Learning Styles

In this article we are going to look at how understanding learning styles, is very important in coaching. It is quite obvious to say that we are all individuals and like different things. However what is not so obvious is that we also have our own learning styles or ways of learning. Unfortunately we often get thrown into the same type of learning environment as others and that does not necessarily suit our own particular learning style.
During our NLP Life coaching training, discuss the 4 stages of learning. We also look at the 4-MAT system to further understand how we learn as individuals. It is not the intent of this article to get that deep.

Learning styles

Suffice it to say, that not only do we have preferences in our learning styles, but also different intelligence’s that we employ in our learning.

Our learning styles involves several factors.

• What senses do you prefer to use as you learn?
• What we call your ‘Your strongest Intelligence.’
• Research by Dr Howard Gardner at Harvard University, indicates that we don’t have a single fixed IQ, but rather several different intelligence’s.
• Traditionally academic subjects have been taught emphasizing Linguistic and Logical Mathematical intelligence. Utilizing lectures and logically formatted books and courses, obviously favoring students with these preferred intelligence.
• How do we best help our clients with the other types of intelligence? Understanding the 8 different intelligence, allows us to access all of our clients preferred learning styles and ensure that everyone learns what they need to know in the quickest way for them.

There are at least 8 different types of intelligence’s that can be utilized.

The following also highlight the types of people in which the various intelligence’s may be well developed.

• Linguistic intelligence. People who are good with words, who like to write and read a lot. Examples are authors, journalists, poets, orators and comedians.
• Mathematical/Logical intelligence. People who are good with numbers and prefer step-by-step, logical explanations. Examples are engineers, economists, scientists, lawyers and accountants.
• Visual/Spatial intelligence. People who are good at art, visualizing, navigating. Examples are architects, photographers, painters, strategic planners, and sculptors.
• Musical intelligence. People who are good at music and rhyme and who have natural rhythm. Examples are composers, musicians and recording engineers.
• Bodily/Physical intelligence. People who are good at sport, dance and handicrafts. Examples are athletes, sports persons, carpenters, surgeons, builders.
• Interpersonal intelligence. People who are good at persuasion, selling or teaching. People who can read other people’s moods well. Examples are teachers, trainers, politicians, religious leaders and sales people.
• Intra-Personal or Reflective. People who are good at self-analysis and reflection, drawing conclusions from their own experience (and mistakes), setting goals and making plans. Examples are philosophers, psychologists, therapists.
• Naturalistic intelligence. People who like and respect nature and are interested in subjects like astronomy, evolution and the environment. Examples are farmers, vets, biologists, gardeners and environmentalists.

When we use our preferred learning styles and intelligence, then we will learn easier and have better recall of what we have learnt. The purpose of this section is to understand how our learning and retention ability seems to change during our lives.

Rote-Memory System.

During traditional schooling we learn the left brain method of inputting information; one word at a time, rehearsing it, and hoping that something gets stored. By the time you reached adolescence, you lost track of that natural ability to absorb information.

During the period of time from birth till about age 5, we learn at an incredible rate (i.e., Children taught 2 or 3 languages during this time do not develop an accent.) We see the world around us as a whole, and then break it down into its component parts. Studies have shown that young children learn photographically. Then at about age 5 we start school and are taught the exact opposite way from how we were already efficiently learning. We get taught using the “Rote-Memory System.”

Rote methods are often used when quick memorization is required, example learning your lines in a play or memorizing a telephone number. Rote learning is widely used in the learning of foundational knowledge.

Examples of education topics where Rote learning is frequently used include:

• Phonics in reading,
• The Periodic Table in chemistry,
• Multiplication tables in mathematics,
• Anatomy in biology or medicine,
• Cases in law,
• Basic formulas science, etc.

Rote learning is an ineffective tool in mastering any complex subject at an advanced level. E.g. Rote learning can be observed in preparing quickly for exams by using “cramming”.
Rote learning is sometimes disparaged with the derogatory terms “Learning like a parrot” or “cramming.” The reason is that if somebody uses Rote learning, it may give the wrong impression of understanding.

The point of this article is that there are a number of aspects to consider in our journey of learning. As we are all different it is important to understand that what is the best way for us to learn is not the same as for another. So in coaching our clients, we need to respect and support them in their preferred way of learning.

In the next article we will look at how our learning changes as we progress in life.

I hope you found this article useful and as always ask that you please share it.