need for human interference in the operating process of the machine are things which you are looking forward to doing every day. Analyzing technical diagrams and reproducing the same on machine is the motto of spatial learners. 

12. Pilot: It is no breaking news that pilots depend on their cognitive and spatial skills to excel at flying the machines. Visual learning type plays a pivotal role in molding the pilot from being just a pilot to becoming a great one. Strong visual learning ability is a great companion to attain success in this field but is perfect for the visual learner ace.

TRIVIA

It probably goes without saying that the importance of keeping your brain at its best possible condition for maximizing your benefits from a learning style, is indispensable. 

Here are some pro tips to stay sharp:

1. Get enough sleep.

2. Protect your brain with a healthy lifestyle. 

3. Keep your brain nourished with a nutritious diet and consume adequate water to keep yourself hydrated.

4. Exercise regularly. Fitness plays a major role in your brain’s performance. 

5. Take regular breaks: Do not self-burnout by overstressing your brain. Taking a short break now and then in between work is a great way to keep your system refreshed.  

Best jobs for auditory learners 

It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill. – Wilbur Wright

1. Journalist: The core description of a journalist’s job is to listen to what the people have to say and filter information. Thus, it requires auditory skills to catch any information disseminated, and not miss out on anything impactful and crucial. This is why it is one of the go-to jobs for auditory learners. 

2. Lawyer: Lawyers have to be very observant, and it is a professional edge to grab onto any useful information which comes to light inside the courtroom. Impeccable auditory skills surely help the task, as the job is all about calling the right shots at the right moment to convince the judge of the clients’ point of view. 

3. Sales Professional: Sales professionals need to be on the lookout for tit-bits which can help make a deal, for example, some preferences of the client, or maybe some crucial information about a product which would particularly interest the patron. The sales profession is about listening to your client, and who can do it better than experts in the auditory style of learning? 

4. Translator: The primary task of a translator is listening to the speaker. And it takes no rocket science to understand that it requires adequate auditory skills to be a master at this job. Listening intently and catching the words right, processing the information simultaneously are only the basic attributes that an aspiring translator is looking to achieve, a job tailor-made for the auditory learners. 

5. Judges: The job of judges is indeed one which comes with a lot of responsibility and critical judgment ability with prolonged years of practice. However, this also makes it one of the favored jobs for the auditory learning style exhibitors. With the exponential need of being all ears at all times, and processing every other information, it poses as a best-suiting job for auditory learners. 

6. Musician: Musicians are artists who are always striving to achieve a melodic perfection. This calls for acute listening skills, the ability to distinctly differentiate the tones and scales, and of course, a sense of the upbeats and downbeats and identifying transition of the song – the ideal scenario for aces of auditory listeners to show their mettle.

7. Sound Engineer: Like musicians, sound engineers need to be aware of what is the need of the moment and improvise with his/her sense of judgment. Using the right sound sales strategies depending on the content is one of the reasons why auditory learners are inclined to this profession. 

8. Counselor: Patience is a virtue and counselors need to excel at it. However, one needs to be an intent listener to be an effective counselor. Auditory learners are more often than not great listeners, always ready with an ear when you need, and this makes the job of a counselor a favorite among auditory learners and suitable too!     

9. Nurse: Nurses work in a delicate and volatile environment where various kinds of people need to be taken care of in their times of vulnerability and sickness. As a result, nurses not only need to follow the instructions of the attending doctor regarding the medicinal protocols, but also listen to what the patients have to share with them. So, auditory skills are a must for this job. Good listeners are always a step ahead in such a profession.  

10. Disc and Radio Jockey: Disc and radio jockeys have a job description which needs them to be vocal and playing with words and idioms are must-haves. Connecting with the audience and understanding the vibe, all take a high auditory learning skill level. 

11. Therapist: Therapists require listening with utmost sincerity and clarity to identify and diagnose the issues bothering the patient and deciding the best course of action for the particular scenario! This calls for fast information processing and finding the link between what has been told and what is happening, and who better to do this job than someone whose strength is listening to sounds and speeches for deciphering information?  

12. Paralegal: Paralegals are the second fiddle to advocates, but that does not mean they do not need to be on their guard regarding what is being told in the meeting or courtroom. In fact, qualified paralegals are always picking up the tit-bits which go unnoticed and bring it to the notice of the supervising advocate. 

Are you that good a listener which enables you to hear what others do not? 

Best jobs for kinesthetic learners 

1. Chef: Kinesthetic learners being adept at hands-on learning, what can be more exploratory and apt playing field than a kitchen? Chefs’ basic requirement of learning the styles of food preparation of a particular place requires quick adaptation and learning skills. You would not exactly want a Thai flavor in American food, would you? Sense of touch and vision simultaneously are the factors which make kinesthetic learners thrive. 

2. Athlete: Athletes need to push their physical limits to realize their goals and dreams. And this is tailor-made for people who prefer to physically inculcate qualities with dedication and intense physical training to achieve the targets. This is apt for kinesthetic learners, as including both mind and body in the game to succeed is their bread and butter. 

3. Personal Trainer: Chris is going to the gym for nearly a decade now and has taken various courses to become a certified personal trainer. It always has been his dream to be able to help other people learn to enjoy full control over their mind and body. And kinesthetic skill is the apt and singular most suitable ability which can help him go the distance.

When are you starting?

4. Machinist: A majority of the American workforce are working with heavy and light machinery, on a daily basis. This requires a repetition of the procedure multiple times due to the type of task machinists are doled out. In such situations, muscle memory comes in handy to get kinesthetic learners out of the Monday blues and help achieve perfection in the task by sheer ability day in, day out.  

5. Barista: The job description of a barista asks for multiple repetitions to provide premium services to the customers. Needing to be aware of who asked for what, and what needs to be done thereafter, all need to be integrated – and what better way to get these to remember than kinesthetic learning style? Using cognitive abilities, along with your ability to get the job done under strenuous situations, should be a child’s play for the ace of kinesthetic learners.

6. Hospitality Professionals: Hospitality professionals are dealing with different types of customers throughout the day, and it is only normal if you forget some minor detail in long stressful hours of the duty. However, this is exactly what you can negate if you are a kinesthetic learner and are capable of remembering even the minutest of details, courtesy a strong muscle memory, making it an apt job for the kinesthetic learning style. 

7. Farmer: Farming takes in-depth knowledge and absolute surety in what needs to be done and when. Even the slightest mistake can cost you a good season’s harvest. Learning the intricacies of farming is something people develop from a very early age, and farming becomes a part of the way of life. Inculcating necessary skills on the job and ensuring that no task is forgotten, is something that is right down the ally of kinesthetic learners. 

Which path are you on? 

8. Coach: Coaches need to be extremely fit and train at the same time using their physical abilities – a task best carried out by kinesthetic learners. Depending on what needs to be done and how it needs to be done are the only concerns of coaches – the apt playing ground for people who follow a kinesthetic learning style.

9. Carpenter: Carpenters work with heavy and light machinery, and require artistry skills to deliver an admirable piece of furniture. This is achieved better by none other than kinesthetic learners, because of their ability to complete complex procedures with relative ease, while their muscle memory is more often than not playing a useful helping hand. With the ability to imbibe skills by hands-on learning and experience, carpentry is one of the popular jobs among the elite 5%.

10. Surgeon: Another popular yet complex job is that of a surgeon. Precision and accuracy are something all surgeons aspire to master, down the lane. Kinesthetic learning skill gives the ability to be aware of what needs to be done in a critical situation – in a moment’s notice. Making the right call can, in fact, make or break your career as a surgeon. So, if you are a kinesthetic learner, consider this as an apt option if you think you have got what it takes! 


11. Forest Rangers: Sentries of the forest require being able to be ready to answer distress calls any time of the day or night. Being thoroughly acquainted with the protocols and the do’s and don’ts must be perfectly adhered. This specification bodes well with kinesthetic learners as the job requires both mental and physical presence, along with the relevant skills. So, if you are a part of the kinesthetic learning type, this is a job you must check out. 

12. Actor: Acting demands the coordination of the mind with body, and the ability to deliver whenever called upon. A profession which can be enhanced by rigorous practice and experience on the job, it is ideal for kinesthetic learners who have the ability to mold themselves as per the role and its mission, depending on his/her acting prowess.

How to improve your learning style?

The various types of learning styles demand different methods to improve and enhance the qualities, depending on the capacity of the individual in question. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic skills are imbibed from a very early age, but the manifestation does not reach its potential without rigorous and dedicated efforts. 

Some of the ways to improve and work on your learning styles are: 

1. Identify your learning skill: It will be a pretty awkward affair if you are planning to enhance your learning skill without actually recognizing its type or its pros and cons. So, to effectively train yourself to get a better grip on your learning style, identifying how the learning skills work is your preliminary job. 

Travel back in time and identify a situation where you worked exceptionally well and recollect the modus operandi which helped you gain traction in the slippery slope. Were you working alone or with a group? Were there other sounds in the background? Were you looking forward to the study or work session? What kept you going? 

Answers to these questions are critical in order to pinpoint your learning skill. 

Are you on it yet?

2. Group sessions: Many of you are not at home during group discussions, but the matter of fact is, these are a great source to gain critical information and get answers you are looking for. Do not be afraid to learn something that’s not in your comfort zone, and proceed to explain the same to those who are not aware of the topic. This can help you subjectively to find out your strengths and weaknesses, and identify the learning skill you are acing! 

There is no limit to you. 

3. Maintaining a journal: A journal is a window to the mind. Keeping a journal lets you know what your mind is going through during certain situations, the perceptions and the information processing method, along with how it deals with the issue or resolves the fix – these are all answers which can be found by maintaining a journal regularly. Organizing and collecting your thoughts and connecting it by a string is something which will always help you develop your learning style.

Penning thoughts and feelings is an irrefutable method to be in the loop of how your thoughts work and the effects they have on you. Getting in touch with these is exponential to your efforts of maximizing the impact of your learning skill.

4. Getting acquainted with the resource materials and the description of the work: It is extremely important to skim through the notes and the project details to get a comprehensive idea of what needs to be done. Once you are done with this, the next step will be figuring out inculcating the understandings in your final delivery. Processing the information by focusing on the core of the context and the reflective understanding of the same is a prime improving catalyst of enhancing your learning skill type.

5. Enhance your brain’s capabilities using memory improving techniques: Remember the Memory Game you used to play in your childhood? Yes? 

That actually is one of the easiest ways to substantially increase the brain’s potential capability of processing and storing information. Next time, if you are planning to increase your brain's capabilities and are eager to work on your learning style, do not shy away from going down the memory lane and use this technique.

You can also use abbreviations to remember a particular listing order. For example – SEVA (Seville, Eibar, Villareal, Alaves) can help you remember some of the football clubs from Spain, and can help you effectively improve your memory capacity and learning skill.

Today, types of learning skills possessed by an individual play a great role in the overall performance and capability of the person, besides determining his/her versatility.