24 kinds of learning

Learning can be defined as the way in which living beings obtain and assimilate information.

In the case of human beings, there are several classifications of types of learning according to various authors of pedagogy and psychology.

Each of these learning styles responds to different factors considered key to understanding and processing information, from cognitive representation systems to personality types.

Types of learningCategories:CharacteristicsAuthors
According to the representation system
  • Visual.
  • Auditory.
  • Kinestésico.
  • Multimodal.
Learning through visual, sound, movement resources or a combination of two systems.Richard Bandler and John Grinder (1970s)
According to personality
  • Active.
  • Reflexive.
  • Pragmatic.
  • Theoretical.
Learning according to the tendency to experiment, introversion, practicality or theoretical verification.Peter Honey y Alan Mumford (1986)
According to sensory dimensions
  • Sensorial.
  • Intuitive.
  • Sequential.
  • Global.
  • Verbal.
  • Visual.
  • Active.
  • Reflexive.
Learning according to sensory stimuli. The information can be assimilated in an experimental, observational, orderly, holistic, verbal, graphic, practical or theoretical way.Richard Ferlder y Linda Silverman (1988)
According to thinking preferences
  • Rational.
  • Careful.
  • Experimental.
  • Emotional.
Learning according to brain activity. Information can be processed in a logical, observant, practical, or emotional way, depending on the dominant quadrant in the brain.William Herrmann (1998)
According to the learning agent
  • Convergent.
  • Divergent.
  • Assimilator.
  • Accommodating.
Learning according to genetics, life experiences and the demands of the environment. Information can be received and assimilated in a concrete, creative, abstract or adaptive way.David Kolb (1984)

Types of learning according to the Representation System

In the 1970s, the psychologist Richard Bandler and the linguist John Grinder argued that human beings perceived the world in different ways.

According to this approach, there are several systems of representation of reality that are what make learning possible and in each person there are one or two dominant systems.

1. Visual representation system

It is a type of learning characterized by the assimilation of information through the sense of sight.

Example: people who make annotations, drawings, or mind maps to retain what they are learning. They are also people who prefer written or graphical data to better understand it.

2. Auditory representation system

This learning style involves active listening to collect and process information.

Example: people who have a greater affinity for materials in audio format (such as recorded lectures, audiobooks, podcasts) or who prefer to listen to directions rather than read them.

3. Kinesthetic representation system

It involves learning through movement or direct experimentation with what you want to learn.

Example: a kinesthetic person will learn a recipe better by preparing it directly than by watching a video.

4. Multimodal representation system

It is a type of learning in which more than one representation system is present.

Example: an auditory and kinesthetic person may have professional dance skills, because they have a tendency to learn through sound and movement.

Types of learning according to personality

For British researchers Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, there are four learning styles according to personality traits. This model is considered an evolution of the work begun by the psychologist David Kolb, who had proposed his theory of experiential learning or “learning by doing”.

1. Active learning style

It is the style of the people who tend to participate or get involved in the experiences.

Example: people who perform better in practical activities than in those that are more theoretical, such as high-performance athletes.

2. Reflective learning style

It is the way of learning typical of people with a tendency to introspection and observation.

Example: people who prefer to study or do activities alone often have this learning style.

3. Pragmatic learning style

This type of learning is for those who need to obtain knowledge for practical, utilitarian purposes. For this reason, people who respond to this style do not do well at assimilating abstract information.

Example: those who need information with testimonials, success stories or verifications is because they probably learn with this style.

4. Theoretical learning style

As its name indicates, this way of learning requires information with theoretical bases, which demonstrate to the individual the existence of a logic that supports reality.

Example: those who have a penchant for science or research.

Types of learning according to sensory dimensions

In 1988, engineer Richard Felder and psychologist Linda Silverman developed a model that described learning styles classified according to what they called dimensions, which are the dominant stimuli for perceiving information.

1. Sensory learning style

It is the way of learning characteristic of those who prefer practical activities.

Example: students who have inclinations for those areas of study in which they can experience or live what they require to learn, such as science or the arts.

2. Intuitive learning style

It involves the discovery of new information by your own means.

Example: people dedicated to intellectual or investigative work, who use existing knowledge to create new hypotheses, concepts or theories.

3. Sequential learning style

It is a way of learning typical of those who need to concatenate related data.

Example: people who need to understand a topic in depth before moving on to the next have this style of learning.

4. Global learning style

They can view information holistically, making it easier for them to integrate data to draw conclusions.

Example: people with the ability to solve complex problems can have this type of learning.

5. Verbal learning style

In this case, the information is assimilated orally or in writing.

Example: those who can listen to a class and remember what the teacher said, or those who take notes.

6. Visual learning style

The information is obtained from images (photos, videos, diagrams, etc.).

Example: people with photographic memory or those who need to make diagrams, hierarchies or mental maps to understand a topic.

7. Active learning style

In this case, the information is processed if it is applied or experienced.

Example: those who need to explain what they have learned to retain the information, respond to this type of learning.

8. Reflective learning style

It is the style of the introverted and observant people. They are not usually very participatory.

Example: people who prefer to study alone, or who need to reflect a lot on a topic before drawing a conclusion, have this type of learning.

Types of learning according to thinking preferences

In 1998, the researcher in organizational psychology, William Herrmann, stated that the brain was divided into four quadrants, each with a different way of perceiving and operating in reality. According to this theory, learning processes are different according to the tendency to use one or the other quadrant, what Herrmann called “thinking preferences.”

1. Rational learning style

Here the use of the quadrant that corresponds to the left cortex predominates, in charge of logical processes.

Example: people who are more comfortable learning with practical and proven methods rather than experimentation respond to this learning style.

2. Careful learning style

It corresponds to the left limbic quadrant, in charge of sequences and planning.

Example: People with this preference tend to learn best through patterns, classes, or structured study.

3. Experiential learning style

It corresponds to the area of ​​the right cortex, in charge of strategic thinking. People with this preference can understand concepts in a global way.

Example: researchers, academics or people with problem solving skills.

4. Emotional learning style

It corresponds to the quadrant of the right limbic, in charge of emotions and creativity.

Example: extroverts, they have a better performance working in a group and require constant stimulation so as not to get bored.

Types of learning according to the modeling agent

In addition to his theory of experiential learning, in 1984 David Kolb created a model to explain four different processes in which people receive and process information according to three modeling agents: genetics, social circumstances, and life experiences.

1. Convergent learning style

It corresponds to the people who perceive the information in a concrete way and have the facility to find practical solutions.

Example: people who have the ability to synthesize knowledge graphically (diagrams, plans, maps, etc.).

2. Divergent learning style

It corresponds to people who have the facility to think of multiple solutions, especially of a creative type. They have a tendency to generate innovative ideas.

Example: artists, designers, creatives, inventors.

3. Assimilating learning style

It is the style of those who have the greatest ability for abstract knowledge, which is why they tend to stand out in the field of research.

Example: scientists, programmers, engineers.

4. Accommodative learning style

It is a type of learning characterized by rapid adaptation to multiple situations, a greater capacity for resilience and a better disposition to interact socially and lead others.

Example: people with a flair for leadership, great speakers and lecturers, etc.

See also: Types of memory: short-term memory, long-term memory and sensory memory.

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