The best way to learn has long been a topic for debate. While there is no conclusive evidence to show that one particular learning style is most effective, there are plenty of studies suggesting that most people have a preferred learning style.
Our natural preference is largely genetically determined, but is subject to environmental influence, especially when we are young. As we get older, it becomes more difficult to retrain or improve the weaker learning styles to gain a balanced approach.
We all use a combination of the three learning styles, and understanding which style works best for you can have a positive impact on a number of things, from your performance at work, to your social life.
Let’s take a look at three main learning styles, and see how you can make the most out of your strongest style.
‘From my perspective….’, ‘I get the picture…’, ‘What’s your view?’ You might find yourself using phrases like these more often than others if you have a visual preference. You will understand and remember best by sight, and prefer reading and looking at pictures or graphs.
You will like to see what you’re learning, and will often close your eyes to visualise or remember something you’ve learnt. This will often be demonstrated in your ability to understand maps and build puzzles, along with having a good sense of direction. You can often be distracted by sound and have difficulty with spoken instructions.
To maximise your visual learning ability, you can:
- Use flash cards to learn short snippets of information
- Colour code materials
- Try and visualise spoken instructions or things you hear, and create a mental picture for ease of memory
Your ears are your best friends, and you remember and understand information easiest through listening. It’s not just the words you remember, but the way they sound, and the manner in which they’re delivered.
You will often prefer a lecture style environment for learning, and enjoy discussions, where you can speak out loud to make your learning as audible as possible. ‘Sound about right?’
To maximise your auditory learning ability, you can:
- Read written materials out loud, or get somebody else to read them to you
- Use auditory learning materials where possible, such as videos and recordings
- Memorise information by saying it aloud, first by reading and then from memory
You’re the fidgeter, pen clicker and table tapper! You need to be active and don’t enjoy sitting still. You learn best through hands-on activities, often drawing or creating what you’re learning.
You tend to learn better when some form of physical activity is required. This doesn’t mean you have to be running a marathon to understand something, but having a simple exercise or activity to complete helps you remember the information much more clearly.
Sitting still in a class and listening for a long period of time can often leave you staring into space, or doodling over the closest thing you can get your hands on.
To maximise your kinaesthetic learning ability, you can:
- Take short, frequent breaks, and allow yourself to move around and do something quick, like make a cup of tea
- Use a computer to increase your interaction with the material you are studying
- Learn through activities where possible, such as drawing mind maps or diagrams
- Pre plan a favourite activity for after your study time. Knowing that you have something active to engage with afterwards will help you concentrate during your study
There are likely to be traits in all three styles that you can relate to. Whilst writing this, I have certainly noticed a leaning towards a kinaesthetic style, making multiple drinks and constantly bobbing my knees up and down under my desk.
At Babington, we have designed our courses to suit all learning styles. Many of our courses offer online learning options, where you can learn through reading materials, videos, quizzes, live chats with tutors, and more.
Understanding how you learn is important when choosing a course, and we will certainly have the options to suit your preference. To find out more about the courses we offer, please get in touch below.