How do you learn?

Did you know that we all learn in different ways? In further education and training the Galway & Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB ) takes the different learning styles into account when teaching adult learners. There are three main learning styles - visual, where we learn by seeing; auditory, where we learn by listening; and kinaesthetic, where we learn by doing.

As an example, suppose you are cooking a new recipe. If you are a visual learner, you will probably want to follow the recipe exactly as it is written down. If you are an auditory learner, you will probably like to be told how to make the dish. If you are a kinaesthetic learner, you will just like to get on and do it. This can be the same across many types of activities, eg, DIY projects, or even finding our way somewhere. In this case, if you are going somewhere new and you are a visual learner, you will probably prefer to follow the map. If you are an auditory learner, you will prefer to ask someone the way, and if you are a kinaesthetic learner, you will just try to find your own way.

This is useful information if you are thinking of taking up a course as an adult learner. It can certainly make learning easier if you know what your own particular learning style is, so you can play to your strengths.

In further education and training, GRETB also takes this information into account and makes sure topics are presented in a variety of ways in classes. When teaching about language, or writing, or numeracy, for example, GRETB tutors will first explain it (auditory ) and then write it down or provide a handout (visual ), and then get learners to try out some examples. The teachers also aim to go at the pace of students, so there is no stress.

GRETB teachers also make use of technology in classes, as this is often a useful way of teaching using all the learning styles at once. These technologies include apps and suitable software programmes to make learning more interactive and fun. For example, Kahoot is used to create classroom quizzes, Quizlet to create flashcards, and YouTube to show specific examples, depending on the topic. In adult literacy GRETB has created its own Syllables app to help with spelling (this is free to download from the App Store ) and is currently creating plenty of visual material for a wide range of subjects.

There has never been a better time to consider returning to learning as an adult learner. In GRETB’s further education and training department, you can be confident that classes are varied, fun, and a great place to learn, suitable to your learning style. Get in contact for more information on courses. GRETB also has an information and guidance service if you are not sure which course will suit you. Send an email to [email protected], visit, or call 091 874500 to find out more.

Alison Jones, adult literacy organiser, GRETB Training Centre, Galway


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