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Types of Learning

Each person has a different way they prefer to learn that suits them best and allows them to get the most out of their learning experience. Most current education and training is designed to appeal to a wide range of different people and involves a range of different learning styles and techniques.

Common types of learning styles are:

Type Preferences
Verbal Linguistic: using words in speech and writing
Aural Listening: learning with sounds and music
Spatial Seeing: using pictures and images, spatial understanding
Kinesthetic Physical: using your hands and sense of touch
Social Interpersonal: learning with other people
Solitary Intrapersonal: working alone in self-study
Logical Mathematical: using logic and reasoning

Some people prefer a particular style of learning, whilst others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. Many people find they can develop ability in a new way of learning, as well as developing the learning style that they already know.

By understanding your own learning styles, you can look for the types of learning opportunities most suited to you. Choosing learning in a way you enjoy can improve your learning experience and the speed of your learning.

Take some time to understand how you best like to learn. What kind of exercises most appeal to you? Do you remember a learning situation when you felt most comfortable? How do you like to store and recall information – using lists, pictures, rhymes? Or take an online test to assess your learning preferences.


Mode of course

After you understand how you like to learn you will be in a good position to decide which mode of course is right for you. Your options might include:

Mode Information
Informal learning Learning that takes place outside a school or college (for example in a community venue, or online) and which arises from the activities and interests of individuals and groups. There are very many options available ranging from interactive discussions or talks, to more informally structured sessions over a period of time.
Distance learning Studying from home is often known as distance learning. 'Correspondence courses' and 'home study' are different terms for distance learning. You may get your course materials through the internet and email or sent through the post. A tutor will support you by phone, email or post. You will be able to interact with other students (for example via email and online forums). There may also be the chance to attend day schools or residential weekends in order to work with other students.
Flexible learning courses You study at a time that suits you which allows you to balance the course with family and working commitments.
Flexible adult education Usually involves attending a college or adult education centre. You might be asked to study using a computer-based learning package or tuition pack with tutors on hand to help you.
Blended learning A type of formal learning programme which combines face-to-face sessions, usually in the classroom, with online learning and some element of control over where and when you learn. The aim is to provide an integrated learning experience.
Modular courses Consists of more than one independent unit. Students can usually choose which modules they take, which means they can study different topics within their subject area. This can be a good option if you don’t want to work towards a full qualification but still want to get accreditation for what you’ve achieved.
Work-based learning Learning which includes developing skills in the workplace, usually focusing on the skills needed to do a particular job.
Sandwich course A course that includes a period of work experience. Typically three year sandwich courses at undergraduate degree level include work experience after the second year.
Employer-led training Similar to work-based learning but the content is directed and often delivered through an employer.
Union courses These can be delivered by the union, the employer, an education provider or by means of collaboration. Courses can be online or face-to-face, studied by individuals in their own time or groups within working time with a facilitator.

ULF Projects: Usdaw with DHL & Unite with Vauxhall from unionlearn on Vimeo.

Discover more about Modes of Study and Flexible Learning in our Case Studies