Learning Styles

The 9 Talents

Everyone has a talent right?

And some people are more talented than others in certain areas.

There is a great book on this subject written by a guy called Colin Rose. The best (training related) book I ever read. I strongly recommend it!!  Get it here …

The 9 Talents assume that there are 9 different learning preferences that people will use when learning something and and if they could identify what their learning preference is they could use a particular learning stategy to help accelerate their learning.

Plus if we trainers, can find out which learning preference our delegates have we can focus on that preference when training.

If we have a group of delegates with mixed preferences then we should try and hit as many learning styles as possible when training.

OK, so here are the 9 learning preferences (talents):

Musical Talent

Commonly found in performers, composers and recording engineers.

Likely Traits:

  • Sensitive to pitch, rhythm, timbre
  • Sensitive to emotional power of music
  • Sensitive to complex organisation of music
  • May be deeply spiritual

Learning Strategies:

  • Learn through songs
  • Change you mood with music
  • Use music to get relaxed
  • Learn through raps or rhythm

Interpersonal Talent

Commonly found in politicians, teachers, counsellors, sales people.

Likely Traits:

  • Negotiates well
  • Relates to others
  • Enjoys being with other people
  • Has many friends
  • Likes to mediate disputes

Learning Strategies:

  • Takes lots of breaks to socialise
  • Work in teams
  • Do learning activities co-operatively
  • Make learning fun

Naturalist Talent

Commonly found in botanists.

Likely Traits:

  • Able to recognise flora and fauna
  • Keep, or likes pets
  • Interested in how the body works
  • Interested in the environment

Learning strategies:

  • Go on field trip
  • Use Organic Models


Commonly found in wise elders, philosophers, persons with a deep sense of self, mystics.

Likely Traits:

  • Self knowledge
  • Very private person
  • Deeply aware of own strengths and weaknesses
  • Wants to be different from mainstream

Learning strategies:

  • Have personal “heart to heart” talks
  • Take time for inner reflection
  • Write what you experience and how you felt
  • Make journals of life story


Commonly found in dancers, actors, athletics, surgeons.

Likely Traits:

    • Good reflexes
    • Learns best by moving
    • Plays around with objects whilst learning

Learning strategies:

  • Learn through songs
  • Change your mood with music
  • Use music to get relaxed
  • Learn through raps or rhythm


Commonly found in ‘people who have grownup’

Likely Traits:

    • Self Motivation
    • Persistence
    • Regulate ones mood
    • Empathising


Learning Strategies:

  • Develop strategies to create the right ‘mood’ for learning.
  • Listen with empathy by noticing body language
  • Study positive models of motivation


Commonly found in Novelists, poets, journalists.

Likely Traits:

    • Likes to listen
    • Likes to read
    • Spells easily
    • Likes word games


Learning strategies:

  • Uses stories to remember
  • Uses journal writing
  • Listens to tapes
  • Debate issues


Commonly found in Mathematicians, Engineers, Scientists.

Likely Traits:

    • Likes being precise
    • Enjoys counting
    • Enjoys problem solving


Learning strategies:

  • Use data
  • Use a step by step approach
  • Encourage practical experiments

Spatial Visual

Commonly found in Architects, navigators, chess players

Likely Traits:

  • Thinks in pictures
  • Creates mental images
  • Easily reads maps
  • Has a good colour sense

Learning strategies:

  • Use pictures to learn
  • Create mind maps
  • Change places in the room to get a different perspective
  • Highlight with colour

Here is a link to a questionnaire that you can give out to your students prior to a course which will help to work out the groups learning preferences (talents). Questionnaire on how to work out Preferences


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Reading Material

The best (training related) book I have ever read is Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century by Colin Rose. Here is a link:

Want to know more about how people learn and how to build rapport with your delegates then try this: