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Six Learning Styles


Explanations > Learning Theory > Six Learning Styles

Listeners | Readers | Writers | Talkers | Watchers | Doers | So what


This is a simple, intuitive and accessible model of some of the methods by which people learn.


Listeners like to be told what to do. They like lectures, slides and somebody to advise and tell them what to do next.

These people are best suited to traditional classroom environments and particularly enjoy the 'chalk and talk' theory and presentations.


Readers get frustrated in traditional classes as they either get ideas quickly and do not want to wait for others, or else they do not get ideas but are too embarrassed to ask the trainer to slow down.

In essence, they just want to be given the notes or books and to chew through these at their own pace, speeding up and slowing down as necessary.

In a classroom, readers will likely only keep half an ear on what is going on as they speed through any provided text or slide copies. Likewise if they do not get a point they will stop listening in order toe review what is written.


Writers learn by making their own notes about things. Often the process of note-making is a critical part of how they learn as they have to think about what they know before they write things in their own words. Sometimes they just write down what is said, although this is not as powerful as rephrasing. They may or may not later review what they have written to help remember and recall what they have learned.

They can be seen in classes and lectures, writing assiduously and only occasionally looking up to keep an eye on things.

To help writers, give them space on any handouts for annotations and pause now and again, particularly after key points, to let them catch up (they will be very grateful for this).


Talkers learn most through discussion. They may listen to what you say or read what you give them, but they then need to question, challenge and discuss the subject until they understand and it has settled in their long-term memory.

To help talkers in a training session, regularly pause for questions or let them interrupt at any time. Also give group exercises where they discuss case studies or other problems.


Some people neither like being told nor want to go away and read by themselves. Watchers like to be shown how to do something, to see examples of what works and what does not. They then imitate what they have seen.

Things you can do in a classroom with watcher is to show them videos and do demonstrations.


Doers just want to get out there and have a go. Talking does not help them as they become impatient to get going. They learn by trying something out and finding out what works and does not work for them. They will then change what they do and try again until they get it right or conclude that it does not work.

Things you can do in a classroom for doers include giving them exercises to do and particularly let them practice, such as with role-play games.

So what?

Most people have a preferred style although many are comfortable with several styles. Most people, if asked, will rank the styles in preferred order. If you have a mixture of styles (as most teachers do), then vary the methods of teaching to help each learn best (rather than teach to your preferred style).

See also

Learning Channel Preferences


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