By Lauren Abraham
Communications Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Have you ever noticed that you learn better in certain environments? For example, maybe you enjoy hands-on activities, but have a hard time focusing in class lectures. It is important to realize that we all have different learning styles that influence the way we process information. There are advantages to knowing how you learn, especially during your time as a college student.
Determining your learning style can inform your study habits and allow you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading about different learning styles in order to determine which one best describes you.
Auditory Learning Style
Individuals with an auditory learning style process information by listening to it (Marcy, 2001). These learners are likely to prefer lectures, group discussions and may enjoy listening to podcasts or the radio. In addition, they often process information by talking through it (The VARK Modalities, 2016). By listening to others and hearing themselves processing the information out loud, they are able to comprehend and retain it.
If you are an auditory learner, there are several things to keep in mind when you go about your studies. Participating in study groups can be a great way to engage with information, as this will give you an opportunity to listen to others and process through it yourself. In addition, when you are assigned reading in your classes, it may be beneficial to read the information out loud or search for an audio book in order to listen to it. Finally, recording class lectures may be a great option, so that you can listen to them again later.
Visual Learning Style
Visual learners process information best when they can see it. Maps, graphs, flow charts and pictures are helpful to them (Marcy, 2001). Individuals who are visual learners enjoy visual representations of what can be communicated with words. They are often able to make connections between symbols, and they can organize information by painting a mental picture. In addition, they learn by watching others do things.
There are several study tips that are helpful for visual learners. For example, visual learners often benefit from creating visual outlines of information that is presented to them. When taking notes, color coding information allows them to categorize it in their mind. Additionally, methods such as using flash cards and images to make connections allow them to retain what they are studying. If you are a visual learner, don’t be afraid to be creative!
Reading and Writing Learning Style
Individuals with a reading and writing learning style like to see written words. They learn by taking notes and rereading them over and over (Marcy, 2001). These individuals often organize themselves by making lists, and they enjoy receiving handouts, manuals and reading textbooks. When it comes to demonstrating what they have learned, they prefer to write essays, as it gives them the opportunity to express themselves through words on a page (The VARK Modalities, 2016).
Would you consider yourself to have a reading and writing learning style? There are several tips to keep in mind in order to be successful. First, recognize that you benefit from writing words, and writing them repeatedly. When it comes to studying for an exam, rewrite your notes and organize them into lists, diagrams or charts. In addition, be sure to take time to read them repeatedly so that you can visualize the words and remember concepts.
Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinesthetic learners acquire information through experience and practice, and they prefer to learn information that can be connected to reality (Marcy, 2001). They enjoy real-life examples and demonstrations of key concepts. In addition, they have a very hands-on approach to learning, as they learn by doing rather than watching. Kinesthetic learners often dislike remaining idle for extended periods of time, as they benefit from experiencing things first-hand.
If you are a kinesthetic learner, studying may seem like a challenge. However, there are things you can do to make the time you spend studying beneficial. For example, be conscious of when you feel you are zoning out and no longer retaining information. When this happens, take a short break by going for a walk. In addition, you may find success by studying while you are active, such as while you are walking on the treadmill at the gym. Finally, you may enjoy studying in groups, as this gives you an opportunity to interact with others while working through concepts.
It is important to remember that not every individual fits into the category of one of these learning styles. In fact, many people are a mix of these learning styles, but have tendencies toward one in particular. Ultimately, exploring your learning style can allow you to achieve your full potential!
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- Marcy, V. (2001). Adult learning styles: How the VARK learning style inventory can be used to improve student learning. Retrieved from vark-learn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/VanessaMarcy.pdf
- The VARK Modalities. (2016). Retrieved from vark-learn.com/introduction-to-vark/the-vark-modalities