There’s no question that learning is a lifetime phenomenon. Even when you finish your academic education, your learning still continues. Whether you learn through your work, through social interactions, or through new interests you develop, you’ll never stop gaining wisdom.
Have you ever stopped to think about what kind of learner you are? If you just graduated from high school or college, think about which classes you most enjoyed and why. If your formal education is becoming a distant memory, think about the most recent new thing you learned to do. If you’re in a job you don’t really enjoy, think about why that might be. Is it the people you work with or is it that you’re constantly stressed out trying to learn and internalize all the policies and procedures that seem to change all too frequently?
Unbeknownst to you, it may be that your learning style conflicts with the training programs and techniques offered by your current employer. Or maybe your learning style simply doesn’t match up with what your job requires you to do and you should consider beginning a new career path.
Your learning style is not something you consciously choose. It’s just there and makes some things easy for you and others quite difficult. Believe it or not, people have one of three distinct learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. In other words, they learn best by either seeing, hearing, or doing. If you can’t figure out which style is yours, you should take one of the learning style assessments available online.
Visual Learning Style
If you learn best by looking at pictures, charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, etc., you are a visual learner, a/k/a spatial learner. You also find it easy to quickly visualize concepts and tend to take copious notes if you’re forced to sit through a lecture. Perhaps not surprisingly, about 65% of the U.S. population falls within this category. Visual learners are best suited and happiest in careers such as the following:
- Doctor or nurse
- Visual artist or graphic designer
- Editor or copy editor
- Interior designer
- Photographer or videographer
- Air traffic controller
- Strategic planner
Auditory Learning Style
If you learn best by listening to instructions rather than having to read pages and pages of them, you are an auditory learner. You love group discussions, especially ones that allow you and others to talk through a complex problem. Auditory learners are best suited and happiest in careers such as the following:
- Psychiatrist or therapist
- Guidance counselor
- Customer service professional
- Sales professional
- Sound engineer
- Wedding planner
- Speech pathologist
Kinesthetic Learning Style
If you learn best by literally going through the motions, i.e., working with your hands, you are a kinesthetic learner. You’re a hands-on person who loves to learn from experience, often creating new things or ways of doing them as you go. Kinesthetic learners are best suited and happiest in careers such as the following:
- Physical education teacher
- Carpenter or woodworker
- Farmer or rancher
- Coach or personal trainer
- Hospitality professional
Given that your career could easily span 40 or more years, it just makes sense that you should be happy in it. And given the wide variety of career choices available to every type of learner, it also makes sense to match your learning style with your career rather than constantly trying to fit your square peg learning style into a round hole career. Consequently, one of the best things you can do for yourself to ensure your success in life, both professionally and personally, is to discover what your learning style is and then match it to an exciting and rewarding career.