Leveraging on your Learning Style

There are broadly 3 styles which people commonly adopt when they are learning something new: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. While all of us would have all 3 of these styles to varying degrees, it is useful to note that most of us have 1 of these styles as our dominant learning style. Approximately 30% of the population are visual learners, 25% are auditory learners, and 45% are kinaesthetic learners. Let us take a look to examine these in turn; perhaps some of these will strike a chord among you.

Visual Learners

If you are predominantly a visual learner, you tend to absorb information and facts through pictures, diagrams and text. Some of you may be great at recognising faces, but less so at remembering names! The main principle underlying effective learning for visual learners is being able to focus on the task at hand with minimal distraction. Most visual learners would benefit in quiet environments, or when being in groups where their peers are able to effectively demonstrate concepts. You can use some of these tips aimed at the visual learning style to maximise the effectiveness of what you are learning.

Use colour

• Buy a selection of different coloured pens and highlighters and when you take notes, use the different colours for different concepts
• Write key concepts three times in three different colours
• Highlight important passages and points in standout shades

Look at the pictures first

• Before reading a passage from a textbook, look at the illustrations to get an idea of what the content and context is about
• When you read a chapter of a textbook, review the graphics to help you remember key concepts

Picture what you read

• As you read, get a clear idea of what’s going on by picturing the action in your mind

Use flashcards

• Use flashcards to help you memorise facts – for example, when you are studying history, write a date on one side of a card and key events that took place on that date on the reverse side

Get it in writing

• Remember to take notes on everything your teacher writes on the board or displays using presentation software
• Request written assignments from the teacher, or ask if you can create your own written assignments whenever possible

Auditory Learners

If you are predominantly an auditory learner, you tend to process information and facts through sound and other auditory cues. Proven principles that yield sound results include consistent verbal repetition and oral reinforcement in pairs or groups. Additionally, most auditory learners would thrive in environments with soft background music. Some strategies you may find useful are:

Read aloud and repeat

• To memorise facts, repeat the information aloud several times
• Highlight key concepts as you read, and then read the highlighted material aloud

Record and review

• Read your written notes into a voice recorder and play them back
• Record lectures, textbook chapters using a voice recorder for future listening
• Ask your librarian if the textbook or reference book is available on audio CD
• While reviewing, follow the text as you listen the audio CD to increase comprehension of the material

Practice word association

• Use rhymes and acronyms to help recall facts
o In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
o Roy G. Biv (colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet)

Discuss
• Explain new concepts to a family member or study partner
• Retell the main points of the textbook chapters in your own words
• Ask friends and family members to quiz you orally as you prepare for tests

Kinaesthetic Learners

Kinaesthetic learners process information and solve problems most efficiently when they turn learning into a hands-on activity. The underlying principle for kinaesthetic learners to note is that they can be powerful learning on the go! Easy access to physical objects such as beanbags, water or even exercise bicycles can provide much appreciated study breaks (not to mention relief) for kinaesthetic learners. Try some of these kinaesthetic learning strategies for size!

Get a grip on it

• Choose projects that let you use your hands whenever possible, for example, build a model of a solar system
• Act out a passage from a book or use 3-D models to reinforce what you have learnt

Get more from reading

• When you read, follow along with your fingers or a bookmark to improve comprehension
• Use highlighters to colour your text with underlines, circles, and other patterns
• Rewrite relevant facts or key concepts in your own words

Take a break

• Study for about 30 minutes at a time, then take a physical activity break in order to reduce boredom and improve focus when you return

Explore

• Take regular field trips related to the subject matter to experience learning more fully