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Liggy Webb

The Learning Architect


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Adult Learners’ Week: Learning styles


To tie in with this Adult Learners' Week (12 - 18 May), we're publishing an article a day from L&D practitioner and workplace wellness guru Liggy Webb. Today, learning styles.
It is useful to understand that we are all different and we will learn in different ways. Knowing and understanding your learning style can make a big difference to how well you learn and at what speed. There are so many interesting models about learning; however, here is one of my favourite explanations of the different approaches to learning.

Auditory or visual learners

This indicates the sensory mode you prefer when processing information. Auditory learners tend to learn more effectively through listening, while visual learners process information by seeing it in print or other visual modes including film, picture, or diagram or videos when available.

Applied or conceptual learners

This describes the types of learning tasks and learning situations you prefer and find most easy to handle. If you are an applied learner you prefer tasks that involve real objects and situations. Practical, real-life learning situations are ideal for you. If you are a conceptual learner, you prefer to work with language and ideas; practical applications are not necessary for understanding.

Spatial or non-spatial learners

This reveals your ability to work with spatial relationships. Spatial learners are able to visualise or 'mentally see' how things work or how they are positioned in space. Their strengths may include drawing, assembling things, or repairing. Non-spatial learners lack skills in positioning things in space. Instead they tend to rely on verbal or language skills.

Social or independent learners

This reveals your preferred level of interaction with other people in the learning process. If you are a social learner you prefer to work with others – both peers and instructors – closely and directly. You tend to be people-oriented and enjoy personal interaction. If you are an independent learner, you prefer to work and study alone. You tend to be self-directed or self-motivated, and often goal-oriented.

Creative or pragmatic learners

This describes the approach you prefer to take toward learning tasks. Creative learners are imaginative and innovative through discovery or experimentation. They are comfortable taking risks and following hunches. Pragmatic learners are practical, logical, and systematic. They seek order and are comfortable following rules.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is the continued educational experience that we can embrace perhaps more non-credit academic courses, travel, new hobbies, reading, listening to others ,community service and volunteerism. It is an essential way to fully engage the brain, heighten physical activity, maintain healthy social relationships and to continue to grow and develop.
"Often as we get older we we might feel like the proverbial 'old dog that can't learn new tricks'. That is simply not true as learning enables us to keep up with society's changes - especially the technology which seems to accelerate at an extraordinary rate these days."
When you recognise the benefits gained from keeping your mind sharp you will realise that learning is like a health club for your mind. An active mind can stimulate physical activity and keep your spirits high. It's an all-around fantastic tool for better health. Lifelong learning helps fully develop natural abilities. Some of which might not be readily apparent. One advantage of retirement is that when you are no longer working full time, you will have even more opportunity to fully explore and develop these abilities.
Learning also opens the mind and promotes the free exchange of ideas and viewpoints. There is nothing like listening to or taking part in stimulating discussions to help us see the other side of an issue. That give-and-take opens our minds and brings us to a whole new level of enlightenment.
The more we discover about history, current events, politics, or the culture of other countries, the more we want to learn. There is a big world out there just waiting for our exploration. Travel is certainly a fabulous education and as our drive and desire to learn more fuels itself and we keep going, constantly looking for more things to understand and explore.
Learning also helps us to put our lives in perspective and increases our understanding of the whys and the whats of previous successes and setbacks and helps us understand ourselves better, thus improving our self-awareness and what makes us happy. Lifelong learning also helps us adapt to change. The world is in a state of constant flux. Often as we get older we we might feel like the proverbial 'old dog that can't learn new tricks'. That is simply not true as learning enables us to keep up with society's changes - especially the technology which seems to accelerate at an extraordinary rate these days.
Learning can makes the world a better place. Through the community service aspect of lifelong learning, older learners can give back to their communities and to the world. What we have learnt during our lifetime can be translated into real value for the improvement of society.
When we discover new things and explore new interests it can helps us make new friends and establish valuable relationships. No one enjoys loneliness. And through meeting new people, forging friendships and relationships with others we can enjoy a more active social life.
However we learn new things, whether it is through academic learning, educational adventure travel and a renewed sense of volunteerism, we can expand our awareness, embrace self-fulfillment, and truly create an exciting multi-dimensional life.
How good does that sound?
Liggy Webb is widely respected as a leading expert in the field of modern life skills and workplace wellness. She is the founding director of The Learning Architect a consortium of niche industry experts. For more info visit and For access to more toolkits and information you can email Liggy here

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Liggy Webb


Read more from Liggy Webb

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