There is no one size fits all approach to education. When it comes to learning some of us need to see it, some of us need to hear it and some of us need to do it. Whether in a traditional classroom or online program, knowing your learning style is as important as knowing your shoe size.
If you’ve ever experienced frustration while trying to learn something that was seemingly simple. Odds are that frustration was the result of a clash between the mode of teaching and your learning style. By recognizing whether you are a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, you will be able to incorporate learning techniques better suited to you, making learning quicker and more enjoyable.
Answer the following 5 questions and see if you are able to uncover your unique learning style:
1. When choosing a book to read for fun, what type would you pick?
A. A book with lots of pictures in it
B. A book with lots of words in it
C. A book with word searches or crossword puzzles
2. In High School, how did you usually study for a test?
A. Read the book or your notes and reviewed pictures or charts
B. Had someone ask you questions that you can answer out loud
C. Made up index cards to review
3. What do you find most distracting when you are trying to study?
A. People walking past you
B. Loud noises
C. An uncomfortable chair
4. When you go to a party or event, what do you usually remember the next day?
A. The faces of the people who were there
B. The music that was played
C. The dance moves you did and the food you ate
5. When you give someone directions to your house, what are you most likely to tell them?
A. A description of building and landmarks they will pass on the way
B. The names of the roads or streets they will be on
C. “Follow me—it will be easier if I just show you how to get there.”
Total the number of questions answered A, answered B and answered C. If the majority of your answers were:
A: You are a VISUAL learner
B: You are a AUDITORY learner
C: You are a KINESTHETIC learner
Here’s some tips for using your learning style to your advantage:
Visual learners understand and remember things by seeing. As a visual learner, you prefer to SEE what you are learning and you retain information best when visual objects like graphs, charts or pictures are used.
Visual learners read body language well and have a keen eye for esthetics. Visual learners often have difficulty with spoken directions and can be easily distracted by sounds. Tips for visual learners include:
- Try to visualize verbal instructions or things that are being read to you.
- Write down key words, ideas, or instructions for better retention.
- Use flashcards to reinforce lessons, concepts and new words.
- Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
- Color code to group similar ideas together and underscore important concepts.
Auditory learners retain information through hearing and listening. As a auditory learner you prefer to HEAR what you are learning and your brain stores information by the way it sounds. Lessons are learned by listening and repeating notes back out loud.
Auditory learners are often talented musicians and benefit greatly from using a word association techniques. Although sometimes slower readers, auditory learners usually possess incredible memories. When bored auditory learners have a tendency to hum or talk to themselves or others. Tips for auditory learners include:
- Study in groups so that you may talk out loud and explain your ideas to other individuals.
- Use flashcards and read them out loud to reinforce lessons, concepts and new words.
- Record yourself spelling words and then listen to the recording.
- Ask questions and engage in conversational discussion to learn new the material.
- Record lectures and lessons in order to play back and listen multiple times as a study technique.
Kinesthetic learners retain information best by doing, not just by reading, seeing, or hearing. Learning is best when it is HANDS-ON or involves physical activity. Lessons are best learned through touching, building, moving, or drawing rather than lectures and reading.
Kinesthetic learners are usually strong in math and science and would rather show someone how to do something rather than verbally explain it. Usually well coordinated and athletic kinesthetic learners often speak with their hands and appreciate physically expressed forms of encouragement, such as a pat on the back.
- Study in groups and incorporate in activities that involve building, drawing or acting out.
- To reinforce new material learned, try teaching it to your friends or family.
- For better concentration, try chewing gum, walking around, or rock in a chair while reading or studying.
- Use flashcards and arrange them in groups to help demonstrate relationships between ideas.
- Take frequent breaks by getting up and stretching and walking around to help get your circulation flowing.
Understanding how you learn will enable you to do more of what works for you and propel you to reach your goals. Just like education, learning does not come with a one size fits all solution. As diverse individuals, students need to pinpoint the best fitting approach to online learning styles and habits to maximize their potential. If you felt as if you fell short with your education in grade school, you may discover that you were never catering to your unique learning habits.
Seeking a higher education requires a student to retain information better than they ever have before. Your learning style is unique and an important discovery that will lead you down the road to success as an online student.