The Four Types Of Learners. Which One Describes You Best?

What is your learning style

Heard of TikTok? Wikipedia calls it the¬†‘app for creating and¬†sharing¬†lip-sync, comedy and talent videos’.¬†¬†I didn’t think much of it. It turns out that swathes of men,¬†women and¬†their uncles¬†have been thinking otherwise¬†and working it well.¬†¬†There have been some scintillating conversations at Founding Fuel on the TikTok phenomenon. You must take a look at the insightful power package. In the middle of these interesting¬†conversations on TikTok is when I recalled “the four types of learners‚ÄĚ. For a reason that I will share in just a bit. ¬†

The four types of learners is a neat set of labels that I got introduced to ages ago. I don’t know who put it together. If you came in looking for a scientific and researched taxonomy, well, I have to disappoint you. It is an endearing set of playful metaphorical labels that helps understanding learning. That’s that. Not an inch beyond that! OK?

OWL; Our Work in Learning is the curation of the best articles on work and the changing nature of Work

Before I present a version to you, I must give you some context on why it came back to me in the middle of TikTok conversations.  Well, you see, here was such interesting data on TikTok’s growth. It was there for all to see. I have seen a few videos myself and knew some of the numbers. But, not for once did I pause to examine the underlying patterns and ask the question why! 

The Tiktok story has since become a metaphor for learning and not learning. And hence, here, the four types of learners. The first time I heard of these, I heard them in the context of attending a training program.  With a creative extension, here it goes.

The Four Types Of Learners


You feel like a prisoner when you have to sit through a three-day programme you have no interest in and the outcome is of no relevance. Have you felt times when you thought that there was ‘just no point’? Have you heard of ‘nothing will change here’? Mixed and fixed up in the mind. What are the chances of new learning? Next to zilch.¬†


Tourist is a label that would fit the learner who is interested in knowing just enough to let others know we are in the know of things.  Have you been the tourist who dashes from one monument to another, after standing at the gate, clicking a picture? And checking to see if there is WiFi to upload it on Facebook or Instagram? Looking but not seeing. Getting there but not lingering around. Seeing it for what it is and not asking questions of why. Or how. Or how else.  Have you been that tourist? Well, I have. 


Who hasn’t been an expert on something in this world? Especially in the post-social media world, where likes, retweets and other forms of virality stand proxy for expertise. But that’s another blog-post. ¬†To think that we know it all can perhaps be the stiffest frontier to cross to get to the land of learning.¬†


Think explorers and you come alive with tenacity, curiosity, sense of adventure, a spirit of seeking. From Vasco Da Gama to Columbus to Roald Amundsen. Their quest for what lies beyond their immediate expertise. Constantly seeking to build, redefine and discover. Now, that’s a label that will help to learn. 

The thing about these four archetypes is that each of them can keep us company at different points in time. In different circumstances. Perhaps one of them will become a default lens of viewing the world. I know a handful of explorers who make such a big difference to lives and they are such a joy to be with and learn from.

So, think about this. Which one is your default? In what areas do one of these come in the way of new learning? You will get an idea or two if you stay invested in the thought. 

Of Ideas, jobs and hair!

Speaking of ideas, Issac Asimov, the great science fiction writer wrote a letter titled “how do people get ideas” in 1959.¬†That letter stayed unpublished till 2014 when a spring cleaning and chance discovery brought it alive. ¬†I have read it a few times over. There are some gems in there. Take a look.¬†

The brains that spout new ideas have something about them. Amongst the folks that I know who brim with ideas, their playful curiosity is a common factor. They always poke around for more in any field. By the way, here is a piece titled 10 things that we learned about the brain in 2018. Some of the workings of the brain are way beyond interesting. Check that out. 

There are two other posts that you will pause to read. The first one is about the Future of Work and the World Economic Forum’s “5 things to know about the future of jobs”. This came in handy when I was working my speech on the Future Of Work last week at the Thane HR Group. The next one is a Wall Street Journal article titled “The New Ways Your Boss Is Spying On You“. I won’t say anymore. Check that out.¬†

And finally, the possibility of unlimited hair. The end of baldness. Well, technology can be hair raising to some. To several others, it can literally be the case as well. It’s all happening in the future. And the future comes one day at a time. That day can be today.

Do consider thinking about which of ‘the four types of learners’ typify a predominant part of your calendar. And then, explore how else you could approach it all. 

Good luck. 

Curated reads for this 36th edition of the OWL Despatch

Image credits Pixabay

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