Online Education for the 7 Learning Styles

by NU Online on 9/15/20 2:22 PM

As the world evolves, the way people consume and retain information evolves as well. Online education is thought to be a transformative way of learning, but for traditional learners, adapting to this change in environment can be a difficult transition. Many adult learners are hesitant to return to school online as their typical learning strategies may be challenged. Rest assured, there are ways to assist with the learning process for every type of the seven learning styles so that online students can have an education just as, or even more, successful than that of a traditional classroom experience.


Types of Learning Styles and How to Apply Those Styles to Online Schools

Most people’s ability to retain information fall within at least one of the seven types of learning styles. The seven types of learning styles are visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary. Examining the different kinds of learning styles and deciding which one fits you best can help you learn quicker and be a more efficient online student.


visual learner - woman standing in front of graph poster

Visual Learners (spatial)

It is easy to recognize if you are the most common type of learner – a visual learner. If you memorize information through graphics, you are probably a visual learner. Visual learners tend to retain information through resources such as images, graphs, charts, and maps. For adult learners, the best way to study may be to utilize mind maps, brainstorming on whiteboards, and using call-out boxes in notes and textbooks. Additionally, to help retain the information further, students can use auditory resources to help supplement the visual learning.

Students who learn visually can adapt well to Norwich’s online learning platform. The web-based learning platform environment, Moodle, is an excellent place for students to retain information visually. Many of the readings contain visual components, such as graphs and charts. That information can also be used to create mind maps to help retain content easier. Norwich also utilizes webinars. Admissions and program-specific webinars can visually show how to effectively be an online learner and gain knowledge specific to each program in a non-traditional format, all while being supported through audio by the presenters. Norwich posts webinars often – to view the archive of the Norwich admission’s team webinars, please visit the Norwich website.


aural learner - lecture

Aural Learners (auditory-musical)

Another common learning style is the aural learning style. Aural learners retain information the most efficiently through listening to information and conversations, as well as while listening to music. Aural adult learners can best consume information while listening to a podcast, audiobook, or even music. Aural learning is very accessible in modern education as most lectures are complemented with audio from a speaker, and most textbooks include an audio or digital format. To solidify the knowledge consumed through listening, aural learners can also read notes and books out load, record notes or lectures on a tape recorder to listen back, or make acronyms to repeat out loud.

Aural learners can excel in many different forms of education formats. As mentioned above, Norwich’s online programs can be adapted to aural learners through textbook audio readers. The Internet has completely transformed in the past 20 years. To be more accessible, screen readers make it possible for aural learners to listen to information while reading on the Internet. Adult students can utilize screen reader tools in Moodle when conversing with fellow students and professors on assignments and classroom discussions. Also, professors may provide lectures, videos, or other resources that allow aural learners to gain information through listening.


verbal learner - book

Verbal Learners (linguistic)

Opposite to the aural learner is a verbal learner. Simply put, a verbal learner retains information through reading and writing. Education from grade school to university is often shaped around teaching students who learn verbally. Taking notes from textbooks or instructors and then rereading those notes is a popular way for verbal learners to study.

In a traditional setting, verbal learners have the upper field. However, verbal learners can still put their learning style to use with online learning. At Norwich University Online, verbal learners will benefit from the reading materials and written assignments. Whether it be a topic response or paper, students can utilize required readings to assist with course assignments and memorizing that information. Debating topics in classroom discussions can also help students learn throughout their Norwich studies.


physical learner - hand on water

Physical Learners (kinesthetic)

Physical learners may have had a difficult time learning in a traditional setting as they prefer not to sit still for long periods. Being able to move around or having a hands-on experience is essential for physical learners. Typically, traditional classroom experiences require students to sit for hours, which can hold physical learners from learning at their full potential. Brainstorming, mapping, storyboarding, and journaling can help students when a traditional classroom can be restrictive.

In an online atmosphere, there are more opportunities for physical learners to study. Online education largely relies on time management and independent work, giving more flexibility to students. Students will perform well learning online with the ability to take breaks between assignments and move around while reading. Physical learners will find strength in Norwich University Online’s interactive learning environments, such as the cybersecurity virtual lab learning environment. Although web-based, the cybersecurity virtual lab learning environment uses real equipment in a virtualized state for those who prefer hands-on learning.


logical learner - desk with calculator, tablet, book, laptops, and clipboard

Logical Learners (mathematical)

Learning through logic and reasoning, logical learners tend to have mathematical minds. Logical learners can recognize patterns and use that to retain new information. When studying new concepts, logical learners will find relationships between the ideas to keep key learnings in their brains. Logical learners also learn through lists, itineraries, graphs, and charts.

Although it is not a common learning style, logical learners still have ways to adapt to an online learning environment. Papers and other forms of written assignments are the core of many online programs. For logical learners, organizing thoughts in a numbered and structured list will help retain the information more effectively and will produce more cohesive written assignments. Viewing assignments and solving a problem rather than reciting material is another great way to perform well on written assignments. However, as many logical learners may realize, finding a program that suits a logical learner’s mathematical and reasoning mindset can influence positive outcomes in online learning. A few of Norwich’s online mathematical and/or logic-based programs include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics
  • Master of Accounting
  • Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • Master of Science in Information Systems


social learner - group of people at computer

Social Learners (interpersonal)

Being surrounded by a room full of people is a social learner’s ideal environment. Social learners thrive when they can discuss topics with students and instructors. Most commonly, social learners use group studying to learn new information best. For traditional learning, in-person group work is common, but group work looks different in an online environment.

At most online schools, all group work is completed virtually, so there will be no in-person interaction. Social learners may rely on video calls to connect with instructors or students during their studies. Family and friends are also a massive resource for social learners to discuss new ideas and topics. Not only can classroom discussion posts create student interaction, but Norwich online master’s program students will also visit the Norwich University campus in the summer for the annual Residency Conference. A highlight of this conference is that students can meet classmates and instructors, as well as students may present findings on course materials. For example, online Master of Business Administration students gather in groups to discuss and present results on a case study of a local industry at the Norwich University Residency Conference. While not required, online bachelor’s students are welcome to attend and take part in some of the hands-on activities of the Residency Conference.


solitary leaner - woman on tablet, alone at lake

Solitary Learners (intrapersonal)

Unlike social learners, solitary learners prefer to learn alone. Solitary learners will read, write, and study in the comfort of their own space, and solitary learners tend to shy away from group projects and presentations.

Online education may be a desirable approach to earning a degree for solitary learners. Much of the group work and class discussions are completed without the need of hearing or seeing classmates. Coursework is also very independent in an online environment and does not require all classmates and instructors to be in the same physical room at once. Norwich’s virtual classroom can be accessed 24/7, and assignments are often assigned weekly so that students are not expected to all be in the online classroom at the same time.


Learn More about Norwich’s Online Programs

Norwich University’s online education format provides opportunities for all types of learners to continue their studies. For more information on Norwich’s online bachelor’s degree programs, master’s degree programs, and continuing and professional education offerings through Norwich Pro, please visit the Norwich University Online website, or contact the Norwich University admissions team at or 1 (866) 684-7237.



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This post was written by NU Online

Norwich University Online offers several master’s degrees and bachelor’s degree completion programs as well as certificate and enrichment programs. Designed to accommodate students’ varied work schedules and lifestyles, our programs are delivered through a virtual and highly interactive learning platform that connects Norwich’s exceptional faculty and curricula to students across the country and around the world.

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