Learning styles are the ways that people prefer to process and retain information. There are many thoughts and theories in this area but no single, mutually agreed, definitive list of learning styles. However, some of the most common ones are:
- Visual: Visual learners prefer to use images, diagrams, charts, maps, colors, and other visual aids to help them understand and remember new concepts. They may also benefit from using highlighters, flashcards, or drawing their own sketches to reinforce their learning.
- Auditory: Auditory learners prefer to use sound, music, speech, rhyme, and rhythm to help them learn. They may enjoy listening to lectures, podcasts, audiobooks, songs, or mnemonics. They may also benefit from reading aloud, repeating information, or discussing it with others.
- Reading/writing: Reading/writing learners prefer to use text, books, articles, notes, lists, and other written materials to help them learn. They may enjoy reading extensively, taking detailed notes, writing summaries or essays, or using online resources. They may also benefit from reviewing their notes regularly or rewriting them in their own words.
- Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learners prefer to use movement, touch, action, and hands-on activities to help them learn. They may enjoy doing experiments, demonstrations, simulations, role-plays, games, or physical exercises. They may also benefit from using gestures, props, models, or manipulatives to aid their learning.
These are not the only learning styles that exist. Some people may also identify with other styles such as logical (using reasoning and logic), social (learning with others), solitary (learning alone), or verbal (using words and language). Moreover, learning styles are not fixed or mutually exclusive. Most people use a combination of different styles depending on the situation and the subject matter.
The purpose of identifying your learning style is not to limit yourself or label yourself as a certain type of learner. Rather, it is to help you recognize your strengths and preferences as a learner and to explore different strategies that can enhance your learning experience. By knowing your learning style, you can:
- Choose the most suitable learning methods and materials for yourself
- Adapt your learning style to different contexts and tasks
- Improve your motivation and confidence as a learner
- Communicate your needs and expectations to others (such as teachers or peers)
- Appreciate the diversity and value of other learning styles
To find out your learning style, you can take a self-assessment quiz online or reflect on your own learning habits and preferences. You can also ask for feedback from others who know you well or observe you while you learn. Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself or others to discover your learning style:
- How do you prefer to study or revise for a test?
- What kind of activities do you enjoy doing in class or outside of class?
- What kind of resources do you use or look for when you want to learn something new?
- How do you remember information best?
- What are some challenges or difficulties that you face as a learner?
- How do you cope with them?
Once you have identified your learning style, you can experiment with different techniques and tools that match your style or challenge yourself to try something new. For example:
- If you are a visual learner, you can use mind maps, diagrams, charts, graphs, pictures, videos, or color coding to organize and present information. You can also create visual reminders or cues for yourself such as posters, stickers, bookmarks, or wallpapers.
- If you are an auditory learner, you can use music, songs, podcasts, audiobooks, speeches, lectures, or recordings to listen and learn. You can also make up rhymes or mnemonics for yourself or join a study group or a discussion forum where you can talk and share ideas with others.
- If you are a reading/writing learner, you can use books, articles, notes, lists, reports, essays, or online resources to read and write about what you learn. You can also keep a journal or a blog where you can reflect on your learning process or express your opinions and insights. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you can use experiments, demonstrations, simulations, role-plays, games, or physical exercises to do and learn. You can also make use of gestures, props, models, or manipulatives to illustrate or manipulate information
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to learn. The most important thing is to find what works best for you and enjoy the journey of learning