Editor’s Note: I invite readers who have topics of interest to innovative educators to submit contributions. This guest post, courtesy of Julie-Ann Amos is one such submission. Julie-Ann is a freelance writer who covers topics such as online university rankings and reviews, elearning tools, and more.
Everyone has a learning style that is most effective for assimilating and understanding new information. It is interesting to note that most people actually use all learning styles, depending on the specific type of learning they are required to do. There are three basic styles, seeing or visual, hearing or auditory and movement or kinesthetic/tactile.
Finding out what your prominent or predominant learning style is doesn't take a lot of time, but it does take some self reflection. Ask yourself these seven questions to determine what type of learner you are:
- When you are trying something new do you learn best by reading about it, hearing someone tell you about doing it or trying it out yourself?
If you would choose to read about it you are more of a visual learner, if you would prefer to hear about it you are a more auditory learner and if you would like to try it yourself you are more of a tactile learner.
- If you read information that is new to you do you see visual pictures in your head of the information, do you read aloud to yourself or do you make models or drawings of what you are reading?
Visual learners see movies in their head or make mental images of what they are reading, auditory learners say the words out loud so they hear them and tactile or kinesthetic learners do best with a 3-dimensional drawing or model they can touch and manipulate to understand.
- When studying or learning do you like it quiet, tolerate lots of noise or need to get up and take frequent breaks?
Visual learners tend to be able to tolerate lots of noise when they study. Auditory learners are OK with noise if it is related to the material but find additional sound distracting when learning new material. Kinesthetic learners need to get up and move around and take frequent breaks.
- Do you tend to color code, highlight or enjoy playing visual games or computer games to learn?
Typically visual and kinesthetic learners are the most likely to manipulate the learning material. Tactile learners often do best with interactive types of games, including the computer. Visual learners naturally use highlighting and color coding to categories information.
- When hearing instructions do you first make notes to remember, repeat it back to yourself or immediately jump in and get started?
Visual learners will prefer to take notes and make diagrams to remember what the instructions were. Auditory learners often use word associations and repetition to solidify the information and tactile learners have to actually do the activity to learn the information.
- When attending a lecture or presentation do you sit near the front or the back of the room?
Visual learners tend to sit near the front where the most visual information is presented. Auditory learners also tend to sit closer to the front since they are focused on hearing what is being provided. Kinesthetic learners sit near the back since they are often tuned out of visual and auditory presentations. They tend to sit near the back where they can move and "fidget" without drawing attention.
- When you are teaching someone something new do you prefer to tell them or draw a diagram or show them how to do it?
Typically most people will assume that everyone uses the same learning technique or style that they do. If you find that you draw diagrams to explain the information to others you are more visual, if you tell them you are more auditory and if you show them you are more of a kinesthetic learner yourself.