Positive Polarity
by Dave Molenda
January 30th, 2014

Are You Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic?

This edition of my blog will help you understand more about yourself as well as those with whom you come into contact. It is very helpful to be able to understand how learning happens so that you can communicate with your team, your partners and how others can communicate with you.

If you have ever heard of this, then you know the power that is here. The VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) learning styles suggest that most people can be divided up into one of three preferred styles of learning. Here is an overview of each style. Look at them and see if you can find your preferred learning style. If not, there will be some questions at the end that will help you:

  1. Visual – This person has a preference for learning by seeing things or observing things, including pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, hand-outs, flip charts, etc. They use phrases such as “show me” or “let’s have a look at that.” They prefer working from lists, written directions and instructions.
  2. Auditory – This person prefers learning by listening to the spoken word. They use phrases such as, “tell me” or “let’s talk this over.” They can remember all the words that they hear from someone who gives them verbal instructions.
  3. Kinesthetic – This person prefers a physical experience when learning, i.e. touching, feeling, holding, doing, a practical hands on experience. They will use phrases such as, “let me try” or “how do you feel?” and will perform best when trying it out or learning as they go. They will experiment and never look at the instructions first!

So, imagine trying to be a leader of a team that has all three of these styles of learning in the group. If you send an e-mail out with instructions, only part of the group will fully understand what you are saying. Or, if you are in a meeting and you give all the orders verbally to the team, you will be disappointed when not all the participants follow the orders you requested. What is the solution? Well, you can have them all take an assessment to find out the style of learners of which your group consists. Send me an email at dave@positivepolarity.com and I will send you the 30 question assessment free of charge. Then you can have the team take it and this will help you provide them information in a format that you can all understand. You might have to do it three different ways, to three different groups. But it beats them not being able to understand the directions that you are giving.

Sample questions that will help you understand what type of learning style that you have:

  1. If you were buying a new household appliance, you would:
    1. Fiddle with the knobs and test it out
    2. Talk about it with others
    3. Read about the various models
  2. Recalling __________ is usually easiest for me:
    1. Faces
    2. Experiences
    3. Names
  3. When having an issue with an item you bought, you more often:
    1. Take the item back
    2. Write a letter to the company
    3. Call and complain

The answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea on what learning style you have. Ask your team, see what they think. I would love to learn from you what you discovered!

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