BY SCOTT HAWKSWORTH
Do you know your preferred learning style? Or rather, do you know what one is? A learning style is an individual’s approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. And knowing yourself as a learner is important if you want to achieve to the best of your ability.
When it comes to processing information, your brain is the most important part of your body. It’s where all thinking, learning, and decision-making takes place. If you know your learning style, then you can study smarter, not harder.
What’s Your Learning Style?
Information enters your brain three main ways: sight, hearing, and touch. By examining your learning style, you’ll become aware of how your brain learns best. And if you know how you learn best, you can also communicate more effectively with your instructors.
It’s important to note that everyone has a combination of ways in which they learn; however, most people have ONE predominant learning style. Learning styles are typically broken down into three major categories:
Visual – processing with your eyes
Characteristics of visual learners include:
•Prefers to read and write rather than listen.
•Enjoys reading books for knowledge.
•Can easily follow written directions.
•Has trouble remembering verbal instructions
•Prefers maps to verbal directions when trying to find a place.
Auditory – processing through your ears
Characteristics of auditory learners include:
•Prefers to follow verbal instructions rather than written ones.
•Enjoys group work and discussing information with others.
•Remembers by listening, especially music.
•Reads with whispering lip movements
•Finds it difficult to work quietly for long periods of time.
Kinetic – processing by doing
Characteristics of kinetic learners include:
•Needs to move, tap, swing or bound a leg in order to stay focused
•Benefits from in-class demonstrations, “hands on” student learning experiences, and fieldwork outside the classroom.
•Often needs frequent breaks during studying.
•Learns spelling by “finger spelling” the words.
•Often takes notes or even draws pictures or doodle while listening.
According to research, each learning style uses different parts of the brain. For example, auditory learners use hearing to process information while visual learners rely on seeing to learn. Kinetic learners learn best by doing or processing information in a hands-on approach.
No learning style is either better or worse than another. In fact, each learning style has its own strengths and limitations. But if you know your limitations, you can extend your abilities and reach your highest potential.
Study Tips Based on Learning Style
The introduction of theInternet has changed the way students learn and are taught. And with many students now enrolling , it’s important to recognize and understand your learning style in order to engage successfully with changing teaching methods.
Once you’ve identified your learning style, you can adjust the way you study and possibly improve your grades and overall productivity.
Check out the tips below to you learn and study more efficiently and effectively:
Visual– Draw pictures and diagrams in the margins while reading and write out questions you are working on. Underling and highlight text as you read and make flashcards for studying (use different colored cards). Copy over your notes to help with recall. Preview a chapter before reading it by first looking at the pictures and section headings.
Auditory – Listen to the words you read and read aloud or talk through the information. Record lectures, tutoring and study group sessions, etc. Make up and repeat rhymes to remember facts, dates, and names. Study in groups and particulate in class discussions and debates. Have a friend or classmate quiz you on vocabulary words and recite the word and definition out loud frequently. After you read a section, summarize it out loud.
Kinesthetic – Walk around as you read and listen to recordings of lectures and notes. Engage your fingers while studying by tracing words and re-writing sentences to learn key facts. If you have a stationary bicycle, try reading while pedaling and studying with music in the background. Try squeezing a Nerf ball or bouncing a foot on the floor.
Whether you choose to take classes online, on campus or both, knowing how you learn can make a significant difference in your academic success. A good teacher, online or in-person, will utilize multiple instructional strategies to meet the needs of all students, and the more you know about your learning style, the more you’ll learn.
Scott Hawksworth is with http://www.bestonlineuniversities.com , a Chicago-based startup focused on higher education. Scott has been combining his passions for technology, the web, and education for over five years. He’s a graduate of The Ohio State University, and enjoys playing piano, reading, and trying out the latest video games in his spare time.
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