(Original Media: Melissa Pigg)
Not every person is made the same, whether it be one’s appearance, personality, talent, or learning ability. An individual studying for an exam may not benefit from the textbook readings and endless note taking that their peers do; some students learn best through watching videos or demonstrations on a given topic. So, if you’re feeling stressed out about your upcoming final, fear not! Here are some descriptions and tactics of the four major learning styles that will assist you in grasping the material in a way that is most effective for you.
Have you ever been in the middle of a test, and recalled information from a diagram or video? This is a very good sign that you are a visual learner. Visual learners relate and understand information when it is associated with images; you need to be able to see what is being taught (“Visual Learning”, 2016). “People with a visual learning style are often referred to as visual-spatial learners,” (Visual Learning, 2016). This may mean that you enjoy reading books rather than having them read aloud, you are a good at spelling, prefer to personally view a lessons, and prefer written as opposed to verbal instruction (Visual Learning, 2016). For a visual certain techniques can make your learning experience easier, including:
- Using different colours to highlight or underline key information
- Using flashcards as a study tool
- Drawing out concepts
- Taking notes during class
Another helpful tip is to keep distractions to a minimum while studying and have your eyes tested regularly (“What’s your Learning style”, 2011); eyesight is a visual learners most important tool, after all!
If you are someone who easily remembers and understands things that are spoken to them and who enjoys group discussions, you are probably an auditory learner (What is my Learning Style, 2014). An auditory learner enjoys expressing themselves verbally, can better understand instructions when spoken out loud, and prefers group discussions about the topic (Learning Style, 2016). To maximize your study time, the following is most helpful for an auditory learner:
- Reading notes out loud when studying
- Taking part in group and class discussions
- Teaching information to another classmate
- Listening to audiobooks
An auditory learner may find it hard to study in silence for a longer period of time (What is my Learning Style, 2014). Be sure to set aside time for study breaks to avoid loss of focus and frustration; the key to a successful study session tis understanding what works for you!
Reading and writing
‘Read and write’ learners understand written material; they re-write and re-read material repeatedly until they understand. ‘Read and write’ learners make good traditional studiers, this means that reading a textbook and study notes is the most beneficial way to learn a topic (“Study advice for read & write learners”, 2016). They also tend to be very good note takers (“Study advice for read & write learners”, 2016); they enjoy taking notes and rewriting them in their own words to better comprehend the subject matter. Dictionaries or any online resources are extremely helpful for people who are ‘read and write’ learners and these individuals tend to work alone as opposed to working in group settings. They are also very independent, and learn much better by themselves (Advantages &Disadvantages of Different Learning Styles, 2016). Some strategies that may help someone who is a read and write learner are:
- Lots of note taking
- Re-writing your notes until the idea is stuck in your head
- Hand outs and PowerPoints
- Dictionaries, thesaurus and books
- Putting picture diagrams into words
- Studying independently
However, a ‘read and write’ learner needs to take time to study and absorb the material. (Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Learning Styles, 2016). They are unable to grasp concepts very quickly, as this type of learner uses a lot of repetition to help them understand their material that they are learning. So if you think you are a ‘read and write’ style learner, reconsider any procrastination habits you may have acquired over the years!
The final style of learning is Kinesthetic. These individuals best learn information when they can apply what they are learning and putting it into action. This may mean teaching it to other people or acting on the knowledge and skills they’ve learned. These learners find doing what they are learning more helpful as opposed to listening to a lecture. Kinesthetic learners tend to be constantly moving in their seats and have an excellent physical memory, meaning they learn fast after doing acting on something with the knowledge they are learning. . Strategies that can benefit kinesthetic learners include:
- Using computers
- Taking part in hands-on activities
- Taking short breaks between working and studying
- Making and creating projects
- Listening to music while studying
- Completing work in groups
These learners benefit from physically working out problems related to the topic with other students, as well as taking breaks after a lot of information has been taught to them.
To conclude, there are various methods of learning, so don’t be discouraged if one strategy didn’t work for you. It is really about understanding how your brain works and finding a way to learn that you enjoy. Success in education is typically achieved when you are engaged and interested in the subjects you study, so find a way to make things interesting by watching videos, listening to audio-books, or colour-coding your cue cards. Whatever works for you, just go out and enjoy learning!
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Major, S. (2016, February 4) 16 Characteristics of Kinesthetic And Tactile Learners.
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Study advice for read & write learners (2016). The study gurus.com. Retrieved from https://www.thestudygurus.com/read-write-study-tips/
Visual Learning Style: Definition & Characteristcs. (2016). Study.com [Web log]. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/visual-learning-style-definition-characteristics.html
What is my Learning Style?. (2014). Whatismylearingstyle.com [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.whatismylearningstyle.com/auditory-learner.html
What’s your Learning Style? The Learning Styles. (2011). Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-styles.shtml