The 7 learning styles and how to use yours to accelerate your growth as a developer

Rhuwell Samano
6 min readJan 11, 2019
Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Getting started with meta-learning

Learning new things is fun and part of the process of becoming a better developer!

But, have you ever learned HOW to learn?

You currently might not have any clue on how you best approach learning new material, especially with code.

Good news is you’ve been learning your entire life! You probably have always used similar techniques in the past learning a variety of things without you even knowing there were other ways to learn!

Coding can make your head spin and make you feel like you’re seconds away from having your head implode.

I think it would be a fantastic idea to get some fancy meta-learning on and give you another way to break through the walls you hit in your journey of learning!

If you resonate with a particular learning style, explore more ways to expand on them (you’re a developer, you should be married to googling, stackoverflow, youtube and blogs by now, anyways).

And yes, you can definitely have multiple learning styles! You might learn things better with one style and for other things you might use a completely different style!

Here’s an overview of all of them!

Chances are, it’ll stick out and you’ll say “oh yeah, that’s definitely me!”

Learning Styles/Methods

Visual (Spatial) — You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Image result for object oriented programming picture

A picture is worth a thousand words, so get those whiteboards out and draw out some doodles!

Diagrams, graphs, charts.. you name it. Circles, arrows, colored markers — whatever makes the images more memorable, the better!

Being a spatially-aware and visually-oriented learner is pretty useful when it comes to understanding coding concepts considering that you’re dealing with virtual objects and relationships between them.

Aural (Auditory-Musical) — You prefer using sound and music.

Music to your ears. You learned the ABC’s through a song so maybe you can use sound to learn other things, too.

If you find yourself listening to music in the background, love ambient noise, tap your pen or finger on the desk to a rhythm as you learn.. then you’re likely more attuned (get it?) to an Aural learning style.

Bonus: look into “Binaural Beats”.

I’ve seen developers have playlists dedicated to when they’re learning concepts and coding to allow them to enter their flow state easier.

Verbal (Linguistic) — You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

Spoken Lectures and Reading are your lifeblood. If you excelled in the traditional model of schooling, then this might be your thing.

So, if you find yourself learning code by reading about it, listening to a video or speech, and finally finding yourself explaining it to someone or maybe even writing extensively about it afterwards — you rely on words, verbal or spoken, to gain new material and solidify your understanding.

Gathering knowledge from both of these sources allows you to put it all together. Check into some schools that follow this model — or construct your own learning around this kind of lecture-then-reading pattern.

Physical (Kinesthetic) — You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

Photo by Kevin Jarrett on Unsplash

Time to get your hands dirty! Nothing better than diving in and learning new things on-the-fly!

If you find yourself grabbing an assortment of nearby objects to arrange them in a way for you to better understand and explain things, or maybe you like to get behind the wheel right away and see for yourself what fits into where and what breaks when you do (think Legos/K’nex), you might be a kinesthetic learner!

When coding, you might want to take on projects more often than others. You’ll probably be more likely to openly break your code aka..

“what if I do this?… hmm, interesting.. what about..”

Logical (Mathematical) — You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

You like RPG games, board games, and puzzles. You tend to classify and organize things.

Relationships, patterns, numbers, equations, and algorithms are your driving forces in reasoning and deduction. Mathematics was less about the numbers and variables and more about the steps they each take in solving the problem.

Coding is logic and relationships — as a developer, you are always building things that build on the last in a way that “just makes sense”.

Social (Interpersonal) — You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

You work best with people. You enjoy sharing stories and comparing their ideas to the ideas of others. Natural team players and delightful to have on a team to keep the synergy going.

With their ability to learn best with people, they tend to be leaders on teams — or at the very least, one of the forefront members that drive projects forward!

When it comes to coding and getting together for projects, whether pair-programming or even bigger undertakings, you are usually very flexible in how to best fit into any given team.

So, jump in and meet the team. Get to know everyone along the way, share your ideas and help craft the future by allowing fluid communication with everyone, through and through!

Solitary (Intrapersonal) — You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Don’t be mistaken — they mean very well in their intentions to help move the ball forward whether on teams or on their own personal projects.

They set challenging yet attainable goals — always trying to stretch their abilities. They are motivated by internal forces rather than any kind of external validation. Often, they are introverted — but this learning style is not exclusive to introverts!

So, if you seem to code best when you’re by yourself, you might just need to schedule “deep work” time but don’t isolate yourself completely — especially on teams! Check-in with them and communicate along the way!

Learning how to learn is key in improving how fast and effectively you absorb material. There’s many more meta-learning techniques available to you if you’d like to have more of an edge — look into them!

Learning styles are your unique way of understanding the world around you and the virtual world you create with others.

When you learn to learn, you can learn.co(de)!

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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Rhuwell Samano

Lead Software Engineer at TRUENORTH | Creates content about unlocking human potential, one-person businesses, and tech