How can I improve my learning style?
Learning styles are a way of describing how people learn. They describe how people process information and how they prefer to receive it.
There are four main learning styles: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and verbal.
Visual learners prefer to see examples and diagrams before they try to understand concepts.
Auditory learners prefer to hear explanations and lectures before they try to understand the material.
Kinaesthetic like to physically experience thing’s firsthand before understanding them.
Verbal learners need to read or write everything out in order for their brains to absorb new knowledge.
How do you know what your learning style is?
People tend to have one dominant style of learning, but it is highly unlikely that an individual can strictly adhere to one learning style. You can have a mix of learning styles.
It’s more likely that we all use different combinations of these styles depending on our environment and circumstances.
Firstly, ask yourself some questions about how you learned as a child. Were there any books around when you were growing up? Did you play games with other children where you had to listen carefully to instructions? Was school always fun for you? If so, then this may be your preferred method of learning.
Secondly, think back on your life experiences. Have you ever been told by someone else that you’re not good at something?
Have you ever felt frustrated because you couldn’t remember anything from lessons? Do you find reading difficult? Are you easily distracted while studying? These could indicate that you might struggle if you don’t get enough practice time.
Finally, take into account your current situation. How much time does each day allow you to study? What kind of distractions surround you? Is there anyone who will help you through your studies? All of these factors influence whether you’ll succeed or fail in your course.
As long as you recognise which type of learner you are, you should be able to adapt your teaching methods accordingly. You can also make sure that you give yourself plenty of opportunities to practise whatever skills you’ve learnt.
What is my learning style?
- Visual – I love seeing lots of pictures and diagrams before trying to understand concepts. From notes to pictures.
- Auditory – I enjoy hearing explanations and lectures before trying to understand the material.
- Verbal – I’m very comfortable writing down ideas and facts.
- Kinaesthetic – I really enjoy doing practical activities such as drawing, painting, sculpting, art class, gym class, etc.
Note for teachers: Kinesthetic learners are people who learn best by doing. They learn through movement and physical activity. This type of learner learns best when they can see, hear, feel, smell, taste, or touch something.
Furthermore, kinesthetic learners often learn better when they are actively involved in the process rather than just listening to the information being delivered verbally.
For example, students who work well with computers usually learn faster when using software programs instead of simply watching videos.
Kinesthetic learners prefer hands-on activities over verbal explanations. As such, they find it easier to grasp ideas if they physically manipulate objects or have a sense of touch.
Kinesthetic learners also enjoy being able to demonstrate how something works. They are “hands-on” learner. If you show them how to solve a problem using physical manipulations, they’ll feel much more confident.
They also enjoy art project or using props to illustrate lessons.
For instance, if you want to explain how to solve a problem involving fractions, show your students how to cut a pie into six equal slices. If you teach algebra, demonstrate multiplication tables with blocks.
The following examples show how kinesthetic learners would respond to various situations.
Situation – Response
I am asked to explain something to others. – I’d probably start talking without thinking too hard about it.
I need to write things down. – I like to draw out what I want to say first.
I need to read something aloud. – I prefer to do this myself.
I need to memorise lots of new words. – I hate having to look them up!
I need to solve problems. – I try to visualise the solution first.
I need feedback on my performance. – I dislike giving oral exams.
I need to use tools. – I have no idea how to operate them.
I need to create something. – I like to sketch out an image first.
I need a lot of practice. – I don’t know why I keep messing up.
I need to talk to someone about my problem. – I’d probably go blank.
I need to watch someone demonstrate their skill. – I’d probably copy them.
I need a teacher’s guidance. – I’d probably follow along blindly.
Often feel uncomfortable sitting still for too long. Instead, they’d rather move around and explore objects than sit quietly listening to others talk.
If you want to improve your memory, you must train your brain to store information better.
The best way to achieve this is to actively engage with the subject matter. This means practising remembering details, using mnemonics, and making detailed notes.
Study techniques to increase your ability to memorise information by taking regular breaks during class. Try to avoid cramming for exams!
Note for Teachers: Visual learners are people who learn best by seeing things.
Visual learners can be very effective at learning new information if they have the right tools.
For example, if you want to learn how to play guitar, you could watch YouTube videos or read books about it.
But if you want to learn more about music theory, you might find it easier to listen to a teacher explain it to you.
Furthermore, visual learners tend to learn better when they’re given written instructions that include images.
If you’ve ever tried to cook dinner from scratch, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is to follow step-by-step recipes compared to reading a recipe book.
The following table describes how visual learners would react to different types of situation.
Situation – Reaction
I need to remember something. – I think back over everything I learned last week.
I’m trying to understand some complicated concept. – It helps me to see diagrams and pictures.
I need to make sense of a large amount of text. – I like to highlight important parts of the page.
I need help understanding a complex piece of writing. – I like to take copious notes.
I need to study for an exam. – I like to print off-key facts so I can refer to them later.
I need to plan ahead. – I like to map out where I’m going next.
I need to work through a set of exercises. – I like to mark each one as I complete it.
I need feedback. – I like to check answers against the textbook.
I need to recall names. – I like to jot down key points in case I forget them.
I need help solving a maths equation. – I like to draw lines between numbers until I get stuck.
Visual learners are often drawn towards visual representations of abstract concepts.
Visual learners learn best by looking at images and watching videos.
When working on assignments, visual learners would benefit from having lots of examples available. For example, if you’re struggling to work out why a particular formula works, draw a diagram showing the steps involved.
In addition, try to keep things simple. Don’t overload students with too many words; instead, focus on explaining what needs to happen step-by-step.
Then, once you have explained it clearly, let them do their own thing. Let them use their imagination to come up with solutions.
Note for Teachers: Auditory learners learn best by listening to information rather than reading it. They are also more likely to remember things they hear than things they read.
Furthermore, auditory learners tend to learn better if they’re told exactly what’s expected of them.
So, if you ask someone to repeat a story after you’ve heard it once, chances are they won’t know all the details.
However, if you tell them exactly what happened before asking them to retell it, then they will probably remember every detail.
For these reasons, teachers should encourage students to write essays and reports orally.
In fact, most schools now require pupils to submit homework via email. This means that your student has no choice but to speak aloud while doing his/her assignment.
However, this doesn’t mean that audio recordings aren’t useful. You may wish to record yourself talking about a topic you’d like your student to cover in class. Then, whenever he asks questions, just replay the recording.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of repetition. Auditory learners usually retain information better if they hear it several times. Therefore, when teaching new material, be sure to practise it repeatedly.
Hence, if you want your student to master a difficult subject, give him or her plenty of opportunities to listen to lectures and tutorials.
Auditory learners learn best by listening to audio recordings. When you explain an idea verbally, you need to pause frequently to ensure that everyone understands exactly what’s being said.
This isn’t possible when recording a lecture. So, if you plan to record a lesson, consider asking people to write down key points after every few minutes.
Then listen back over those sections later. It may sound like a lot of extra effort, but it’s worth it.
Note for Teachers: These types of learners prefer to talk through problems rather than solve them themselves. As such, verbal learners can struggle to understand instructions written in text form.
Therefore, if you want your students to succeed in exams, make sure you teach them how to record notes effectively. If you find writing hard, there are apps for smartphones that allow you to create digital flashcards.
These cards contain pictures as well as short phrases. Students simply tap each card to see its corresponding phrase.
If you really want to help your students improve note-taking skills, why not set aside time during lessons to discuss topics using real examples from life?
For example, say something along the lines of: “I’m going to show you some photos I took at our local beach today.”
Afterwards, ask your students to describe what they saw in the images. By discussing the content together, you’ll get much closer to understanding one another.
Verbal learners are people who learn best by listening to information rather than reading it. They tend to be more comfortable with spoken language than written text.
As such, verbal learners prefer to communicate face-to-face and debate ideas because they have a series of questions as opposed to using emails or online chat rooms. If you can arrange for your teacher to meet with each pupil individually, so much the better!
If you teach classes where there are only one or two other students present, however, then you’ll need to find another way to get across important messages.
One option is to make notes during lessons. Alternatively, you could create handouts which summarise key ideas.
If you choose to go the latter route, try not to include too many words on each page. Instead, focus on explaining concepts simply. For example:
“In order to understand how to solve problems, we first need to identify our assumptions.”
Other Types of Learners
Social learners are often drawn towards subjects that involve working together with people. They learn well when given lots of opportunities to discuss topics with peers.
This doesn’t mean that social learners aren’t interested in solitary pursuits. In fact, many students choose to work alone because they value privacy and independence. However, they usually benefit most from being part of groups.
When choosing career choices, look for those that offer extra-curricular options. For example, sports clubs, societies, and music classes all provide an excellent environment for developing friendships and improving communication skills.
Logical learners enjoy solving puzzles and games. This type of learner learns best by following step-by-step procedures.
Lesson ideas for logical learners to engage with their studies, consider creating worksheets that require pupils to follow specific steps. You might also use software programs designed specifically for this purpose.
You should avoid teaching these methods directly, though. Instead, explain the logic behind the process before asking your student to complete it.
Finally, remember that every person has different strengths and weaknesses.
Some individuals have a natural talent for studying independently. Solitary learners may struggle if forced into group settings. As such, it’s advisable to give them plenty of freedom to study whenever possible. They prefer to be alone during study time to avoid distractions during study times.
However, don’t let them escape responsibility entirely. Make sure they’re aware of deadlines and keep track of any assignments they’ve missed.
The same goes for teachers. It’s easy to forget about individual needs when planning class activities. To ensure everyone gets enough attention, take regular breaks throughout the day.
Spatial-Visual learner / Spacial-Visual Learners
Students who excel at spatial tasks tend to be good at maths and spatial reasoning. Spatial learners like maps, diagrams, and graphs.
Spatial-visual learner also appreciate visual aids such as charts, tables, and flowcharts. When designing lesson plans, therefore, think carefully about what information will help your students visualise abstract concepts more easily.
Lesson ideas for the spatial-visual learners, instead of writing out long lists of numbers, why not draw up a graph showing trends over time? Or perhaps you could design a chart comparing various countries’ economic performance.
Tactile learners prefer hands-on experiences. These types of learners thrive under pressure and find it difficult to sit still while listening to lectures or reading textbooks.
As such, they can become distracted very quickly. If you want to motivate tactile learners, make sure there are plenty of practical exercises involved.
Alternatively, you could ask your students to write down notes during lessons. Tactile learners generally do better when allowed to physically record key points rather than just listen to others talk through ideas.
Additional Learning Styles
There are many other ways in which people learn differently. However, most of us only need one or two additional styles to get along well in school.
Dominant learning styles
If you know how someone prefers to absorb new material, then you’ll understand whether he or she benefits from being taught individually or in groups.
In general, dominant learners benefit from working alone. They often feel overwhelmed when surrounded by too much noise.
In contrast, recessive learners perform better in large classrooms because they can focus on several things at once without feeling lost.
It’s important to note that some people exhibit both traits.
Natural learning style
A natural learning style or personal learning style refers to an innate preferred style for certain approaches to education.
For example, some people enjoy using their imagination to solve problems. Others might prefer to work with concrete examples.
Regardless of their preferred method, all students benefit from having access to multiple strategies. They don’t have a problem with the traditional classroom setting. This way, no matter where they start off, they won’t fall behind.
Some people have trouble focusing on specific topics. Instead, these individuals prefer to jump around between different subjects whenever possible.
As a result, they may struggle if asked to complete homework straight after finishing classes.
Lesson ideas for flexible learners, try breaking larger projects into smaller chunks so they can tackle each section independently. Alternatively, give them extra credit for completing assignments early.
How to Teach Different Types of Students: Tips to Simultaneously Help Learners of All Types
Note for teachers, to teach effectively, you first need to identify each type of learner. Once this has been done, you should consider how best to approach different teaching methods.
Here are three tips:
1) Use visuals whenever possible. Visuals allow students to see exactly what they’re supposed to achieve. As a result, they’re less likely to lose motivation.
2) Keep classes small. Large classes encourage passive behaviour. Smaller ones promote active participation.
3) Encourage group discussions and share class notes. Classroom discussions help students develop social skills and encourage teamwork. It also allows them to share knowledge and experience among themselves.
It’s difficult to cater to all types of learners at once. Fortunately, there are ways to help.
Similarly, you could introduce new vocabulary terms gradually. Start off using simple definitions, then move onto more complex ones as time passes.
A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.