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Phoenix Forward magazine

There are 7 learning styles. Which one fits you?

Everyone learns differently, says Joy V’Marie, MS, an online instructor in the general studies program at the University of Phoenix® Southern Arizona Campus.

There are seven types of learners: solitary, social, verbal, visual, logical, physical and aural. “Identifying your own learning style is step one in determining what your best study techniques are,” she notes.

To figure out your primary learning style, V’Marie recommends taking a short test, such as the one posted on EducationPlanner.org. “Once you pinpoint your own style of learning, you can create an effective system for studying, organizing and processing data,” she says.

Here, V’Marie describes the seven types of learners and the best ways for them to study:

Solitary

Solitary

Focusing is easier for you when you’re alone, and you like to think things through before reaching a conclusion.

Best learning techniques: Set aside “alone time” for studying and memorizing; you don’t need to be with classmates to get the most out of your study time.

For instance, in the privacy of your home, say aloud material that you’re trying to retain. Recitation is considered the most effective memorization technique because it employs more senses — auditory, visual and vocal — than most other review methods.


Social

You’re a “people person” who grasps information more readily when you study with others. Discussion groups help you formulate ideas and understand principles, and your knowledge is informed by others’ comments on any subject.

Best learning techniques: Join online or in-person study groups of students who are taking the same or similar courses as you.


Verbal

You have a big vocabulary and a talent for expressing yourself easily through writing or speaking, and you employ tricks that play on what words sound like or mean.

Best learning techniques: V’Marie suggests making up rhymes or acronyms to help you retain facts and statistics. If you’re trying to remember the stages of how cells divide, for example, you might devise an acronym such as IPMAT for interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telephase.


Visual

Pictures and diagrams are your learning tools of choice, particularly when you’re presented with new information.

Best learning techniques: Consider illustrating or color-coding notes you take on your reading assignments or clipping magazine photos that reflect what you’re trying to absorb.


Logical

You always rank tasks before you begin working on any of them, and you like to figure out problems systematically.

Best learning techniques: Make a list of what you have to study, and focus on the key points you want or need to be able to recall.


Physical

You like to keep busy while studying.

Best learning techniques: Write detailed notes during class discussions and presentations if your courses are on a campus. For online courses, you can pace the floor while memorizing information or reading a textbook chapter, or do housework or even light exercise to help you concentrate.


Aural

Sounds, especially music, help you understand and retain material.

Best learning techniques: Create your own jingles or poems that contain facts and figures you want to retain. “You can also play the radio or CDs while you’re studying,” V’Marie says, noting that “aural learners tend to respond well to background music.”