As students, we all have our own type of learning style. Our learning style defines how we take in, understand and process information as well as impacts our ability to problem-solve. Most of us have more than one learning style, but there is often one dominant method that we relate to more than the others – a personal combination that is uniquely ours. It’s important to note that no one learning style is superior to the others. In fact, we should always work at developing our less dominant styles to help us adapt to all types of instruction. Understanding your own personal learning style will help you determine the most optimal way for you to study and take in new information.
There are three primary learning styles:
- Visual – a visual learner learns best through seeing. Looking at images, pictures, movies, watching a demonstration or reading are all ways in which a visual learner likes to take in information. As such, it is sometimes difficult for a visual learner to sit back and listen to lectures or explanations.
- Auditory – an auditory learner learns best through hearing. This can be listening to their own voices or the voices of others. They would rather not read about the subject matter, they would like to listen to explanations of the material. External sounds and noises can be very distracting for auditory learners and they do best when studying in quiet places.
- Tactile – a tactile learner learns by doing, by touching. Also known as kinasthethic and experience learners, these types of learners like to use touch as a primary way to learn. The manual act of writing things down or physically demonstrating a technique is often the easiest way for a tactile learner to understand new information.
The main benefit of determining what type of learner you are is to better understand how you learn best – by seeing, hearing or acting out the new material and coursework you are studying. Understanding how you prefer to learn and process new material will help you develop individual strategies to play to your strengths and improve your learning success.
Whether you are learning through a traditional classroom setting or taking online courses; varying the ways that you study will improve your chances of learning more material. Watch relevant videos and lectures, listen to podcasts, take notes while you study – mix up the media and see what resonates for you and your personal learning style.
Below are three web-based learning style quizzes, and there are many others available. Have fun and take more than one to compare results!