How To Study Smarter By Discovering Your Learning Style
Looking for ways to level up on your studies or how you learn? Learning styles are often talked about in terms of personal preference but there’s very clear science behind how our brains function when we’re receiving, processing and retaining new information. The saying ‘Knowledge is power’ (or, the Latin scientia potentia est) might not have been referring to learning styles yet you can empower yourself to learn at a higher level and flourish through better understanding of your natural neural tendencies.
Whether you’re a student, on a path of self-improvement or looking for ways to enhance your work performance, discovering your own learning style with this infographic guide and then applying that knowledge is crucial when we’re attempting to work smarter ? not harder!
The Importance Of Learning Styles
First and foremost, every single one of us learns differently. This can be based on personal experiences, aptitudes, interests and even the teachers we had during our formative years. What can’t be escaped is that there are clear patterns around how people respond to the range of different models of teaching and how this affects their retention of information in academic, practical and professional settings. Many studies have been conducted into the different learning styles, with three main learning types found.
These three styles are:
Kinesthetic (or Tactile) Learners
Of these three types, people either fit into or identify as being a mix of the different styles although they usually report one of the styles being the one that feels most natural to them. In addition to these three styles, the way people respond to learning in relation to others is also relevant. We will discuss the characteristics of Solitary learning and Social learning after defining the three main learning styles.
The Three Learning Styles
Each of the three styles is fairly explicit in terms of its name with some additional aspects that assist in fully grasping how the style informs the learning experience.
Learning Style 1: Visual Learners
The majority of people fall into this category with roughly 65%, or two-thirds, of the population finding that they:
Learn best by sight
Can easily visualize things
Prefer to see things demonstrated
While reading, tend to visualize images to comprehend concepts or ideas
Learning Style 2: Auditory Learners
This is the second-most-common style with roughly 30% of people identifying as an Auditory learner who:
Remembers information through verbal explanations
Finds they have strong skills in spoken communication including a mature vocabulary
Likes to think aloud
Enjoys group discussions around study topics
Learning Style 3: Kinesthetic (or Tactile) Learners
This is the least-common style with a mere 5% of the population reporting that they learn through practical repetition or ‘hands-on’ engagement in study involving:
Personally working through or simulating a physical task or concept
Physically moving in order to concentrate
Standing rather than sitting while learning
Watching demonstrations then attempting it themselves immediately afterwards
What We Know About The Different Learning Styles
The different learning styles, while quite easily identified, also attract some debate amongst educators and scientific researchers. Firsthand data from research participants does indicate there are individual learning styles however some institutions and education boards staunchly maintain that a mixed approach to teaching allows for anomalies among learners. Additionally, the range of teaching models and frameworks that exist do often incorporate dynamic teaching and learning which can encompass the different learning styles. According to Stafford Global, personal preferences of individual learners don’t necessarily speak to actual capability when presented with information and that context of material is key. They say:
“Advocates of this notion believe that the individual should be taught in the style that best suits them, regardless of content. The opposing view is that the content should be taught in the style that best suits it, regardless of the individual.”
It therefore serves to keep in mind that learning styles, even when clear preferences are felt, can be tested and can be utilized on a case-by-case basis.
Learning Styles In Relation To Solitary & Social Learning
This discussion point relating to the setting and nature of material, training or personal development programs is essential for keeping in mind how we relate to others during study. Existing alongside the three learning styles is the anthropological element of study and concentration: the preference of Social (Interpersonal) or Solitary (Intrapersonal) learning. This can be simplified to liking or needing the company of others while studying versus needing to be alone to study effectively and productively.
Social Learners: An Interpersonal Learning & Study Approach
For those who identify with this group, they might opt for:
Working with a tutor
Meeting with groups
Solitary Learners: An Intrapersonal Learning & Study Approach
For those who need a solitary setting, they might adopt the following:
Private, self-managed and self-directed study
Quiet and secluded zones
Turning to their own study systems e.g. lists, planners, goals and agendas
Reviewing and revising materials independently
For those who strongly relate to being a Social or Solitary Learner, there are still opportunities to embrace aspects of the opposite such as:
Solitary learners working in very small, structured groups
Social learners practising self-directed home study
Solitary learners seeking out one-to-one tutoring
Social learners using project management systems so they can study independently
Making Learning Styles Work For You In Life & Work ? An Infographic Resource For Learning Styles
The sky is very much the limit in terms of learning styles for every single person. In addition to the value of understanding personal tendencies, it also offers the chance to connect with other people and offer support in academic, personal and professional circumstances. Interestingly, the more we understand about ourselves, the better positioned we are to listen from a place of genuine empathy and to encourage others to pursue strategies that might help them thrive.
This infographic resource builds upon this topic in more detail with relevant study techniques for each learning type plus tips for productive study sessions. This graphic guide can be referenced both in student, personal development and work settings both for those who know their learning style and those who don’t yet. Here’s to getting to know ourselves better and continuing to grow in every season of learning and life. Read on for the full infographic below.
Aris Grigoriou is the Student Recruitment Manager for Study Medicine Europe. Aris has a keen interest in education and how technology is enhancing healthcare as well as study plus producing content on the topic to share with a global audience. SME is a medical student recruitment business with offices in the UK, Germany, Greece and Cyprus. They secure placement for prospective students from all over the world into affordable medicine and veterinary courses in universities throughout Europe.