Know your learning style: Become a more effective learner
Retaining knowledge at first blush seems a fruitless endeavor for some students. But before they shrug their shoulders and claim defeat for not possessing a photographic mind, these students should heed to the experts. The truth is, they might be poor learners because they don’t yet understand their preferred learning style.
Experts indicate there are seven fundamental types of learners in this world: solitary, social, verbal, visual, aural, logical and physical. Not sure what category you fall under? The 21-question Education Nation Learner Profile Assessment posted online at University of Phoenix helps narrow it down for the curious student.
“We all learn differently,” indicates the online assessment tool. So don’t be surprised when you find out you’re a student whose learning style straddles several of the seven styles. In the end, a person can better organize and process data by identifying which is the most apropos style, says organizing strategist Debbie Williams.
“Once you learned your own individual style of learning, you can translate this into a workable system to organize your home, office, and entire life,” writes Williams in “A Sense of Style: How to Determine Your Organizational Style.” The University of Phoenix Life Resource Center includes this article in its cache of 5,000 self-help materials to allow students to explore how they can retain knowledge and, ultimately, become better learners.
What style are you?
Identifying and understanding one’s personal learning style may save students frustration and wasted time using ineffectual studying techniques. The University of Phoenix assessment tool allows students to uncover which of the following styles make them feel most comfortable when learning new information.
Solitary (Intrapersonal) — Known as “thinkers,” these students find they focus best when alone. In addition, solitary learners tend to be highly motivated due to their awareness and assessment of personal thoughts, and are often heard saying: “I need some time to think it over.”
Implication for Learning: Students benefit from setting aside alone time for educational activities, which can include speaking aloud or role playing to retain information. It is best to ask another person when encountering difficult concepts or assignments.
Social (Interpersonal) — These “people person” students tend to learn best by bouncing ideas off others. A common phrase uttered is: “Let’s get together on that.”
Implication for Learning: In-person and online study groups may best serve social learners to maintain a level of socialization.
Verbal (Linguistic) — Often called “wordsmiths,” verbal learners are known to follow the sage advice: Go look it up in the dictionary. Their knack for vocabulary and The New York Times’ Sunday crossword have them saying: “In other words …”
Implication for Learning: Verbal learners pick up on clues when hearing or seeing words so effective strategies can include reading content aloud, making use of acronyms, and summarizing content in one’s own words.
Visual (Spatial) — This note doodler parlays illustrations and other visual queues to grasp new information, and may be well known for such phrases as: “I can picture it.”
Implication for Learning: Parlaying visual study aids to one’s learning advantage serve this kind of learner best. Efforts to retain knowledge may include using third-party or personal graphics or drawing and color-coding notes.
Aural (Auditory-Musical) — These students are often the people whose finger rapping or pencil tapping elicit shushes in the library. Yet their penchant to use music and sound as a learning strategy is an advantage. “That sounds good to me,” is a typical catch phrase for these folk.
Implication for Learning: Aural learners easily memorize content through musical associations, such as making up a song, playing music while studying, or putting facts to popular jingles.
Logical (Mathematical) — Soduku, anyone? Financial and math-minded students tend to rank-order items on their to-do list, but are prone to “analysis paralysis,” or getting bogged down in content they don’t understand in order to better comprehend a topic. “Now that really seems logical,” is a likely statement.
Implication for Learning: To-do lists for studying tasks and allowing one’s self to memorize facts versus dig too deep into the subject matter prove helpful for these students.
Physical (Kinesthetic) — These tactile students like to “get their hands dirty,” and are more prone to vacate their desk seat during class or talk with their hands in order to remain active. Learners of this style are known for such phrases as: “My gut instinct …”
Implication for Learning: Prolific note taking to keep busy during lecture classes or imagining yourself actively involved in the content being discussed (i.e., interviewing a source to understand journalism concepts) help these students. Experiential learning, or getting out of the classroom on “field trips” (even self-crafted ones), also facilitates learning.
To learn more about your personal learning style, visit the Education Nation Learner Profile Assessment.