Learning Styles

“How do you learn best?”

If you work in a hospital system, you are probably overly familiar with this question. We ask patients if they are better receiving information through writing, pictures, speaking or listening and quite often, especially in the ophthalmology department, they’ll ask what this has to do with their exam. The answer, surprisingly, is a lot. Identifying how a person learns best is key to having them understand what you want them to know. Though they can be referred to by different titles, there are seven primary learning styles: visual (or spatial), auditory, verbal, physical, logical (or mathematical), social and solitary (Advanogy, 2019). Rather than being definitive classifications, these categories all lie on a spectrum and people can therefore rank highly in multiple styles.

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  In taking two online questionnaires, I confirmed my hunch about where I fall on the learning style spectrum– I am highly visual and typically solitary. According to, I am about 90% spatial and a survey on NC State University relays that the number may be closer to 60%. No matter the survey, I place low socially and with sound, which I found to be completely accurate.

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  As a student, knowing this information about yourself can be vital, but, perhaps as importantly, this can be important as an educator; we tend to teach how we learn, but we, as health educators, need to be mindful that not everyone learns the same way as us. Whereas I may be more incline to provide images or charts to drive a point home, a patient that I am instructing may have a better understanding if we talk things out. Keeping in mind how the other person learns in respect to your personal style can be challenging but it is essential to great patient care. Advanogy. (2019). Overview of learning styles. Retrieved from

Education Planner. (2019). What’s your learning style? 20 questions. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Retrieved from

Felder, R. (2019). Index of learning styles questionnaire. NC State University. Retrieved from

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