Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Learning Styles

Your learning style is the way you absorb and assimilate information. People have different learning styles depending on how their brains work during learning. Four different learning styles are identified as visual, auditory, read & write and kinesthetic styles. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which can help you recognize the most suitable learning style for specific subjects or situations. Some subjects or situations also require you to adopt a style different from your natural learning style.

Visual Learning Style

People who learn best through visual aids have a visual learning style. Visual aids include facial expressions and gesticulations of teachers, pictures, texts with illustrations, DVDs and more. Visual learners think and learn in pictures. Distinct advantages to being a visual learner include creating clear charts and graphs to express concepts and having strong spatial skills that can guide in mapping directions or mapping concept structures. However, a special disadvantage of the visual learning style is the difficulty experienced when visual aids aren't available and only texts and speeches are used in the learning process.

Auditory Learning Style

Some people prefer to learn by hearing what they want to learn. Theirs is the auditory learning style. To learn, such people would prefer listening to discussions, talking matters over, reading out of texts or making use of e-courses containing audio recordings. One special advantage of this style is that you assimilate and retain information without having to see it in texts or pictures. However, the difficulty of learning among silently reading learners – in a library, for example – is one disadvantage.

Read & Write Learning Style

If you learn best by reading texts or writing down notes from what you read, see or hear; then you are defined as a read & write (R&W) learner. R&W learners need writing materials to take down points they think are important from what they read, hear or see. The R&W style has the advantage of making students more independent. With note-taking, they can learn and retain more of the concepts on their own with a learning style that works for them. However, they also face the disadvantage of not being able to learn easily with only visual or audio instruction or where they do not have access to writing materials.

Kinesthetic Learning Style

Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by moving and doing. They prefer interactive learning, learning through practical challenges and hands-on experience and taking in information as they move from one place to another. Kinesthetic learners, therefore, are not comfortable sitting in a place for long. The Kinesthetic learning style has the advantage of exposing learners faster to practice and evidence: You learn as you practice and practice what you learn; you see the evidence of what you had digested with difficulty from texts or discussions. If a kinesthetic learning environment isn't available, students may be at a disadvantage because their need for kinesthetic movement makes the classroom setting uncomfortable and contrary to their learning style.