Types of Learners

by Chloe Peratikou
Experienced Tutor and Literature and Arts Masters Student at the University of Oxford, with a BA (with Honours) in English Literature, First Class

Posted June 2024

Experienced in Study Skills, Chloe talks you through the ‘Types of Learners’.  Take her quiz to identify the type of learner that you are.  Then review her tips and ideas, to see how best to focus your learning and revision, based on your specific learning style.  It is incredible that by better understanding your own style, you can make efforts to improve your learning and make revision more effective (who wouldn’t want that?).

Headshot - Chloe Peratikou

Blog Contents


Now that exams have fully kicked off, you might be regretting decisions you’ve made earlier in the year, thinking that you should have worked harder, concentrated more or kept better notes; or you might be scrambling to cram and wondering why nothing is going in. It’s not your fault! Putting hours into your studies and not getting much back can be frustrating and demotivating, but it’s important to remember that we all learn in different ways, and if you are experiencing difficulty, it’s probably because you are not studying according to your learner type. Similarly, if you are struggling to find the motivation, it could be because you are not maximising your potential and studying in ways that you find boring. Believe it or not, there are ways to make studying more fun!

As the famous quote says, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid. Every single individual is uniquely talented and capable of achieving all of their goals, but in order to do so, we need to find out about our strengths and learn how to work with them.  

In all honesty, I do like to work hard, but I’m also a pretty lazy person, and if there is a shortcut, I am absolutely going to take it. Throughout my many years of studying and teaching others, I’ve learned about the 4 learner types and have used this method to develop individualised strategies to help my students thrive. In this article, I’m going to teach you how to identify what type of learner you are and how to use this information to make the most out of your study sessions.

The Types of Learners

First, let’s start by introducing each type of learner:

  1. Visual learners: visual learners prefer to see information and visualise relationships between ideas. They often think in pictures and may learn best from diagrams, charts, videos and written directions. They are often good at remembering faces and visual details, enjoy visual arts, and find colour coding helpful for organising information.
  2. Auditory learners: auditory learners learn best by listening. They benefit from lectures, discussions, and audio materials. They are often good at remembering names and sounds, enjoy music, and find reading aloud helpful for remembering information.
  3. Kinaesthetic learners: kinaesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach. They learn best by doing and engaging in physical activities. They are often good at remembering the things they’ve done rather than things they’ve seen or heard, enjoy building and creating things and find it easier to learn when they are moving around.
  4. Reading/writing learners: these types of learners prefer to learn through written words. They excel with reading and writing tasks. They are often good at taking notes and making lists, enjoy reading and writing and prefer manuals, reports, essays, and other textual formats.

It’s completely normal to identify with more than one of these learner types, or even all of them. It’s also possible that you identify with a learner type, but don’t fit into every single criterion. For example, I am mostly an auditory learner, but I am not the best at remembering names, still use a lot of writing and reading methods, and even find some kinaesthetic strategies helpful. It’s okay to mix and match based on what you need to do and what you are in the mood for! As I said, we are all unique individuals and it wouldn’t be possible for all of us to neatly fall into 4 categories. With that in mind, we do tend to have more dominant characteristics in certain learner types.

Take the Quiz!  Which type of learner am I?

If you are still unsure, here is a quiz to help you identify the type of learner that you most identify with.

A. Watching a video (with no sound)

B. Asking someone and listening to their explanation

C. Trial and error

D. Reading instructions

A. Look at pictures or a step-by-step visual guide

B. Call a friend and have them explain it to you over the phone

C. Start cooking and learn as you go

D. Read the recipe

A. Watch a video of people dancing in that style

B. Attend a dance class where the instructor explains the moves

C. Practice the dance moves repeatedly on your own

D. Read written descriptions of the dance steps

A. Look at photosynthesis diagrams

B. Listen to an explanation about the process

C. Conduct experiments with plants to observe photosynthesis in action

D. Read about photosynthesis

A. Drawing or watching an old downloaded movie

B. Listening to music or podcasts

C. Building something or playing a sport

D. Reading a book or writing (e.g. journaling, creative writing etc.)

A. Pictionary

B. Taboo

C. Charades

D. Scrabble

A. Watch a silent movie

B. Listen to an audio book

C. Participate in a play

D. Read the story yourself

A. Visualise it in your mind

B. Say it out loud or repeat it to yourself

C. Re-enact or practice the activity

D. Write it down (please only pick this option if writing it down would help you remember even if you didn’t have access to the note later on)

A. Creating mind maps and diagrams

B. Discussing the material with others

C. Practicing past paper questions

D. Reading and rewriting notes

A. Making a mind map about it

B. Talking about it or listening about it

C. Playing an interactive game or moving about as you recall it

D. Reading about it

A. Using a map

B. Having someone tell you where to go

C.Practicing the route yourself

D. Reading written directions

A. What they looked like, their face, or their clothing

B. The sound of their voice or something they said

C. Their handshake or a physical interaction you had with them

D. Something that they sent you in a text message

A. Anatomy and diagrams

B. Processes which you’ve heard about

C. Experiments which you’ve conducted

D. Processes which you’ve read about

A. I prefer to see how things are done

B. I learn best when I can hear the information

C. I need to move around or be hands-on to learn

D. I remember things best when I read or write them

The Score!  What are you?

Mostly A’s: Visual Learner – You learn best by seeing and visualizing information.

Mostly B’s: Auditory Learner – You learn best by listening and hearing information.

Mostly C’s: Kinaesthetic Learner – You learn best by doing and engaging in physical activities.

Mostly D’s: Reading/Writing Learner – You learn best through reading and writing.

If you are still not sure, you can ask yourself these two questions to figure out which type of learning you rely on the most:

What’s one tool/method that you would find very difficult to study without?

A. Diagrams, charts, colour coding

B. Lectures, discussions, audio recordings, music

C. Hands-on activities, physical objects, interactive tools

D. Textbooks, notes, written instructions

What is your worst nightmare?

A. Needing to understand a complex topic with no access to images or diagrams. Being at a presentation where the person is explaining things without any visual aids. Reading long chunks of text with no subheadings, colour coding, or diagrams.

B. Having to study in complete silence without the opportunity to discuss or listen to explanations, or studying somewhere which is really noisy. Being required to learn only through reading without the opportunity to hear explanations. Taking a course that relies solely on written materials without any lectures or discussions.

C. Being confined to a desk all day, or in a setting where moving around is not allowed or possible. Having to sit through long lectures without any break for interactive activities. Having to take a year’s worth of science classes without doing any experiments or practical sessions.

D. Not having access to any books, written notes, or written instructions. Having to rely exclusively on oral instructions with no written information provided. Having to learn entirely through videos or diagrams, without any text to read or write.

So, now that you have identified the type of learner that you are, take a look at some study methods that will help you do best!

Top Tips on ‘How to Learn’, based on your learner type

If you are a visual learner, here are some ideas on how to study effectively:  

  • Organise your information into mind maps. Take the time to learn how to properly make mind maps and use it as one of your primary notetaking methods.
  • Make flowcharts to condense long processes. You can do this for science processes such as photosynthesis or mitosis, or history questions that cover cause and consequence.
  • Colour code your notes so that you know what the information will be about before you even read it.
  • Break down information into flashcards and go through them regularly.
  • Watch videos and animations, or even make your own! (could be a little side-income project).
  • Ask your teacher if it is possible for them to provide written material prior to the lesson so that you can follow along whilst they are explaining, or make your own by jotting things down as they are speaking.
  • Make posters and stick them around your room so that you can look at them throughout the day.
  • Add post-it notes on areas that you visit regularly and look at them before doing that task (e.g. put one on your mirror to look at before brushing your teeth).
  • Keep your study space tidy and have only whatever is absolutely necessary near you to minimise distractions.
  • When taking notes, break down information into subheadings and include bold and italics to emphasise important points. Similarly, split information into bullet points or lists for easy visualisation.
  • Practice visualising information or scenarios in your mind’s eye. For example, if you’ve just studied a diagram or timeline, close your eyes and try to visualise it. You can also do this on the bus, before you sleep, in the shower etc. Get creative!
  • Make notes visually appealing to you.
  • If you are trying to remember the plot of a text, a specific event, or scientific process, you can use storyboarding to map out a sequence of events or processes.
  • Use a whiteboard and coloured pens to draw/write out concepts and ideas.
  • Add visual elements on the texts that you are reading, such as annotations, highlighting, symbols and marginal notes.
  • For history, make timelines to help you organise the events of the time period.
  • If you have the opportunity, try out VR for an immersive visual experience.
  • Fun study ideas to do with friends:
    • If your friend is an auditory learner, you can make a PowerPoint presentation and they have to use whatever you made to explain the material to you!
    • If your friend is a kinaesthetic learner, you can work on 3D models and diagrams together, or you can transform their 3D models into diagrams
    • If your friend is a reading/writing learner, they can have a go at writing out detailed descriptions to your diagrams, and you can make diagrams out of their written descriptions.
    • If you are both visual learners, then share diagrams with each other, and test each other using your flashcards!


If you are an auditory learner, here are some ideas on how to study effectively:

  • Listen to lectures, podcasts and audiobooks. You can find these on pretty much any topic if you just look for them! Jot down important bits as you are listening to help keep yourself engaged.
  • Record yourself reading your notes and listen to it on repeat. This can feel awkward at first, but trust me, it works so well!
  • Intergrade learning into your everyday life by listening to material whilst engaging in other activities that don’t require too much attention, such as when painting, on your way to school, whilst going on a walk, whilst cooking, whilst exercising, etc.
  • Join study groups to discuss or debate topics. If you don’t have any in your school, start your own or get some friends!
  • Make sure that you make the most of your time in class, while you are likely to be getting a lot of auditory stimulus from your teacher. Stay concentrated on the lesson and remain engaged by asking questions and participating in class discussion. If you properly utilise your time in class in will cut your study time in half!
  • Read material out loud or use AI tools to read it out to you as you follow along.
  • Create acronyms to remember lists or sequences.
  • Use rhymes and songs. Have a google as there are many that already exist, or make your own!
  • Teach others. Get your friends together and teach each other! If your friends aren’t available, pets and stuffed animals also work. Or make a video of you pretending to teach.
  • Make audio flashcards, or make sure to always say all information out loud when going through flashcards.
  • Listen to instrumental music or white noise to help you focus. Avoid music with lyrics.
  • Verbally summarise what you’ve learned after reading or listening to new information.
  • Use sound associations to associate specific concepts with what they sound like. For example loquacious is someone who is very talkative. I remember it because loquacious sounds like a duck quacking. Hearing quack, quack, quack can represent someone who speaks a lot.
  • Use narrative learning to turn information into a story or narrative. This is really helpful for English and History, but can also be used for scientific processes.
  • Fun study ideas to do with friends:
    • If your friend is a visual learner, then get them to make PowerPoint presentations and have a go at presenting them out loud.
    • If your friend is a kinaesthetic learner, then have a go at verbally describing whatever 3D model they create. You can also both benefit from doing role play exercises with each other.
    • If your friend is a reading/writing learner, they can write things down for you and you can have a go at repeating them out loud, or you can give a presentation about a topic, and they have to listen and jot things down as you speak.
    • If you are both auditory learners, then engage in discussions and give each other presentations about the topics that you are studying!

If you are a kinaesthetic learner, here are some ideas on how to study effectively:

  • Engage in role play and get actively involved in learning the topic.
  • Make 3D models of processes or conduct experiments to help you remember what you are learning about.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your learning. For example, move about while you study, or memorise a process by making up a series of movements to go along with it.
  • Keep yourself engaged by incorporating movement as you are learning about things. For example, through foam balls into a bin as you are recalling formulas.
  • Use physical objects like blocks, beads or puzzles to learn mathematical concepts.
  • See if it’s possible to visit a museum, historical site, or industrial site on the topic that you are learning about. Engaging in such an immersive experience will help you to remember information much easier.
  • Whilst you are listening to information, you might find it helpful to scribble, doodle, fidget, or do something else with your hands such as knitting. Try this out first as it does help some people, whilst other people find it even more distracting. If you find this helpful, speak to your teachers about allowing fidget toys or doodling in the lesson. Explain to them that this is just helping you to concentrate, and you are not being rude/not listening!
  • Practice measurements and unit conversions with real examples.
  • For literature, act out some scenes yourself to help you better remember them, or see if there is a production that you can watch/attend.
  • If you are using flashcards, opt for physical ones rather than digital ones as the physical activity involved in turning them over can help to keep you engaged. You can even place the answer in a different part of the room, so that you can walk to it while recalling the information.
  • Fun study ideas to do with friends:
    • If your friend is an auditory learner, then you can both benefit from doing role plays with each other. You can also make a 3D model of something and ask them to teach the topic using your model.
    • If your friend is a visual learner, they might also benefit from having a go at describing your 3D model. They can also have a go at turning your 3D model into a diagram.
    • If your friend is a reading/writing learner, they can have a go at using the model that you’ve created to write about the process you are describing. Share notes and explanations with each other! They can also write a script for your role play.
    • If you are both kinaesthetic learners then work together on these models and play learning games with each other that allow you to move about, such as passing a ball between you as you ask each other questions related to the topic that you are studying.

If you are a reading/writing learner, here are some ideas on how to study effectively:

  • Write detailed notes during lessons and while reading textbooks. Make sure to summarise key points using your own words.
  • Use headings, subheadings and bullet points to organise your notes.
  • Regularly rewrite and reorganise your notes to help you consolidate information. For example, a week or two after writing your notes, reread them and see if you can condense them or reorganise them in any way. Re-write them in this new way and repeat the process a few weeks later. It can be tempting to spend a lot of time making sure that your notes look aesthetic but since you will be re-writing them so much, try not to waste so much time on this. You learn best by the process of re-reading and re-writing so as long as your notes are legible, they don’t need to be works of art!
  • Read widely! Apart from reading your textbook, you can also read academic papers and online articles related to your topic.
  • Write out flashcards and use them to test yourself and your friends.
  • Practice writing as often as possible, especially for essay subjects. Do mock questions regularly.
  • Write annotations around your text as you read, summarising paragraphs and important key points. You can use post-its if you’d want to repeat this process in the future.
  • Participate in online forums or discussion boards related to your topic, where you will get the opportunity to write out your responses to topics.
  • Write out detailed essay plans, scientific processes or maths step-by-step guides. Review these regularly and challenge yourself to condense them every time you look at them.
  • Study in a quiet space to avoid auditory distractions.
  • Re-read your notes regularly and check your knowledge through blurting.
  • Fun study ideas to do with friends.
    • If your friend is a visual learner, then get them to make diagrams and flow charts and have a go at using these to write out detailed descriptions of the topic. Or give them written descriptions to turn into flow charts.
    • If your friend is an auditory learner, have them give a presentation to you as you write down everything they say, or give them a written description to present out loud.
    • If your friend is a kinaesthetic learner, write out detailed descriptions of the 3D models that they make, or get them to make 3D models based on your written descriptions. Have a go at writing out role play scripts for them to act out.
    • If you are both reading/writing learners then write out notes on the same topic, swap, read each other’s notes, and have a go at re-writing what they’ve written about in your own words. You can repeat this process multiple times.

These are my tips on identifying the type of learner that you are and ensuring that you make the most out of your talents. Studying in ways that work best for you will help to keep you motivated, not only because you will be enjoying it more, but also because you will feel encouraged by the quick results! When working with friends, remember to help each other out and share material with each other to make your lives easier! It’s also important to study with the right study company – if you choose to study with friends, make sure that you are studying with friends who are motivating you, not distracting you! Try to employ these strategies from the beginning of your course to make the most out of your study time.

If you would like more details on any of this, we will be hosting summer workshops on types of learners and other study skills, so make sure to book your spot! You can use this opportunity to ask questions and clarify anything that you are unsure about.