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Understanding different types of learning styles

by Elizabeth Harmon

Do you find yourself getting frustrated with your study because you’ve been reading your learning materials for hours, but feel like you still can’t remember anything? The important thing to remember is that everyone is unique and therefore we all learn in different ways. Rather than forcing yourself to learn in a certain way, first you need to understand what learning style works best for you. You can then play to your strengths and adapt your study method to suit.

There are many different learning strategies and styles, but in this article, we look at three of the key styles that you may be able to identify with:

Visual learner

If you’re a visual learner, you will use your eyes to absorb information. You may like visual aids, such as presentations, images, diagrams and illustrations. Colour can also be a big help.

What visual techniques can I use to help me learn?

  • When writing study notes, don’t just stick to text. Convert words into visual elements such as diagrams, pictures or even mind-maps. Having something to visualise will make it easier for you to recall the information later.
  • Make key information stand out by using colour. Coloured highlighters are a great way to do this. You could also consider using different colours for different topics or categories.
  • Where possible, find videos which discuss the subject you’re learning about. As a visual learner, this can help you to retain more information than simply reading about the topic in a textbook.

Auditory learner

If you’re an auditory learner, you often absorb information with your ears. You may like listening to people talk and enjoy engaging in discussions with others.

What auditory techniques can I use to help me learn?

  • Rather than reading in silence, consider finding a quiet spot and reading your learning materials out loud. The process of hearing the information can help you understand and retain it better.
  • Try explaining the subject that you’re learning about to someone else. They could simply listen or engage with you by asking questions. This can help to reinforce the information in your memory.
  • There are several audible materials that you can learn from. Search for audiobooks as there is an increasing number of learning resources/textbooks now available in this format. You could also find podcasts on your topic.
What’s your learning style?

Kinesthetic learner

If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you will often learn by doing rather than seeing things on a static presentation or listening to information.

What kinesthetic techniques can I use to help me learn?

  • Where possible, try putting what you’re learning into practice, with hands-on-activities. This does depend on the area that you’re learning about, but this experience will help to make the information clearer and easier to remember.
  • Be more active while learning. The process of being on your feet and moving around can help you to remember things more easily. Consider spreading your notes around the room and moving to each one or go for a walk whilst listening to an audiobook about your subject.

Discovering your learning style

There is no right or wrong learning style and one style is not better than another. You may feel that you don’t fit into any of these categories, or that some parts suit you but not others. In some cases, you may even find that what works for you depends on the specific information you’re trying to learn at the time.

What’s important is that you consider your learning techniques and find what works for you, whether that’s reading textbooks, listening to podcasts, using highlighters, listening to music while studying, going for a run before studying or something else completely.

By understanding what works best for you, your study can become easier and you will find that you can recall information better. This can help you complete your studies more effectively and enjoy the learning process.

At Open Colleges, we understand that everyone learns differently and therefore provide a range of learning materials to suit everyone. These vary depending on the specific course you choose but can include workbooks, reading, interactive lessons, videos, podcasts, quizzes and assessments. These are all available via our online campus, OpenSpace.

If you’d like to discover first-hand what it’s like to study with us, you can try our 7 day free course trial. There’s no obligation for you to enrol in a course after you complete the trial, and it will give you an insight into your course, how online learning works, and what it’s like to use OpenSpace.

Start your free trial today or check out our range of qualifications and non-accredited short courses on our website.

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