This week I received training in different learning styles. The three main learning styles identified are:

1. visual (where the primary method of learning is through seeing and reading)
2. auditory (where the primary method of learning is through listening and speaking)
3. kinesthetic (where the primary method of learning is through touching and doing)

It’s quite interesting to think about the best methods with which we learn. In church settings, we’re expected to listen to sermons, yet the auditory method of learning is not necessarily the best for everyone. Combining methods – using audio-visual techniques or getting interactive with the congregation – often helps us to engage with more people.

Visual learners do best from things which involve pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, handouts, films, or flip charts. So they like to read instructions, follow recipes, write things down, highlight written notes, follow a map. Their creative interests involve writing, drawing, designing things and taking photos.

Auditory learners do best from instructions which they can hear, often repeating back things to ensure they have understood what they have heard. They like to listen to explanations, explain things verbally or talk to people to find out how to do new things. They like to tell jokes and stories, discuss and debate things, sing and create music.

Kinesthetic learners like to ‘have a go’. They will follow their instincts, try new things and enjoy getting stuck in to new activities, even if they don’t always get it right first time. They are interested in making things, dance, drama, modelling and sports.

If you’re interested in discovering which method suits you best, there is a quiz here. Some people will have a mixture of learning styles; others will favour one (no prizes for guessing my main learning style…!)

There is, of course, no ‘right’ learning style. Just as we are all individuals with different personalities, so we learn differently and that’s fine. What I do find helpful is learning how other people tick! Learning to value and explore differences is as important as learning to value and understand myself. Philippians 2:3-4 urges us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” When we think about how others differ from us and come to respect this, we begin to value others and can help them to learn more of God in the way that they relate to the best.