Learning styles match study methods
Photo courtesy of HLWIKI.SLAIS.UBC.CA
by EVELYN WONG
With the arrival of finals week, paying attention to one’s learning style may be advantageous when creating a study plan.
An individual’s “learning style” refers to the way in which he or she absorbs, processes, comprehends and retains new information, according to teach.com. Differences in learning styles among students are based on emotional and environmental factors, as well as the students’ prior experience.
According to learning-styles-online.com, while everyone has a mix of learning styles, recognizing and understanding one’s dominant learning style may improve the speed and quality of his or her information absorption and retention.
Visual, or spatial learning, involves the use of pictures, videos, graphs, books and spatial understanding, according to educationcorner.com. In order to maximize information retention, it may be useful for visual learners to create thinking maps—such as tree maps or flow charts—to organize their thoughts, or studying key terms using flashcards with pictures.
In addition, highlighting important words and phrases in one’s notes, using color codes in note-taking and watching online podcasts and other visual media may be beneficial to visual learners, according to universitycollege.illinoisstate.edu.
In contrast, auditory learners retain information by participating in group discussions, listening to lectures or employing other means of sound and music, according to examtime.com. Listening to podcasts, lectures or radio may provide aid in studying for auditory learners; in addition, one may consider using rhymes and music techniques in creating mnemonics to help remember information.
According to learndash.com, kinesthetic, or “tactile” learners, have a preference for physical experience. Also known as “learning-by-doing,” this style includes touching, feeling, holding or doing practical hands-on experiences. Creating models to role play or dramatize concepts, or acting out the concepts themselves, may allow one to better understand a process or idea. In addition, using some form of body movement (such as snapping fingers, pacing, mouthing ideas, etc.) while reciting material may be useful, according to umassd.edu.
Creating flashcards with questions on one side and answers on the other may also benefit the kinesthetic learners, according to gavilan.edu. Furthermore, using computer programs or other devices may reinforce learning through sense of touch.
Finally, verbal linguistic learners are able to work easily with words, letters and phases. According to mcfarland.k12.wi.us, these “word smart” students enjoy activities such as reading, playing scrabble or other word games, and having discussions.
For verbal learners, taking notes on the textbook, handouts or PowerPoint lectures may help them understand tough concepts more clearly. Reading out loud while reviewing subject matter and summarizing one’s notes can help organize ideas. According to educationcorner.com, creating acronym mnemonics are an effective trick verbal learners may use in memorizing lists and sequences.
Whether it is constructing a model to understand a scientific process, composing a song to help remember foreign terms or holding a group discussion to study key concepts, capitalizing on one’s dominant learning style may benefit one’s educational experience that goes far beyond the stresses of finals week.