How To Unlock Your Learning Style

Posted February 7, 2014, by Molly Wiltshire-Bridle

About to hit the books? 

Unleash your learning potential and get the most out of your course by figuring out what your natural learning style is! 

Whether it’s mnemonics, flash cards, study groups, or hands-on training that works best for you – there’s a study strategy for every learner out there. Being in tune with your natural learning style can make a helluva difference when it comes to improving your study habits, and can help you minimise time spent procrastinating and maximise your course marks!

What are the main learning styles? 

There are lots of theories out there, but most authorities agree that your preferred method of learning is likely to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinaesthetic/tactile

Taking some time out to really hone in on your learning style will help you put your best foot forward as soon as your course kicks off.

By developing a more clearly thought out revision strategy, you may even be able to improve your knowledge retention, productivity and information recall when you’re sweating through your next exam.


1. Visual Learners


If you’re a visual learner, try these strategies to up your study game:

  • Organise your study notes using graphs, tables, charts
  • Use illustrations to remember content 
  • Use flashcards 
  • Translate core concepts into diagrams 
  • Use stickies and highlighters to colour code your notes

2. Kinaesthetic Learners


If you love getting stuck into a project and prefer to ‘learn by doing’ then you’re a kinaesthetic learner! To make the most of your learning style, try the following study strategies:

  • Get hands-on with activities and always take up an opportunity to participate in practical training, excursions and workshops 
  • Use puzzles and games to learn new concepts
  • Study in short bursts and take plenty of breaks
  • Use models and build things wherever possible  

3. Auditory Learners


If you absolutely kill it when it comes to presentations, debates and speeches then chances are you’re a natural auditory learner. To maximise your study time try: 

  • Reciting key points aloud while you’re learning 
  • Get involved in group discussions
  • Record your classes so you can listen back to them later on
  • Remove auditory distractions like music or loud noises when working
  • Study with others and make it a point to discuss topics 

What sort of learner are you?

Let me guess. You could identify with any number of the alleged characteristics from each category? Surprise, surprise – learning’s really not that simple.

In fact, the visual/auditory/kinaesthetic subdivision of learners has been widely criticised for over-simplifying something that’s intricately complex. Like everything else that comes with being human, your individual learning style is beautiful and unique!

Generally speaking, I prefer to tackle new subject areas by reading about them and writing out notes, but I also benefit from teaching others, think quite linearly and gravitate towards the back of the classroom. And, as most people who’ve driven with me in the passenger seat can attest, maps are no friends of mine. Does this make me some kind of learning mutant? I prefer to think not.


The factors that can affect learning style

The ways in which we learn new things can be influenced by all manner of things, not limited to:

  • Subject area
  • External factors – light, temperature, sound
  • Presence of authority figures
  • Time of day
  • Personal motivation

To help you get the most out of your course, try mixing and matching a combination of these factors to figure out what works best for you. Learning new skills can does absolute wonders for your career (and your brain!). So go on, claim your natural learning style and supercharge your studies!

About to start an online course? Follow these simple strategies to make online study work for you! 

Molly Wiltshire-Bridle

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