Just as we all have our individual styles of dressing up, hairdos, food preferences or any other lifestyle choices we make, we also have different styles of learning. A style which suits us best to learn! In general, it is found that most of us fall into one of the following three styles of learning.
At school, have you ever felt that you are more comfortable in a class where the teacher uses PowerPoint presentations, diagrams, maps, charts, graphs and posters to teach? When you are trying to learn a new concept, do you tend to draw diagrams, flow charts or write the key words repeatedly in order to memorise the important points? Is it also true that you enjoy working on jigsaw puzzles, you read maps well and are fond of drawing and creating new things? If the answer to the above questions is yes, then you are probably a visual learner or in other words, you have a visual style of learning.
On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who enjoys listening to other people talking, and you learn best when the teacher lectures and uses a discussion mode to teach, you may be an auditory learner. An auditory learner learns well by repeating material loudly, or can concentrate better on any content presented orally and is likely to have a keen interest in music.
The third kind of learner is the kinesthetic learner. Such a person learns best by ‘doing’. The ‘do-er’ as you may refer to a kinesthetic learner is one who likes to move around, learn things by methods that involve experimenting or using one’s body and movement to experience new concepts. Sometimes also referred to as tactile learners, such students have high levels of energy and enjoy exercises which involve dance and movement. Experiments in chemistry, field trips , drama, sports and art may be their forte.
If you believe that you belong to any one of these learning styles, it may be a good idea to develop study habits or activities that best suit your style of learning.
By doing so, you can make your learning more effective, fun and stress free. For instance, a visual learner can learn effectively by drawing flow diagrams, mind maps or conceptual maps to memorise concepts in various sciences.
Spellings can be memorised by making memory cards and displaying them prominently.
Similarly, an auditory learner can benefit by using learning techniques that involve repetition of auditory material. Reading aloud, listening to records or CDs, combining music with studying to improve concentration or using rhythm to memorise are some good methods.
A kinesthetic learner can improve learning while engaging in sport or field related activities, using fingers and other body parts to rehearse concepts, preparing simple models and converting text into pictures.
Note that not all of us have such distinct learning styles. Many of us are comfortable using multiple styles of learning and learn well by combining one or more of these methods. However, identifying a dominant style can help us make the process of learning effective and fun. Go on, find your style!