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Understand Learning Style to Make the Most of Study Time

Personality types are relevant to everything we do. They help determine how we interact with others, the best types of work environments, and how we learn in a classroom setting. Understanding study style may help a person become the best student and eventually, the best employee, coworker or boss they can possibly be.

Understanding personality leads to understanding learning style

The students in a classroom receive the same information. Whether it is spoken aloud, written on a chalkboard or presented in a hands-on environment, each student will process that information differently than the next. Some students prefer to listen to the information, while others retain it better when they read it. Still others must somehow connect the physical world with the information in order to process it fully.

Experts have discovered three distinct learning styles. Each style is just as valuable as the next; however, each student might use the learning styles differently in order to retain and use information in the most productive way possible.

  1. Visual or seeing. This learner needs to see the information in the form of graphics, presentations, or demonstrations. Listening to information can be easy for them but retaining it is another story.
  2. Auditory or hearing. This learner needs to hear things explained to them. They grasp concepts and facts much more readily than they would if they read the information.
  3. Kinesthetic or tactile. This learner needs a hands-on experience in order to process information. An activity, even if it is as simple as writing information down, makes it much easier to retain.

Most people use a combination of all three learning styles and adapt to different learning environments. However, most people prefer one style over the others, and find that it is easier to pay attention in a classroom that employs their favorite type of learning style.

    Bonus points: Take advantage of learning style

    When choosing college courses, students should focus on classes that cater to their learning style. For instance, a person who needs to hear information would do very well in a lecture course. Those who need to see the details might opt for a teacher who is known for their use of PowerPoint programs. Those who need that hands-on experience could schedule several laboratory courses that allow them to use their hands.

    However, choosing a class that meshes with a favorite learning style might not always be possible. In that case, adapting to another style is necessary. Here are a few tips to help make that happen:

    1. Visual or kinesthetic students who find themselves in a lecture course could record the lecture and then transcribe it during study time. The action of writing down the words works well for those who need to see the information, and it also helps those who need to do something hands-on.
    2. Studying outside the classroom can make a big difference in that final grade. Choose study partners who mesh well with your learning style and then formulate ways to study that reflect that style. For example, the tactile learner might use flash cards, while the auditory learner might benefit from listening to study partners read information aloud.
    3. Fine-tune the environment to reflect a unique learning style. Visual learners tend to have a high tolerance for background noise as they study, but auditory learners need a silent room in order to make the most of their time. Tactile learners need to take frequent breaks to get up and move around.
    4. Visual learners might find it helpful to doodle while listening to an instructor. Getting the information down on paper in a way that uses images and associations to help retain it can go a long way toward making a boring class much more interesting.
    5. Auditory learners should make a point of asking questions. The more they talk about a point or concept, the better they will understand it, which could translate into a higher grade.
    6. Tactile learners could sit at the back of the room during lectures, so they have the freedom to move about and "fidget" when necessary, while not disturbing others in the room. On the other hand, visual and auditory learners might gravitate toward the front of the room.

    Keep in mind that no learning style is superior to another. A learning style is simply the way someone processes information; it does not mean an auditory learner can't handle a laboratory class, nor does it mean a tactile learner won't get anything out of a PowerPoint presentation. However, understanding which style of learning is easiest for an individual can make the journey through college courses much more enjoyable.