What Kind of Learner Are You? How to Better Understand Your Learning Style and Maximize Your Studying!
Many people recognize that individuals learn differently, and that some styles of learning work better for one person than for another. In college, it is extremely important to understand how you learn best and to use that understanding to maximize your study time. There are three primary styles of learning: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learning, and each will be addressed here.
Are You a Visual Learner?
Visual learners do best when reading or seeing pictures; they understand and remember material best through sight and visualization. They typically remember what they see, more so than what they hear, so classes with diagrams and pictures are great for people with this learning style. Visual learners typically need an overall view and purpose before beginning a project, and in lecture based classes they excel when they read and write their notes instead of listening to the instructor without taking notes. Here are some great study tips for visual learners:
- Take written notes in lectures and class
- Use colors to highlight important points and color code your notes
- Draw pictures and charts based on your lectures and then explain them in your notes
- Write down key words, ideas, or instructions
- Use flashcards to learn new words
- Sit near the front of the classroom
- Avoid distractions during study time (especially visual distractions like your phone)
Are You an Auditory Learner?
Auditory learners find success by hearing and listening. They are typically good at following verbal instructions and they tend to talk to themselves while working. Auditory learners like to hear people explain things, and they like explaining ideas to others as well. They typically like to read aloud, and group discussions or debates are great ways for them to learn. Here are some great study tips for auditory learners:
- Read stories, assignments, or notes out loud
- Explain or “re-tell” a concept you have learned to someone else
- Sit where you can hear best in your classes
- If possible, record and then listen to your lectures when you study
- Make flashcards to learn new words or concepts; be sure to practice them out loud
- Start or join a study group
- Have a friend quiz you orally
Are You a Tactile Learner?
Tactile, or kinesthetic, learners absorb the most information through hands-on experience and remember things best when they learn them through physical movement. They memorize a concept by moving around and seeing or experiencing it first-hand. Tactile learners often take notes or even draw or doodle while listening, and they love hands-on activities and group interaction. Here are some great study tips for tactile learners:
- Use flashcards and arrange them in groups to show relationships between ideas
- It’s okay to move around while studying or learning; chew gum, walk around, tap your foot or pencil, or hold onto something
- Participate in activities that involve touching, building, moving, or drawing
- Relate facts or theories to your own experience
- Learn or memorize information by teaching or telling someone else
- Start or join a study group
Healthy Study Habits
No matter what kind of learner you are, these study tips are great to keep you on track and help you be an amazing student!
- Take frequent breaks while studying: beleive it or not, one of the most effective ways to study is to take frequent, short breaks during study sessions. Short, regular study sessions help you to maximize your time because regular periods of repetition strengthen understanding of material and make it easier to remember, and regular, sustained study reinforces the material better than cramming everything into one long study session.
- Use a regular study area: pick a study location and stick to it! Your body knows where you are so when you study in the same place regularly, you train your body to get in the studying mindset when you enter this space. This makes it easier to focus and maximize your study time within your chosen study location.
- Always take care of yourself first: when studying, sometimes we forget that we need to give ourselves a break. If you’ve studied for three hours, it is healthy to take a break to go out with friends or to grab a quick meal and destress. To study effectively, we need to be in a healthy state of body and mind, so remember to get adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and food. Also, don’t forget to give yourself little rewards along the way! If you spent 40 minutes mastering a concept that was really challenging, give yourself the credit you deserve, whether that be a quick study break or that ice cream sandwich you’ve been saving for a special occasion.
- Ask for help when you need it: no one is here to tear you down; if you don’t understand a concept, the best thing to do is ask either a peer or an educator to help you! We are all rooting for you and want you to succeed, so asking for help is never a bad thing. If you feel you need extra help in a subject, you can always check out USD’s amazing tutoring services.
- Students can also meet with a Student Success Coach in the Center for Student Success to work on improving study habits, managing time commitments and finding balance.
Studying is not the enemy, and knowing the best way to study for yourself as an individual can really help you reach your academic goals. If you are interested in learning more about your individual learning style, you can take this quiz and determine what percent of each learning style you have. Best of luck, and happy studying!