Learning styles vary from person to person, since we process information differently. Most of us learn using a blend of styles, but there are people who benefit from one type of learning style. Knowing how you learn can help you understand what study strategies work best for you. It will be easier to reinforce what you have learned and take in new information more easily, and in less time. Colleges require you do a lot of independent learning. The ability to manage your time, adapt to change or do something in different ways are valuable skills.
Try the VARK Questionnaire.
Auditory Learner Characteristics
Learn best when new information is presented through speech. The strengths of this type of learning — good listeners, do well in lectures, benefit from class discussions – the Socratic method, see big ideas vs. details. The challenges — easily distracted by noise, distracted by visual overload.
Study Tips for Auditory Learners—
- Study in groups
- Discuss materials with others
- Read notes/text out loud
- Record lectures
- Record summarized notes and play them back
- Create songs and rhymes
- Study in a quiet place to avoid distraction
Career Options — Doctors, Guidance Counselor, Journalist, Nurse, Paralegal, Musician, Teacher, Translator
Visual Learner Characteristics
New information is associated with images, colors, models and videos. Strengths — good spellers, photographic memory, learn from seeing things written on the board. Challenges – difficulty understanding verbal directions, difficulty writing ideas.
Learning Strategies for Visual Learners —
- Color Code Notes to find themes, patterns, or other important information
- Draw diagrams, pictures, sketches
- Create mind maps and charts
- Watch videos for additional information
- Use symbols when taking notes
- Create outlines
Careers Options for your learning style– engineer, graphic design, interior designer, photographer, pilot, software developer, architect.
Read-Write Learner Characteristics
Someone who needs to read and/or write new information in order to learn. Strengths — do well in a traditional classroom, taking online courses, independent learners, appreciate written feedback, good analytical skills
Challenges — time-consuming, become distracted by noise, difficulty understanding when something is not structured.
Learning Strategies for Read-Write Learners —
- Take notes when reading &, during class,
- Rewrite your notes using your own words
- Read your notes out loud or to yourself
- Annotate or write notes in the margins of texts
- Create explanations for diagrams/charts/graphs
- Compare notes with someone else
- Post note cards/ Post It notes in visible places.
Career Options — Pharmacists, Lawyers, English Teacher, Professor, Editor, Translator, Screenwriter
Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics
Someone who needs physical and hands-on learners. Strengths — creative, energetic, great at doing experiments, can duplicate something doing it once
Challenges – hard to sit still, auditory or visual info may not be enough to learn
Learning Strategies for Kinesthetic Learners —
- Labs and hands-on activities help you understand ideas and topics,
- Stimulate tutorials
- Review material while walking around
- Take breaks so you can refocus
- Include real world examples in your notes
- Practice problems, exams, study guides
- Participate in group projects
- Attend field trips
- Build models
- Create games – great for learning a different language
Professions — Dentist, chef, coach, carpenter, Mechanic, Athletes, Performers,
Things to Remember for everyone
- Practice, practice, practice
- Combine study strategies
- Your learning style changes over time
- Students who do well practice good study habits
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