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Learning Your Way

American lawyer Brad Henry once said, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” It is through learning that personal development comes into fruition and change begins. Yet, learning doesn’t always occur in a classroom or a training center. Opportunities to grow are presented to us daily, but it’s understanding the learning style you need that determines if you take these opportunities or not.

Believe it or not, we all have a dominant learning style that is our “go-to,” but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one we may use. The truth of the matter, we all have a learning style that we adopt and modify to meet our needs. 

Here are the four primary learning styles and some questions to determine if it’s one you may use! Please note, the following learning styles are based on the theory of Neil Fleming’s VARK model.

 

Visual

Visual learners focus on spatial formations, preferring pictures and images to understand concepts. As the occipital lobes at the back of your brain manage spatial/visual elements, it is said this is where your brain is processing this learning.

You May Be A Visual Learner If:

You prefer to see information and the relationship between concepts.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

In most traditional spaces, the educator will provide materials or outline topics on a large screen or whiteboard. Some believe visual learners prefer to study in solitude to focus on colors, shapes and spatial flows. Try using a visual outline or a concept map to organize your notes, be sure to read the text that is associated with any diagrams or graphic visuals, and retain information easier by color coding your notes.

 

Reading / Writing

Unlike visual learners, reading/writing learners tend to learn the best when interacting with text.

You May Be A Reading / Writing Learner If:

You prefer to take notes in class, writing down the information in the way that you understand it. The physical motion of writing helps to ingrain the information.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Be sure to re-write and re-read your notes! This learning style is all about how digestible the text is to you! When reading over, take notes of the concepts or large ideas that you don’t understand. From there, go back through your textbook or other resources, and write down the ideas you did not remember.

 

Auditory

Auditory learning thrives best in a lecture-based setting. These learners take note in a person’s tone in voice, may prefer oral exams and retain information better when working in groups.

You May Be an Auditory Learner if:

You perform better for oral exams than a writing exam, participating in class discussion helps you to understand concepts better and reading text aloud helps you to remember information.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Be sure to participate in class discussions! When you find yourself having a difficult time remembering a broad concept, try turning it into a story. Stuck on a written exam question? Try reading it aloud or under your breath to better understand what it’s asking!

 

Kinesthetic

If you loved the “head, shoulders, knees and toes” song, chances are you have some kinesthetic styles in your dominant learning style. Kinesthetic learners prefer to move while they are learning!

You May Be a Kinesthetic Learner if:

Typically, these individuals are involved in sports, art, and drama as they have excellent hand-eye coordination and quick reception. If walking around while thinking or talking aloud about a concept helps you to process and digest the information, kinesthetic learning is your learning style!

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Some of the best ways to understand information as a kinesthetic learner are by acting ideas out, study while standing or moving (like sitting on a balancing ball at your desk), doodling during a lecture, or studying while you’re physically engaged, such as while you’re bouncing a ball.

 

The best way to determine your learning style is by giving each one a try! While not every environment may be suitable for your style of learning, it’s crucial to understand which method you prefer early to modify for the future! 

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