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LEARNING STYLES & THINKING STYLES


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What is a LEARNING STYLE?   (Take our Free Learning Style Indicator)

A learning style is how you receive information most efficiently (and naturally).
 

AUDITORY   VISUAL   TACTILE


Auditory learners receive information best by listening; they tend to learn best through lectures & audio-based instruction.

 


Visual learners learn better when visual aids are used (slide presentations, films, white boards, etc.). They would rather read to learn than listen to learn.

 


Tactile learners prefer to learn by doing. They learn best when they are allowed to use their hands and sense of touch to learn new information and apply new skills.



What is a THINKING STYLE?  
(Take our Free Thinking Style Indicator)

A thinking style is how you process information most efficiently (and naturally).   
 


LINEAR
THINKER
(Left-Brain Dominant)

 

Linear Thinkers (or "sequential thinkers") prefer a structured approach when processing information. If instructions use a sequenced format (i.e. Step A, Step B, Step C, etc.) strong linear thinkers will feel more comfortable starting "Step B" only after "Step A" has been completed.  Overall, linear thinkers like predictability and consistency.

Mathematics & Accounting are linear-oriented subjects.

Global Thinkers (or "strategic thinkers") are more comfortable with new information if they can put it into context with the big picture. They also tend to be impatient with linear subjects and step-by-step instructions - they prefer access to all the information (early on) so they can relate it to their overall goals.

Philosophy & Literature are global-oriented subjects.

GLOBAL THINKER
 (Right-Brain Dominant)



THINK ABOUT IT


Scenario
 
LINEAR THINKERS GLOBAL THINKERS



Planning a "Road Trip"


They plan out every detail.

(i.e. they will determine the location of restaurants, roads to travel, items to bring)
 


They get in the car and drive.

(i.e. they will determine the destination and deal with any issues along the way)



Assembling Furniture,
Toys, or Electronics


They neatly lay out all the parts and carefully read the instructions before starting the assembly.

 


They look at a picture of the assembled product and try to put it together like a jigsaw puzzle.

(i.e. "this piece looks like it fits here, this piece probably goes over here...").


Of course, it would be nearly impossible for a person to possess only one learning style - or be strictly a linear or global thinker - and still be able to function adequately in our complex world. Even if you have a dominant style, at some point you will need to incorporate a variety of learning and thinking styles to complete certain tasks.  For example, when determining how much to tip a waiter or waitress, you must use linear skills (to calculate the percentage for the tip), and global skills (to judge the quality of service). 


STILL THINKING…

What game do you like to play the most? What part of that game was the easiest for you to learn? As you think about it, you will notice that you incorporate your own personal thinking style into how you learn (and play) your favorite games.  A golfer with a strong linear preference, for example, will have a set routine before each swing and focus intently on the mechanics of the game.  A golfer with a strong global preference tends to be more of a "feel" player and pay less attention to the numerous details of the golf swing.  Of course, it doesn't have to be a game; it can be a hobby, or even a work-related task. Think of your personal thinking style as your personal aptitude, something that comes relatively natural to you.

But what about those boring and tedious tasks you tend to avoid? The first step is to examine how you usually complete those tasks. You might be using a technique that someone else taught you - a technique that worked for your instructor, but may not match your particular way of thinking. If so, consider what you ultimately want to achieve, then re-invent the process using your own learning and thinking style. At first, it may seem a bit awkward because we're all accustomed to following instructions from others, but if you make small changes in the process as you go, the transition to your own style will feel more natural. Equally important, as you apply your own way of thinking to each task, the process becomes less of a chore, and even a personal challenge on how to do it better each time.


MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF

Despite the known benefits of using one's personal learning and thinking style, adults often neglect using their strongest style when learning new information. In fact, many adults still follow the standardized way of learning they were taught in elementary school.  But don't blame the school system entirely, it was designed to educate as many children as possible, as quickly as possible, and as inexpensively as possible - a very difficult assignment, to say the least.

Of course, generic learning in today's fast-paced world is not practical. How quickly you learn and process information will determine how valuable you are to your employer, and how successful you will be in managing your time and resources well into the future.


COMMUNICATING WITH STYLE

But knowing how to learn and process new information efficiently is only the first step.  Unless you're stranded on a desert island and only talk to a volleyball named "Wilson", you need to know how to effectively communicate new information.  Therefore, you should always consider the learning and thinking styles of the people you communicate with.  Do you know someone that "needs" to hear all the details before making a decision - or maybe someone whom quickly loses interest if you provide too many details during a conversation? 

Essentially, you need to hit the hot buttons of the people you communicate with (e.g. provide details to a linear thinker and provide concepts to a global thinker).  In the end, when you provide others the information they need - in a format that's natural to them - they will be more receptive to your message and more likely to remember what you say or write.


WHERE WE COME IN

At Target Learning we can show you how to take advantage of your personal learning and thinking style, and how to communicate with others whom have different styles.  We can also show you how to personally "cross-over" to a style that's not natural to you.  After all, there will be times at work, home, or school when you need to leave your thinking comfort zone to learn and communicate new information. Knowing how to seamlessly adapt to a new way of doing something will reduce your stress, and improve your overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Because we recognize that everyone has their own unique style, our programs do not involve rigid models or formulas that must be followed without deviation. Life is full of deviations; therefore, we'll show you a variety of flexible strategies so you can select which strategies work best for your personal learning and thinking style.  And as you already know, if you're comfortable with a particular strategy, you will continue to use it.

If you have questions, contact us at (800) 692-1727 or at info@targetlearning.net.  Or, to learn more about each of our programs, visit the web page that fits your particular learning situation.
 

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What is your learning style and thinking style?

Definitions for learning and thinking styles.