Understanding Learning Styles

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Course Description

Welcome to this course on learning styles.

After completing it, you should have a basic understanding of different learning styles and how they apply to today's students. You will learn about:

  • the beginnings of learning style theory

  • multiple intelligences, and how these apply to learning styles

  • assessing learning styles

  • difficulties with learning

  • current research in the field

This course is not just for teachers, as the information about learning styles can relate to other aspects of everyday life, such as business, work, and family.

Some of the fascinating material we will cover includes: intuitive learners, visual learners, verbal learners, active learners, reflective learners, sequential learners, and global learners.

We cover the beginnings of learning styles to include the model developed by Anthony Gregorc, the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and Neil Fleming's VARK Learning Style Model.

The course also includes quizzes to help you assess your understanding of the material. After completing the course, you should be familiar with learning styles, the concept of multiple intelligences, and the basics of theories, such as constructivism. You should also be familiar with how to assess learning styles, and begin to address learning difficulties, plus have an understanding of issues involved in current research as it relates to learning styles. 


Simply stated, learning styles are approaches and ways of learning. Not everyone learns the same way. Some of us learn more easily through seeing. Others learn more easily or primarily by listening. Yet others learn more easily through moving, doing, and touching.

Visual learners

As an example, a visual learner looks at the facial expression and body language of the teacher to understand a lesson. This type of learner will benefit from sitting at the front of the class. Plus, this student tries to avoid visual obstructions, such as looking out a window. These learners also often think in pictures and often take detailed notes. They usually especially love handouts, flip charts, videos, overheads, diagrams, and the illustrations in a textbook.

Auditory learners

Those who are auditory learners learn most easily by listening and talking. They like to take part in discussion and hear what others have to say. They pay particular attention to the voice and its intonation, pitch, and speed. Pictures often have less meaning than what these learners hear. They like to use a recorder and read aloud.

Tactile learners

If you are a tactile learner, you learn best by moving, touching, and doing. You like a hands-on approach. You love the physical world. You could have trouble sitting long. You can become distracted by your need for activity and exploring.

We don't all learn the same way. Of course, not everyone learns in just one way, but we do tend to favor a learning style. We will look more closely at learning styles later in this course.


Some of the other learning styles – in addition to visual, auditory, and tactile -  include global learners, sensory learners, intuitive learners, verbal learners, active learners, reflective learners, and sequential learners. We will look in greater detail at these throughout this course.


Let's review that learning theories describe how a student processes and retains information. This is related to learning style. Much goes into how we learn, as we retain information and acquire new skills. Our emotions, innate abilities, and environment influence our learning. Our experiences and world view influence us, as well, in how we learn. Here are some of the thoughts about learning.

  • Behaviorism looks at a system of rewards in education.

  • Cognitive theory looks at the learner and memory.

  • Constructivism looks at what a learner knows.

  • Multiple intelligences looks at various abilities.

  • Transformative learning looks at changing a world view.

We will examine these ideas throughout this course.


We have seen that each of us has a style of learning that involves a unique approach. As we look at non-traditional educational settings, such as with online learning, let's see how learning styles fit in. An online learner today, if they have a more introspective or introverted learning style, can find it easy to communicate in an online or computer-mediated environment. This could be in comparison to a traditional face to face classroom. Those who like visual communication could find visual elements easier to absorb in an online environment than in a traditional one.

In addition, those who learn well in a non-linear or non-systematic way could learn easily in an online environment, where the instruction could be less systematic and less hierarchical. A well-designed online course can meet the strengths of a variety of learning styles. The use of multiple instructional strategies is a best practice in an online and face-to-face class.

Those who design online courses should keep in mind that the visual or verbal learner learns best when reading information. The auditory learner learns most easily when listening. The nonverbal and visual learner learns well with graphics or pictures. The tactile learner does best with hands-on experiences.

For visual and verbal learners

If a learner is both visual and verbal, the learner does best with teaching materials that include slides and a blackboard. They do well with written materials, in contrast to pictures. An outline to follow can help this learner. They do well with textbooks. An online classroom can include information in writing, so this kind of learner can do well with that type of information.

For nonverbal and visual learners

This type of student learns most easily with picture and graphics. They learn well from videos, maps, films, and other graphics. Images and charts in textbooks, and not just written material, works well also for this learner. This type of learner may be artistic and enjoy any artistic parts of the learning experience. The online classroom can be a good place for this type of learner.

For the auditory and verbal learner

When information is presented orally, these learners do well, as they like to listen to lectures and be part of group discussions. They also learn well from audio recordings. Interacting with others in the classroom is also helpful. Web conferencing in the online classroom can help this kind of learner. The online environment that includes group participation and collaboration will help this kind of learner. 

For the tactile learner

Hands-on activities help this kind of learner. For the online classroom, this can include field trips or field work. It can also include classroom demonstrations and simulations. Lab sessions can help, also. Some online classrooms ask students to come to a physical location such as a lab for some of their work. Online discussion about these experiences can also help. An online dissection of a frog comes to mind as an activity that could help this kind of student in an online biology class. Having a student develop a presentation is another activity that could involve the student in a physical way and help the student learn.


Here is an idea of a way students can determine their learning style as they pick from this type of list, which applies to them.

  • Prefers information presented with a visual aid [visual learner]
  • Prefers to listen to a lecture [auditory learner]
  • Likes to write things down [visual learner]
  • Likes physical models [tactile learner]
  • Prefers graphics and charts [visual learner]
  • Likes maps [visual learner]
  • Prefers listening, to reading a textbook [visual learner]
  • Likes to learn by reading from a textbook [verbal learner]
  • Prefers news from a newspaper [visual learner]
  • Prefers news from a radio broadcast [auditory learner]
  • Learns spelling words by reading aloud [auditory learner]
  • Learns spelling words by looking at them [visual learner]
This approach determines if a person is primarily an auditory, visual, or tactile learner.
  • The auditory learner can concentrate on tapes, and listening again to lecture notes, and reciting aloud.

  • The visual learner can concentrate on charts, maps, notes, and flashcards. Writing out materials frequently can help.

  • The tactile learner can benefit by writing down materials over and over, plus keeping lecture notes and study sheets.

Of course no one is usually just one kind of learner, so using all the approaches can often help.

This course will also look at the basic differences in sensory and intuitive learners, visual and verbal learners, active learners, reflective learners, and sequential and global learners. In addition, we will look at the many ways -- including questionnaires and tests you can take -- to see where you fit in, or how you can help someone figure it out.

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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    Course Lessons

    Average Lesson Rating:
    4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
    "Extraordinarily Helpful"
    (1,957 votes)

    Lesson 1: Introduction

    This course is not just for teachers, as the information about learning styles can relate to other aspects of everyday life: business, work, and family. 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 1 Video
    • Take Survey: Reasons for Taking this Course
    • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
    • Complete: Exam 1

    Lesson 2: Beginnings of Theories

    In this lesson, you will learn about individuals and groups that have approached this subject and how an interest in the learning styles began. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 2 Video
    • Review Article: History of Learning Styles
    • Complete: Exam 2

    Lesson 3: Constructivism

    In this lesson, you will read about the history of constructivism and its role in a number of teaching strategies. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 3 Video
    • Review 3 Articles: Constructionism; John Dewey, American Pragmatist; Jean Piaget
    • Complete: Exam 3

    Lesson 4: Multiple Intelligences

    Developed by Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences refer to many ways to demonstrate intellectual ability. 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 4 Video
    • Review 2 Articles: Musical Intelligence; Intelligence Definition
    • Complete: Exam 4

    Lesson 5: Overview - Learning Styles

    After completing this lesson, you will know the basic differences in learning styles for sensory learners, intuitive learners, visual learners, verbal learners, active learners, reflective learners, sequential learners, and global learners. 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 5 Video
    • Review Article: Learning Styles Resources
    • Complete: Exam 5

    Lesson 6: Assessing Learning Styles

    In this lesson we look at the various tools, such as questionnaires, available to help students, teachers, counselors, and parents assess a learning style to help optimize learning and provide assistance with other activities. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 6 Video
    • Review Article: The VARK Questionnaire
    • Complete: Exam 6

    Lesson 7: Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

    After reading this lesson, you'll understand what educators and researchers mean when they refer to a learning disability (LD). 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 7 Video
    • Review Article: Types of Learning Disabilities
    • Complete: Exam 7

    Lesson 8: Active and Reflective Learners

    After completing this lesson, you should be familiar with the two learning styles, qualities of active and reflective learners, and how best to help maximize learning experiences. 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 8 Video
    • Complete: Exam 8

    Lesson 9: Global Learners

    After completing this lesson you will know about the qualities of the global learner and how best someone with this style can learn. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 9 Video
    • Complete: Exam 9

    Lesson 10: Sensory and Intuitive Learners

    After completing this lesson, you should be able to name qualities of these learners and tips that could help teacher them. 12 Total Points
    • Lesson 10 Video
    • Complete: Exam 10

    Lesson 11: Sequential Learners

    After completing this lesson, you will know the qualities of this kind of student and how best someone with this style can learn. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 11 Video
    • Complete: Exam 11

    Lesson 12: Visual and Verbal Learning Styles

    You should now be familiar with qualities of these learners and what study tips can help them with learning. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 12 Video
    • Complete: Exam 12

    Lesson 13: Current Research

    After completing this lesson, you will be familiar with several areas of research, including the use of computers and technologies in today's classrooms -- and how these can relate to learning styles. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 13 Video
    • Complete: Exam 13

    Lesson 14: Benefits of Studying Learning Styles

    In this lesson, we will look at aspects related to the learner, teacher, parent, and others who can benefit from studying learning styles. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 14 Video
    • Complete: Exam 14

    Lesson 15: Conclusion and Review

    You should be familiar with the diversity of styles, multiple intelligences, assessment tools, issues related to difficulties in learning, and current research in the field. 87 Total Points
    • Lesson 15 Video
    • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
    • Take Survey: Course Comments
    • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
    • Complete: Exam 15
    • Complete: The Final Exam
    Total Course Points

    Learning Outcomes

    By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
    • Define types of learning styles.
    • Describe constructivism.
    • Describe multiple intelligences.
    • Describe methods for assessing learning styles.
    • Summarize learning difficulties and disabilities.
    • Describe active and reflective learners.
    • Describe global learners.
    • Describe sensory and intuitive learners.
    • Describe sequential learners.
    • Describe visual and verbal learning styles, and
    • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

    Additional Course Information

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    Course Title: Understanding Learning Styles
    Course Number: 8900355
    Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
    Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (1,957 votes)
    Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
    Course Type: Professional Development (Self-Paced, Online Class)
    CEU Value: 0.7 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
    CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
    Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
    Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
    Instructor: Dr. Dennis Mithaug
    Syllabus: View Syllabus
    Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
    Course Fee: $55.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $80.00

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