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Is interactive learning right for you?

Removing the following “don’t-dos” from your workspace won’t magically create more hours in your day, but it will make you more efficient in ways that might surprise you.

Do you like creating flashcards to prepare for exams? Do you use a lot of body language when you’re telling a story? Are you often tapping your feet or a pencil when you read or write? If the answer is, “yes, yes, yes,” you might benefit from kinesthetic learning styles.

The word “kinetic” means relating to or resulting from motion. So you may find kinesthetic learning styles helpful if you naturally like to use movement and your sense of touch to explore and absorb information. For preschoolers, that might be drawing a letter in the air with their hands and arms. For college students, that might be more self-directed activities, such as streaming a class lecture while walking on a treadmill or clapping your hands to help memorize new terminology.

Learning through movement and action has real benefits. “Research suggests that learning in a way that requires active retrieval of information — such as acting out a certain theory or creating a quiz on a subject rather than simply reading and highlighting a textbook — results in greater retention of that information,” says Mariale Hardiman, interim dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University.

Kinesthetic learning may even boost test scores, because for some learners, movement allows for a deeper, more meaningful understanding of a subject.

Studying strategies

Once you’ve figured out if kinesthetic learning styles work well for you, here are a few ways you can start playing to your strengths as a University of Phoenix student:

  • Create models. Some people benefit from creating things that help them better understand a topic. For example, tackling a tough psychology concept? Try acting it out or filling a wall with sticky notes that showcase the subject.
  • Create quizzes. People tend to retain information better with output — e.g., creating a quiz — than input — such as simply reading about a topic.
  • Create flashcards. Again, it’s all about output. Drawing up flashcards forces your brain to dig for the pertinent information you need to know in order to perform well on a test.
  • Create movement. This is a no-brainer. Ask a study buddy to discuss coursework on a walk rather than at a coffee shop. Or do jumping jacks while your teenager volleys quiz questions to you. Just get moving!