When it comes to learning, especially in college, it is important to know that there is a tonne of learning styles to choose from. Keeping in mind that because we all learn differently, it is vital to understand which style fits you best and to run with the style that is best able to allow you to understand the content you’re being provided. In order to do our best, and to retain as much information as possible, it is always good to test out as many of these styles as possible and to see which works best for you. There’s a chance that you’ve learned in one style for a long period of time and you’re sure that there’s little else you’re willing to try, though it is integral to understand that in college, learning is a little different.
You’re going to want to do your best to test the waters and this means having a go at all of the most popular learning styles out there, and so we’ve listed some of these below and included some tips to get the most out of them.
Let’s take a look below at the most common and effective learning styles below, and which might be the best for you! They are also sometimes called the VARK (Visual, Audio, Reader/Writer, Kinesthetics) model.
The More Common Learning Styles
Before we get into the thick of our article, we will take a brief look at the more common learning styles and what these might be best for, depending on your course in college. It is good to keep in mind that if you’re lucky enough to be studying via an online course, you’re better able to flex your favourite learning style, given that these degrees can be a little more dynamic.
The Visual Learners
These learners are those who retain more information and get a better understanding of content when they’re able to ‘see’ what it is. This can be anything from photos and videos, of course, but also includes things such as graphs and sketches that outline the information that they’re being given.
If you often find yourself using ven diagrams and other types of graphs to better ‘see’ the data you’re being provided, then you might be a visual learner.
The Auditory Learners
Aside from the visual learners, there are those who get a tonne of information from simply hearing or listening to the information they’re being given. Whether this is through online lectures, or podcasts, or just about anything else, these types of learners get the most information from hearing things being spoken to them.
The Reader/Writer Learners
The final common learning style that you should consider is the reader and writer. These learners work best when there is something in front of them written. You will find that the written word is the easiest to engage with and this means that you’re going to be better off taking a look in your notebooks and jotting down bullet points of the most important things you’ve learned from a topic.
The Hands-on Learners (Kinesthetic Learners)
In many studies and online research topics, these learners are typically a little older than most, and born between the 50s and 60s, though this learning style is also great for those in the design and creative fields. This style relies on our ability to not only see what we’re learning but being able to touch and interact with the things we’re working with. In all, these learners are best at retaining information when they’re physically engaged with whatever the topic is.
Getting the Most Out of Your Style
With those learning styles outlined above, you likely already know which one you are, and so we have some great tidbits for those who want to make the most of their favourite learning style. Whether you’re a hands-on learner or love to write things down, we’re happy to say that one isn’t better than the other and that with the right learning style you’re going to be in the green when it comes to good grades and high information retention.
To kick things off, the reader and writer learners are going to do best when it comes to learning online and getting the most information from written documents and digital textbooks.
Always work to take effective notes of what you need to learn, make use of flashcards, and draft up documents that have all of the information you need in them. This way you’re going to be able to remember writing down what you need to know, and have easy to navigate documents with all the course material that is most important to your success in the degree.
It might also be worth investing in applications that give you the chance to draft up your own study booklets and easily come back to these when exam time comes around, or there’s an essay that needs to be developed with a tonne of information.
The Hands-On or Kinesethic Learners
For those learners that love to be more hands-on than most, then online learning might not be the best for you, though that isn’t to say you can’t succeed in these types of courses. You’ll have to work a little harder to ‘convert’ your material to something that is more physical and this means that you’re going to want to work on studying in pairs or with others to foster more discussion about your study topics.
As an example, some content may not be able to be physically studied, and this means that you’re going to want to make up for this by walking around and studying where you can, and this means taking a notepad, and reading your notes as you talk a stroll around the house, a park or anywhere else.
On top of this, some kinesthetic learners work well by physically tracing their hands across the content they’re learning, and so when it comes to a long and tedious book, you can help yourself out by moving your finger under each word that you’re reading to make the process a little easier for you.
The Visual Learners
On to those who work best when visual queues are considered, you’re in good hands with a piece of paper or some images of the topics you’re working to study.
You can draw images and sketches of the content you’re trying to learn, and this means you’re able to easily ‘see’ what’s going on in the content you’re being provided, and on top of this, you’re also working to improve your understanding of the content given that you’re going to physically sketch it up.
Added to this, you can simply draw or sketch out statements that have been spoken by your tutors which will mean that you’re converting their words into imagery that you’re better able to retain and understand.
The Auditory Learners
The final learning type, the auditory learners, are going to do really well so long as the majority of the course load is converted into some form of easily absorbed information through being spoken, rhythmic, or even converted to a song!
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Research has shown us that turning a topic, or a piece of information into a song really helps us retain it a lot better – think of the alphabet for example. Work to do this sort of thing to as much of your course load as possible and you’re in good hands. You can also work to convert some hard-to-retain content into a song of your own to make sure you’re not prone to forgetting it should exam time come around.
To end, you might also want to consider recording your lectures and classes for you to listen to later if you’re taking on-campus and in-person classes. These might not be recorded by the school, and so having your phone by your side to record your lecturer is a good idea.
With all of those different learning styles in mind, it’s clear that there are lots of different ways to learn in college and it’s important to find your most ideal style and work to run with it. In some cases, you’re going to be a multi-style learner, and this means you might work well in a bunch of these styles, and so you’re going to be able to choose a style that works best for your course.
In all, it is in your best interest to find your favourite learning style and work to refine it as best you can, you’ll thank yourself later when your grades are high and stress levels are as low as can be!