If you follow me, you know that one of the most common Growth Habits of self-made millionaires is self-education.
For most of my “millionaires”, this self-education came from reading books.
Seventy-one percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study read to learn, a minimum of 30 minutes every day. It was a habit they forged early in life, and that habit helped them to gain the knowledge they needed in order to succeed.
They focused their reading on self-help, biographies of successful people, history and industry-related material.
But, not everybody likes to do their learning by reading alone.
Which brings me to purpose of this article. In order to maximize how much you are able to learn and retain, you need to figure out what type of learner you are.
There are five types of learners:
- Visual Learners
- Auditory Learners
- Reading Learners
- Tactile Learners
- Combination Learners
Visual Learners retain information best when it is presented to them visually, as in pictures or videos. The brain thinks in pictures. So, the brain favors Visual Learning.
This is one of the reasons, thanks to recent technological advances, video content is exploding.
For example, do it yourself videos are widespread on YouTube. And those videos receive many hits. It’s simply easier to watch how to build a shelf, than to read about building a shelf.
Watching some expert build a shelf enables individuals to “see” or visualize exactly what to do, which accelerates learning.
Auditory Learners retain information best by hearing someone talk.
Listening is convenient and it has the added advantage of leveraging the conscious and subconscious areas of the brain.
You can consciously listen to audio, while unconsciously driving a car, or unconsciously exercising.
This is one of the reasons why podcasts have exploded recently. Podcasts allow you to learn from experts, while you are engaged in some unconscious activity.
Reading Learners retain information best through reading. This is how most individuals were taught to learn.
Reading is still predominant in classrooms, even though it is an inefficient way to learn and even though most people are Visual Learners, or Tactile Learners or a combination of the two.
When you read, your brain must convert the subject matter you are reading, into a picture. This conversion process is an extra step and, thus, less efficient.
This Classroom preference of forcing students to be Reading Learners is why many students struggle as students. If a student’s brain is unable to convert the subject matter into a picture, there is no learning.
Tactile Learners retain information best by doing. Doing activates the cerebellum, which is an entirely separate part of the brain responsible for physical movement, or motor activity.
Engaging the cerebellum in any learning activity increases retention because you now have two major brain areas involved in the learning process – the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum.
Combination Learners retain information best by combining two or more methods of learning.
For example, Abraham Lincoln would write down his own speeches (Tactile) at least three times prior to giving a speech. He would then practice his speeches by visualizing himself making the speech (Visual).
When I learned about this Abraham Lincoln method of learning, many years ago, I used it to pass the CPA exam, in Grad School and for my Certified Financial Planner exam.
Another example of dual learning – You watch a YouTube Video (Visual) on how to build a shelf and then proceed to build the shelf (Tactile).
Example of dual learning – Listening to a cooking podcast (Auditory), writing down a particular recipe (Tactile) and then later on using the written down recipe to cook something (Tactile).
The more learning methods you are able to combine, the better your retention will be.
Which type of learner are you?