Monday, 14 May 2018

Find a learning style that best suits you.

Some pupils study better with flash cards, others make summaries or work through practice exam papers. 3 Reasons how you can adapt your learning style. 

We all learn differently and at our own pace, but many of us might not even know the best way to learn for our own individual needs.  According to educational theorist Neil Fleming there are four primary styles of learning which include: Visual learning, Auditory learning, Read/write learning and Kinesthetic learning.  It is important to understand your behaviour and preferred learning style in order to maximise the outcome of each learning session. 

Below is a description of each learning style and what you can include in your study program to help with that specific learning style.  Look out for indicators of how you will prefer to study.

Visual learning.

Visual learners prefer pictures, graphs and illustrations to point out the most important part of a topic.  Seeing a well organised visual picture helps visual learners understand relationships between concepts and they process information a lot quicker in this learning style.  A visual learner is stimulated by lots of colour and exaggeration of important points, such as making a font bold or underlining it.  Incorporate graphs, charts, diagrams, maps, underlining, different colours, highlighters, textbooks with diagrams and pictures in it and flashcards.

Auditory learning.

Listening and speaking is the best way for auditory learners to grasp new information.  Auditory learners learn well in group discussions, when a teacher explains work and through loud repetition of words and summaries.  An auditory learner learns best through listening, discussing, talking, questioning and recalling out loud.  If you are an auditory learner use your cell phone’s voice recording app and record yourself while reading your study work out loud, then replay your work to yourself again.

Read/Write learning.

Learning through reading and writing is a common form of learning, but for students who can easily translate abstract concepts into words, this method of learning will be their great advantage.  Reading/Writing learners enjoy taking notes and working through those notes again and again in their own time.  A student who learns best through reading and writing must include lists, headings, dictionary definitions and textbooks.  Write out your summaries again and read through it many times silently in your own time.

Kinesthetic learning.

The tangible and physical presentation of information will help kinaesthetic learners learn best.  These learners often learn best by figuring things out by themselves and being able to physically work with concepts, models or structures.  This learning is a form of “learn by doing”, therefore include the following in a kinaesthetic learning plan: practical exercises, examples, trial and error, laboratories and ways you can include all your senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing).

Here are our 3 tips how you can adapt your learning style:

1.      Know what kind of learner you are.

On Fleming’s website there is a questionnaire you can complete in order to find out what is your preferred learning style.  If you don’t already know, do the questionnaire and start adjusting your learning plan to accommodate your learning style.

2.     Try many different forms of learning.

Chances are you don’t just fit inside one box and that is great news because that means you can use a lot of different ways of learning.  For example, if you are a visual learner and an auditory learner, combine it with different subjects.  Make flow charts and diagrams for Life Sciences and then record yourself explaining Mathematics to yourself.  You don’t have to stick to just one form of learning.

3.     Don’t give up.

If you tried a different learning style and it didn’t work out immediately, don’t give up just yet.  There are many ways of learning and there isn’t just one specific way that is right.  Maybe you learn at your very best through Kinesthetic learning, but you don’t know how to incorporate it yet, don’t give up – give it another try.  All that matters is that you eventually understand all your learning material, no matter how you got there.  Keep trying.

We want to encourage you in your preparation for the exams to keep learning and to never give up.  Your future is in your hands and you have the choice to make it a bright one.  Brian Herbert said, “The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill and the willingness to learn is a choice.”

Let us know what kind of learning you are using and how you adjust your schedule to accommodate your learning style.