Are you a person who loves to experience life primarily from what you see OR what you hear? Your preference may give you important clues about how you learn best. Some people are visual learners. Others are auditory. You may like being hands-on. If you favor activities and touch, you may be a kinesthetic learner. The way young children eagerly grasp for objects demonstrates tactile learning. One of these styles is not better than the other. Still, it is important to identify your personal style. I’ve known people who are exceptionally bright, though they underperformed in school. Later they found that their actual difficulty was with the way they were being taught. It didn’t match their learning style.

Recognize which approach is natural for you. Then, stress that learning style to experience and enjoy life. You may respond well to a blend of more than one style. If you have an auditory bent, as I do, I have a free resource for you at the end of this posting.

Though my wife reads extensively, her preferred style of learning is tactile. She doesn’t absorb information well from print or sound alone. She wants to interact with new information. In church, for instance, she takes extensive notes during sermons, but not so she will have written records, rather she finds that writing helps her absorb ideas. Another way I see her kinesthetic orientation is that painting is her creative recreation. I’m different. I enjoy spoken words. I like interviews on the radio. I prefer hearing an audiobook to reading the same words in print. When you were in school, how did you learn best? Did you get more from reading assigned books, lectures, or projects? Which method communicates best with you? When you know which method of learning appeals most to you, you become more interested in gaining knowledge and skills as long as they are presented in the format you need.

The Christian missionary movement pays particular attention to learning styles. Missionaries need to know how to communicate cross-culturally in order to provide education, spiritual care, and other services. Estimates are that between 70 and 80% of the world’s people are oral preference learners. Granted, a large portion of the world’s people are young children and semi-literate adults who cannot read well. Just the same, even among educated adults, many prefer hearing information over getting it from print.

I have a vested interest in the subject of how people like to learn because I’m eager to communicate what I’ve discovered about how to thrive during the mature years of adulthood. I have written the book THRIVE in RETIREMENT. Many people have been effusive saying it was both very helpful and fun reading. The book is available both in PRINT and on KINDLE. For those who find activities to be an energizing way to embrace new thinking, the content is available as a six-session STUDY GROUP CURRICULUM or as a ONE-DAY WORKSHOP.

For anyone who likes hearing stimulating ideas, THRIVE is also available as an AUDIOBOOK. Because of the growing interest in this significant new stage of life, I’m giving frequent interviews. Here’s a free audio introduction to thriving as an older adult.