The 8 types of learning styles and how to engage them in your workplace training

Teaching different learning styles doesn’t stop in the classroom. Learning styles must also be accommodated in the workplace to develop effective training programs that promote professional success.

Does your company’s training program consider various learning styles? Or was it developed once a long time ago, and never revisited?

Understanding different learning styles is crucial in today’s diverse business environment. Effective training and professional development can and should drive success across all levels of your organization. Every employee has a unique way of absorbing and processing information. Recognizing these differences and providing learning opportunities for them isn’t just beneficial— it’s essential for delivering results. 

Whether you’re a seasoned trainer, a manager needing to enhance your team, or an HR professional developing training modules, you need to consider different learning styles when creating your professional development program. 

Here, we’ll guide you through the different types of learning styles and offer insights on how to tailor your training sessions to cater to diverse learners. 

Let’s unpack how to harness the potential of learning styles to create the most effective learning environment for your business.

What is a learning style?

A learning style is the unique approach each individual takes when learning new information. 

Everyone learns in their own unique way. Whether it’s a method you’ve intentionally honed over time, or a style you’ve naturally drifted into, understanding your preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining information can make a big difference. 

Some people clearly grasp how they learn best, while others might discover their optimal learning style through trial and error. 

While not everyone has the same way of learning, one thing is certain— uncovering and utilizing learning styles leads to stronger outcomes inside and outside the classroom. 

The fundamental goal of learning is the outcome. The fundamental function of applying different learning styles is to optimize how these outcomes are achieved. 

Recognizing different learning styles is more than just an academic exercise. It’s essential in practical terms, too. 

By identifying how you or your team members learn best, you can:

  • Boost engagement
  • Improve learning outcomes
  • Make learning more enjoyable
  • Increase the effectiveness of  lessons
  • Enhance personal and professional development

Acknowledging these styles ensures everyone has the best chance to succeed and grow in workplaces and educational settings. 
When learning is aligned with an individual’s natural preferences, it becomes more impactful, less stressful, and, frankly, more fun. This alignment is key to fostering an environment where everyone can thrive.

What are the types of learning styles?

Many models classify learning styles, but Neil Fleming’s VARK model is one of the most popular. Introduced in 1987, Fleming’s model includes an inventory to help learners identify their personal learning preferences. By completing this inventory, both teacher and student can begin to understand how they best absorb information. 

So, what are the different learning styles according to this model?

Here are the four main learning styles and examples:

The four main learning styles are commonly referred to by the acronym VARK. VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic.

Visual (spatial)

Visual learners prefer organizing information using pictures, images, diagrams, colors, and maps. They tend to visualize concepts to understand them fully and benefit significantly from visual aids such as charts, graphs, and videos.

Auditory (aural)

These learners rely on listening and speaking as their main mode of learning. They prefer lectures, discussions, podcasts, and any other form of verbal communication. Auditory learners are typically good at remembering information delivered aloud and can benefit from using mnemonics or engaging in group discussions.


This group prefers learning through written words. Unlike visual learners who prefer charts or graphs, reading/writing learners excel when they can read the information and write it down. They thrive on lists, notes, and text in all formats, including manuals, reports, and essays.

Kinesthetic (tactile)

Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn through doing and experiencing. They need to engage in an activity to understand it clearly and physically. Hands-on learning, demonstrations, case studies, and practice are preferred learning tools for kinesthetic learners. They often excel in situations where they can build models or directly manipulate the material.

Beyond the four primary learning styles, there are a few additional styles to consider:

Logical (Mathematical)

Learners with a logical style prefer using reasoning and systems to understand information. They excel in categorizing and structuring content, making them naturally adept at subjects that involve complex reasoning, such as mathematics and computer science.


Those who learn best through musical means often use rhythms and songs to memorize information. This style can enhance retention in any subject by creating musical associations with content, but it is particularly useful in music theory and performance studies.

Interpersonal (Social)

Social learners find that interaction with others enhances their learning experience. They thrive in group projects and collaborative tasks. This style benefits from environments encouraging dialogue and teamwork, which is useful in business studies and project-based learning.

Intrapersonal (Solitary)

Solitary learners prefer to work alone and rely on self-study. They perform well in settings that allow individual research projects and self-paced learning, such as online courses and independent study modules.

How these styles play a role in comprehensive training approaches

Integrating these eight learning styles into educational planning ensures a more rounded approach to teaching and learning. Training managers and team leaders who are responsible for onboarding in your company should be aware of these styles and how to employ them. 

Recognizing these styles helps trainers provide targeted interventions for employees struggling under traditional teaching methods. It also encourages a more dynamic and flexible learning environment where employees can thrive in ways that align with their natural preferences. This approach supports professional success and promotes a culture of continuous learning

For example, making use of a tool such as a mobile learning platform allows trainers to design versatile and engaging content tailored to different learning styles. Visual learners can be engaged through graphical card sets, auditory learners through audio integrations, and kinesthetic learners through interactive elements.

Overlaps and distinctions among different types of learning styles

Recognizing the overlaps and distinctions among different learning styles is crucial for many reasons. Here’s why:

Enhance learning efficiency

Educators can design activities that simultaneously reach multiple learning styles by understanding the overlaps. For example, a lesson that combines visual aids with structured text can simultaneously engage visual, read/write, and logical learners. A multifaceted approach maximizes the efficiency of teaching by accommodating diverse learners. The goal is for this to be done within a single instructional strategy. 

Personalize training

Acknowledging distinctions recognizes each learner’s unique needs. The kinesthetic learner needs physical interaction with the material, and the visual learner needs images for clear understanding. Personalization ensures each learner receives information most effectively. The goal is to increase understanding and retention. 

Inclusion and engagement

Recognizing both overlaps and distinctions in learning styles creates a more inclusive learning environment. This inclusivity can promote employee development and engagement, as learners feel understood and valued.

Improved learning outcomes

Reducing frustration and increasing motivation are critical factors in successful learning outcomes. Both can be achieved when training strategies align with employees’ natural preferences. Team members engaged with their ideal learning style are more likely to participate actively and excel in their roles.

Let’s take a look at some examples of overlaps and distinctions for our visual and read/write learners here:

Learning StyleOverlapsDistinctions
VisualOverlaps with Read/Write and Logical in appreciating structured, visual information.Distinct from Kinesthetic, Visual relies on sight and images, while Kinesthetic involves physical manipulation.
AuditoryOverlaps with Musical in the use of sound.Distinct from Read/Write, as Auditory focuses on hearing information, whereas Read/Write focuses on text.
Read/WriteOverlaps with Visual and Logical in preference for structured text.Distinct from Auditory, Read/Write learners engage more with written text than spoken words.
KinestheticOverlaps with Logical in engaging through action and problem-solving.Distinct from Visual, focusing on physical engagement over visual aids.
LogicalOverlaps with Kinesthetic in problem-solving and with Visual and Read/Write in structured information processing.Distinct from Musical, Logical learners use reasoning over musical patterns.
MusicalOverlaps with Auditory through sound, but focuses on musical elements.Distinct from Logical, Musical learners engage with rhythm and tunes rather than structured reasoning.
InterpersonalOverlaps with Interpersonal in deep content engagement, either through social interaction or self-reflection.Distinct from Intrapersonal, Interpersonal learners require group interaction to learn effectively.
IntrapersonalOverlaps with Interpersonal in deep content engagement, but through solitary activities.Distinct from Interpersonal, focusing on independent rather than group learning.

Practical tips on how to identify your own learning style

1. Reflect on past learning experiences

Think about your past learning successes and what made them effective. Do you prefer listening to lectures, watching demonstrations, reading texts, or engaging in hands-on activities?

2. Experiment with different methods

Try out various learning methods for a new topic. For instance, watch a video, read an article, listen to a podcast, and engage in a workshop. Note which method made learning easier, more enjoyable, and more effective.

3. Take a learning style assessment

Many free assessments are available online to help you identify your learning style by asking questions about your preferences.

4. Seek feedback

Ask friends, family, or colleagues to observe you in a learning environment and provide feedback on what seems to engage you the most.

5. Analyze your teaching preferences

How you teach or prefer to convey information often mirrors your learning preferences. Consider what methods you use most effectively when explaining complex information to others.

Understanding your learning style isn’t about limiting yourself to one type of learning. Instead, it’s about leveraging your strengths and being aware of your preferences so you can design a learning approach that suits you best. This way, you can enhance your learning efficiency and enjoyment.

Blended learning approach: What it looks like in action

If you’re wondering how to incorporate blended learning into your organization’s learning and development, look no further. Here are some common ways to leverage the blended learning approach. 

During the onboarding process, online modules can efficiently cover company policies, procedures, and compliance training. In-person sessions might focus on team introductions and role-playing. 

Leadership is another great integration opportunity. Aspiring leaders can engage with online coursework at their own pace. Hands-on workshops and seminars can supplement leadership exercises in a group setting. 

For technical skill acquisition, foundational knowledge can come from online tutorials. Hands-on workshops can hone practical skills for your tech or manufacturing professionals. 

Compliance training is another area ideal for a blended format. E-learning modules make dry regulatory content more engaging. Face-to-face discussions can focus on specific workplace scenarios. 

Sales and customer service-based businesses can combine online courses that provide video demonstrations with classroom sessions focused on role-play. Learners then practice communication skills and sales tactics with immediate feedback. 

By blending the learning you provide for your staff, you’re building a more knowledgeable and versatile staff. 

Just as every teacher brings a unique approach to their classroom, how you deliver online learning significantly impacts its effectiveness. Let’s explore how to enhance this vital component of your blended learning strategy optimally.

How to accommodate different learning styles in the workplace

Teaching to different learning styles doesn’t stop in the classroom. Learning styles must also be accommodated in the workplace to develop effective training programs that promote professional success. Here’s how organizations can accommodate diverse learning preferences. 

1. Use multimodal training materials

To get the most bang for your buck, incorporate a mix of visual aids, written documents, audio recordings, and interactive activities. For example, combine presentations (Visual) with detailed handouts (Read/Write) and group discussions (Auditory) to cover the main learning styles.

2. Offer flexible learning opportunities

Provide options for employees to choose how they learn. This could include online tutorials for those who prefer self-paced learning (Intrapersonal), workshops for hands-on learners (Kinesthetic), and seminar-style learning for those who thrive in listening environments (Auditory).

3. Customize training sessions

Design training modules that are customizable to different learning preferences. Tools like a high-quality mobile learning platform allow trainers to create content that can be easily adjusted to include more visuals, texts, quizzes, or interactive elements based on the learners’ needs.

4. Implement collaborative learning

Encourage group activities that foster interpersonal learning. These can involve peer-to-peer learning sessions, group projects, and team-building exercises. You’ll reach the social learners while providing a dynamic learning environment for all.

5. Create real-world experiences

Use case studies and real-life problem-solving scenarios that cater especially to Kinesthetic and Logical learners who benefit from applying what they learn in practical, tangible ways.

6. Provide a continuous feedback loop

Establish a regular feedback system, allowing learners to discuss what works and what doesn’t in their learning process. This can help refine and adapt ongoing training to suit their styles better.

Why do learning styles matter?

Adoptive learning environments are crucial for enhancing professional success. Catering to employees’ diverse learning styles leads to increased engagement and retention. When the individual’s learning styles are met, the effectiveness of training improves. 

The outcome? A more confident and competent workforce. 

Diversity in thought and methodology can significantly:

  • Drive organizational creativity and innovation
  • Increase efficiency when learning a new skill
  • Enhances employee career development
  • Positively impacting morale 
  • Decrease turnover rates 
  • Boost job satisfaction 

How you teach your greatest asset can positively impact the long-term success of your business.

Add a powerful mobile training app to your learning strategy


What are the 4 main learning styles?

The four main learning styles are commonly referred to by the acronym VARK. VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic.

What are the 8 types of learning?

In addition to the four main learning styles (Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic), there are four more. These are Logical, Musical, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal.

What are the three primary learning styles?

The three primary learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

How many learning styles are there?

There are many different learning styles, however there is common agreement that their are eight distinct styles. The four most common are Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic, followed by Logical, Musical, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal. 

Learning in style: customizing training for success

Understanding and integrating learning styles into your training programs can transform how your team develops over time. By recognizing the unique ways individuals absorb, process, and retain information, you increase the effectiveness of learning experiences. 

To enhance outcomes, focus on the foundational elements of training like microlearning, mobile learning, and gamification. 

Microlearning breaks down complex information into manageable chunks. Learners are better able to grasp and retain new information. 

Mobile training offers the flexibility and accessibility modern learners need. They can engage with content anytime and anywhere. 

Gamification combines the elements of fun and competition. Interactive and hands-on activities meet kinesthetic learners’ needs. 

Creating an inclusive learning environment that caters to different learning styles ensures that all employees have the opportunity to succeed. Embracing the diversity of learning styles can unlock your team’s full potential and drive your business forward.

Key takeaways

  • Understanding and integrating various learning styles into training programs ensures you’ll provide a more effective learning experience. 
  • Educators should adapt their teaching strategies to match different learning styles. 
  • Learners should identify their learning styles to optimize their learning outcomes. 
  • Supporting diverse learning styles can be achieved through the use of a high-quality mobile training platform.

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