It’s easy to assume that the person sitting next to you in class learns in essentially the same way as you do. However, that’s not always the case. There are actually several different learning styles, and identifying yours can be really helpful when it comes to your academic studies.
Why Is It Important?
Identifying your own learning style will allow you to tailor your study methods to fit. This will naturally enhance your learning and help you to achieve your highest potential grades. It’s also something to consider when selecting your subjects. Before you sign up to a course, you should ask about the main methods of teaching that are applied. If you find that much of the teaching involves the tutor delivering lectures to the class, and you don’t have an auditory learning style, you might find the study sessions a slog!
If you do have concerns, or are struggling with the teaching style of your tutor, you should discuss this with them or your college advisor. There may be small changes that your tutor can make to ensure that their teaching methods encompass all learning styles.
An auditory learner prefers to hear information rather than have it presented to them in a visual form (in a text book, for example). They’re likely to prefer spoken lectures and study groups where they can discuss topics. If you’re an auditory learner you might find yourself repeating problems or facts out loud. You’re also likely to sound words out to determine the correct spelling.
Tips for auditory learners:
- Ask your tutor if you can record their class or lecture, to play back later.
- Use jingles or songs to help you recall information.
- Read your academic work aloud when proofreading.
Written information and visual aids are the key to good study sessions for those with a visual learning style. You’re likely to be a visual learner if you prefer it when your tutor writes on a whiteboard, uses visual tools and supplies handouts. You’re also likely to rely on visualization methods to recall information—such as visualizing a word to recall the correct spelling.
Tips for visual learners:
- Use different fonts, colors, highlighters and formatting tools (underlining, bold, italics etc) when making notes.
- Replace words with symbols in your notes where possible.
- Use illustrations, diagrams and concept maps to aid your learning.
If you’re a visual learner, you will probably appreciate Cite This For Me’s citation forms for MLA style, APA style, and Chicago style format. They visually breakdown the different parts of a citation, then show you what the final citation looks like.
This style of learning relies on touch and movement. If you feel that you learn best by ‘doing’—so, for example, you feel very at home with lab work, practical tasks, or using a computer, you may be a tactile/kinesthetic learner.
Tips for tactile/kinesthetic learners:
- Move around while you study at home. If in class, use a stress ball or fidget toy to keep your hands active.
- Use physical objects and movement to aid your learning. For example, act out that scene in a play, carry out that science experiment, and use objects to bring math problems into physicality.
Identifying your own learning style will allow you to identify and develop the right learning and study methods. Matching your study methods to your learning style should hopefully help you achieve the best academic results possible.
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