Have you realized that you learn best in specific situations? This is probably a result of your leaning towards a specific learning style. Becoming aware of your specific learning style is easy.
How to identify your learning style? There four different learning styles – Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing and Kinesthetic. You can identify your learning style by identifying the mode of study that gives you the best learning outcome. For visual learners, you will find learning by images and colored notes to be effective. For auditory learners, you will prefer learning by listening to information. The reading/writing learners will find reading and/or writing to be a preferred mode of study. As for the kinesthetic learners, you will find yourself preferring hands-on practical learning experience.
Figuring out your learning style is an easy task, as just being more aware of your inclination towards a specific type of learning style. However, awareness of your learning style is just the beginning. There are more details behind the learning style that you can use to maximize your learning.
In the rest of this article, you will learn more about the learning styles, and ways to use your specific learning style to greater effect.
Quiz to Discover Your Learning Style
Importance Of Learning Style
Why would you want to know your learning style? Is learning not just showing up to class, and passively learning? You might wonder.
Here is the reason and strategy to go beyond just learning passively, you can use your learning style to your advantage. Taking advantage of your learning style can help you study more efficiently and effectively. This saves you time and effort in your studies in the long-term. You will also find yourself doing better in your studies with less effort.
To take full advantage of your learning style, you need to begin by understanding the types of learning style, and which is your learning style. When you have identified your learning style, you will need to develop effective learning approaches to unleash your learning style potential. These will be covered in the sections below.
Types Of Learning Style
There are four types of learning styles, which are acronym into the VARK model. Each learning style has a unique and distinctive perspective and ideal mode of learning. Below are each learning style uniqueness and distinctiveness explained:
The visual learning style is a spatial type of learning style. A learner with this learning style will find visual information, such as images, illustrations, and graphs easier to absorb.
Auditory learners will find verbal information easier to assimilate into their memory. They will prefer to learn through listening to information than reading about it. If you are an auditory learner, you will find yourself more inclined to take audio-recordings of your lectures, and find comfort and ease in studying with them.
The reading/writing learners are words-oriented learners that find the act of reading and writing best suited for their learning. For reading/writing learners, they learn exceptionally well from reading books and textbooks. Also, they will prefer to take notes and write during their study, as it helps them to learn better.
The kinesthetic learners prefer to learn through physical activity. They learn best through hands-on experience, such as practical assignment. Common among kinesthetic learners are their high energy level.
Knowing Your Learning Style
To identify if this is your learning style, you can take a visual memory test, where you will try to remember as many images as possible. If this test felt easy, you are likely a visual learner.
A quick test to see if you are an auditory learner is to try learning from an audio-recorded class and test yourself to list out as many facts covered by the class. If you can list out a lot of facts just from listening to the audio-recorded class, you are likely an auditory learner.
Do you find yourself reading a lot of books? And/or do you find yourself writing lots of notes during your lectures? These are signs of a preference towards the reading/writing learning style. A test you can take is to read a book chapter, write down a few key ideas of the chapter, and see if you are able to recall the key ideas a few hours later. If you find such an exercise easy, you are likely a reading/writing learner.
An easy way to find out if you are a kinesthetic learner is to ask yourself a few questions. Do you enjoy learning by doing? Do you excel in motor-related skills? If you find yourself answering “Yes” to these questions, you are likely a kinesthetic learner.
Improving With Your Learning Style
Once you have determined your learning style, you are ready to take advantage of it. You can plan the way you study in line with your learning style to maximize your studying session.
Below, you will find our suggestions on ways to maximize each learning style. If you like to save time, you can skip directly to the part on your specific learning style. Otherwise, if you have the time, learning about the other learning styles’ study improvement strategies can help you get a wholesome concept of the learning styles.
For teachers, understanding all four different learning styles will be extremely useful in your teaching career. You can use this knowledge to help students to improve their study by working with their learning style.
For the visual learner, color and images are effective tools to use while studying.
You will want to color code your notes. This takes advantage of your visual prowess of identifying contrast, which will help better encode the highlighted sections of your notes into memory.
Drawing out images, such as concept maps (mind maps) of your notes, can help you learn better, as well. The concept maps will engage your spatial memory and play to your innate visual preference and strength. You will find learning from concept maps will help you use your visual ability to associate ideas faster during your study revision.
As an auditory learner, you will want to record your lectures. Re-listening to your recorded lectures can help you to reinforce the knowledge during your study revision.
A great tip is to re-play your recorded lectures during your daily commute to school. You may also find it more mentally stimulating to listen to your recorded lectures while taking a slow walk.
Additionally, an active verbal discussion of lecture materials with a study partner can be a great engaging way to study. You will find that the verbal discussion with a study partner can keep your mind focused and challenged on the study materials. Also, the auditory experience of a verbal discussion can be extremely mentally stimulating for you.
A reading/writing learner will want to take notes actively during lectures by handwriting. During your study revision, you will want to write additional information to your lecture notes. This helps you to make a more detail-oriented notes that engages your preference for reading.
Before lectures, you may want to pre-read the topic beforehand. This helps you get an extensive idea of the lecture content. During your lecture, as you write your notes, you can include additional ideas glimpsed from your reading. The process of pre-read and active note-taking during lectures will help you take better notes, while being more engaged during lectures.
The kinesthetic learner will find incorporating physical exercises, as breaks, into study sessions helpful. You will want to take a short walk during your study breaks or stretch your body.
Using small movements can help increase your focus. For example, you may want to bounce a tennis ball when studying. The small action of bouncing the tennis ball will help to stimulate your mind and get you laser-focused attention. This can help you to focus while studying.
If there is an opportunity to learn by manipulating models or figurines, you should use them. By manipulating models or figurines, you can engage your strength in motor memory for learning. For example, you may find learning from an atomic model of a molecule to be more engaging than its written form.
Learning Style Adaptation
Your learning style is not fixed. It will change as you develop your skills and experience new life events. For example, children will find their learning style changing as they develop new reasoning and cognitive skills into adulthood. These changes in their learning styles will reflect and match the skills they have acquired.
Do not worry about a change in your learning style. There is no such thing as the best learning style. It simply means your preference and learning ability have adapted towards a new learning style.
When you find your learning style has adapted, you will need to make adjustment to your studying strategy. As such, you can continue reaping the knowledge of knowing your learning style.
What is the most common learning style? The most common learning style is kinesthetic based on the research work by Poonam Kharb.
Can learning style be changed? A person’s learning style can change and adapt, as one ages. This will reflect the changes in a person’s skills and learning experience.