“Research shows that you begin learning in the womb and go right on learning until the moment you pass on. Your brain has a capacity for learning that is virtually limitless, which makes every human a potential genius.” — Michael J. Gelb
In my other job besides being a writer, in the acting world, I am always learning. New jobs, new situations, and new people come along often, many times in a year, in fact. And I view each one as a gift. An opportunity to learn something new.
Of course, a new acting job comes with obvious requirements to learn. I must learn scripts, songs, routines, physical sequences. But I am also lucky in that I can observe the processes and behaviours of others in order to improve my own professional skills. Tough though my industry is, in many ways, it is also generous in that the ability to learn never lies dormant in me.
I bring up the observation of others because, in a rehearsal room, there is often tension in that nobody learns at the same pace, or in quite the same way. The best directors know how to work with, and support, different learning styles. The worst colleagues are not very tolerant of the way other people might process new skills and information.
This notion translates to any workplace. Being aware of the way that others learn, and of the way you do so yourself, is a brilliant skill. It allows you to get the best out of the people around you, and to know when tolerance is required. You may have heard that there are four ways of learning. However, it might interest you to learn, there are four more. And so, we continue…
1. Visual Learning
The visual learner is less efficient when presented with information in ‘blank script’. That is to say, simply written down in sentences and paragraphs. This kind of learner will struggle to efficiently log all of the detail when presented with ideas in this way.
Visual strategies such as graphs, charts, diagrams, and even categorised tables are the best mediums for this learning style. This helps them to actually see the relationships between details and often cuts out any frivolous or irrelevant information in the process.
2. Kinaesthetic Learning
The word ‘kinaesthetic’ relates to a person’s awareness of their own body in relation to other things. Therefore, the kinaesthetic learner processes more effectively when being tactile with the subject matter. It is a more sensory way of learning. Tradespeople, therefore, such as builders, electricians, carpenters and plumbers, are often of this learning style.
3. Auditory Learning
Taking primary information in audio form is the best way for the auditory learner. They thrive in lecture, debate, and group discussion scenarios, often sorting the information into a different, hard format after the information has been given.
These learners also benefit, sometimes, from speaking ideas out loud in order to process and understand them.
4. Reading and Writing Learning
These are the note-takers! This style means that information is best presented in written form. More often than not, this type of learner will excavate the important parts of the information, and then write them down in some way in order to process and absorb them.
5. Logical Learning
Now for those styles that you may not have heard of. The logical learner depends on logic and analysis to really master a subject. They learn best by digging down into an idea and searching for all patterns, results, causes and connections. They have to know the full logical journey of an outcome to fully understand it.
6. Social Learning
Role play, group discussions, partnering and sharing stories and points of view help this sort of learner. It is, in some ways, a more casual way of learning. However, it also places ideas and information in the real world, grounding it in a social setting which, for many, is more accessible.
7. Solitary Learning
There are those who find learning with a lot of distraction, or as part of a group of people very unproductive. Indeed, they may find it useful for a time, but the resilience of their learning relies on having the bulk of their time processing information on their own.
8. Nature Learning
These people prefer to learn when in contact with the natural world, i.e., outside. Their wellbeing and mental resilience are at their best when not closed in by four walls, but rather when surrounded by the natural world with the sky above their heads. A ‘non-artificial’ environment.
By Chris Thomson
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