Learning styles – how do you learn best?
How can your classmate revise for a hard exam by drawing the course content – and why does it never work for you?
We all learn in different ways: knowing yourself can be helpful to develop your own strategies to nail that exam.
Whether you want to get a new skill for a job, or help your community with an unusual task, find out how you learn best and take on board the most suitable strategies for your learning style:
Different formats, colours and fonts, charts, diagrams and maps are great to emphasise important points. If you get the best from lecturers who use gestures and picturesque language in a presentation, you should also try resources such as videos, posters and slides.
However, if you don’t have all that to hand, simply underlining and using different colours and highlighters on your notes can be helpful. One way of “reducing” the content is by drawing your notes. Recalling the pictures made on your pages can refresh the content in your memory.
Are you a good listener? If that’s the way you find easier to learn, you’ll find discussing topics with colleagues and teachers, explaining ideas to new people and leaving spaces in your notes for later recall and ‘filling the gaps’ very useful.
Read your summarised notes aloud or use a voice recorder when revising. For some people, imagining talking with the examiner is quite effective. It’s important to spend time in quiet places recalling the ideas. Don’t be shy to be seen “talking to yourself”: it will be worth it for that good grade you might get.
Reading and writing strategies
Lists, dictionaries, handouts and essays can be essential for some learners – and the library is their paradise. Reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing might be the best ways for these learners, but you can find new strategies using these traditional methods. For example, rewrite the ideas into other words and turn visual resources into statements if that suits you better.
Imagine your lists arranged in multiple choice questions and distinguish one from another. Arranging your words into hierarchies and points can help you to perform well in any test.
The sensorial types are all about laboratories, field trips, examples of principles and lecturers who give real-life examples. If experience and observation are key in your process of learning – as you remember the “real” things that happened; practical exercises, cases, and trial and error must be part of your learning package.
Apart from adding plenty of examples into your summary and using photographs that illustrate an idea, you can role play the exam situation in your own room. Hands on practice!
If you identified yourself with a little bit of every type of learner described above, you might have a multimodal preference. Some people might need the same material presented in several ways in order to really pick it up, while others can effectively learn using any single one of their multiple preferences.
You can identify your style by taking a quiz on this website - http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/?p=questionnaire