Discovering Your Unique Learning Style: Why It Matters and How to Use It
We have all encountered those people who seem to be able to pass exams without looking at course material or effortlessly lead meetings without any prior preparation. Their abilities can pose the question: what is it that makes them able to absorb information so easily? It turns out that these people have a heightened awareness of their unique learning style. Learning styles correspond to different ways of absorbing, retaining and processing information. It sounds obvious, but if you don’t know how you learn best, you’ll be at a disadvantage when it comes to learning or retaining new information.
Without doubt, schools and universities foster a more standardized approach to learning. This means that students often struggle to identify their learning style, as they are required to conform to one particular mode of learning. While most people assume they learn best visually- this makes up to 65% of the population according to recent surveys – it’s important to note that there are up to seven different learning styles altogether. On that note, let’s take a closer look at these seven styles, so that you can understand which category you fit into and how to use this knowledge to work more efficiently in your life.
1. Visual (Spatial)
The visual learner is someone who prefers to use pictures, images, and spatial understanding when learning. They rely on these cues to understand specific concepts. They would benefit from the use of diagrams, charts, and graphs, and should take a visual approach to the layout and color of notes to enhance their memory retention.
2. Aural (Auditory, Musical)
The aural learner prefers to use sound and music. They rely on these cues to process information. They thrive in an environment with background music, attending lectures, or listen to audio recordings while studying. They can also benefit from reading aloud to themselves; this enables them to memorize information through aural interaction.
3. Verbal (Linguistic)
The verbal learner prefers to use words, both in writing or speech. They can memorize information quickly by using mnemonic devices and word associations. They benefit from discussions, debates, writing essays, and reciting information aloud to help them process it.
4. Physical (Kinesthetic)
This type of learner is hands-on. They prefer a more interactive approach to learning and find it more difficult to learn by simply reading or listening to information. Physical learners should try and involve themselves in practical tasks that require physical involvement, e.g. taking notes while walking, using flashcards and movement when studying.
5. Logical (Mathematical)
Logical learners prefer to use logic, reasoning, and systems. They thrive when analyzing information and breaking it down into its constituent elements. They benefit from creating lists in note-taking, flowcharts, and timelines. They would benefit from learning statistical concepts to help them understand specific problems in a more structured way.
6. Social (Interpersonal)
Social learners prefer to collaborate in a group or with other people. They are seasoned team players and learn best when in an interactive and social environment. They benefit from group-based activities such as group projects, group discussions, and brainstorming sessions.
7. Solitary (Intrapersonal)
Solitary learners rely on their self-study and usually prefer to work independently. They work best when they can reflect on course material and retain a more thorough understanding of concepts when they can link it to their personal experiences. They can benefit from setting goals, objectives, and keeping a reflective journal.
It’s important to remember that learning styles are not exclusive; you can use them in combination. For example, if you’re a verbal learner, you might benefit from incorporating visual elements in your note-taking process. Each leaning style has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to use them correctly and efficiently.
Taking the time to determine your learning style can lead to more effective learning and retainment. It can transform your relationship with studying and enable you to concentrate better on tasks that previously seemed impossible. One way to determine your learning style is by taking the Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire online. This online test provides you with an excellent starting point for identifying your learning style effectively.
Once you’ve determined your learning style, you can begin to tailor your study regime. Below, we provide six ways to use your new knowledge and make learning less stressful and more efficient.
1. Use Colors and Images
Visual learners can retain information through the use of color-coded notes and the incorporation of imagery.
2. Collaborate with Others
Social learners should collaborate with others when studying through group discussions, group projects or peer reviewing.
3. Build Systems and Structures
Logical learners should create systems and structures for learning, such as creating notes, creating task lists, using Mnemonic devices, and using different forms of association.
4. Incorporate Movement
Physical learners should incorporate movement into their study routines, such as taking notes while walking or using flashcards and movement when studying.
5. Record Voice Memos
Aural learners benefit from recording voice memos to help them remember information.
6. Write in a Journal
Solitary learners might want to keep a reflective journal, looking at how they’ve processed information and link it back to their personal experiences.
In conclusion, it’s not too late to become more efficient in your approach to learning, be it in your personal life or your professional life. Identifying your learning style provides a foundation to maximize your learning potential by tailoring your approach to your learning style’s strengths. Once you understand how you process and retain information, the next step is using this knowledge to significantly enhance your learning experience.