Are you the sort of person who likes to leave all of your essays to the very last minute, cramming what should have been 8 weeks worth of revision and 3000 words into just under 2 hours?
Or are you more methodical in your approach to your studies? Someone who likes to read slowly but deeply, making sure everything sinks in, and tests yourself to make sure?
Most likely you’re somewhere in between.
Everybody learns differently. Everybody has their own style of revision, note taking, and their preferred times of day or night for study.
Put simply, we are all different. Of course we are. It’s what makes the world so brilliant, fascinating, gut-wrenching and difficult.
But when we’re at university, despite all of our differences, we do have one thing in common – we’re learners. Academic learners, at that.
Finding Out Who You Are
One of the greatest things that you will discover at university – completely aside from your studies – is yourself. For many, university life is the first time that we get to practice autonomy. The umbilical cord now completely severed, we are considered by society to be adult, which means that we have reached the point in our lives where our parents no longer have any legal say in what we do, where we live, or where we go.
It’s exciting – but very daunting at the same time.
It’s a learning process, of course. You are not only aiming to achieve a university degree, but a degree in life as well. Everyone’s coming of age at university, and one of the things that you will learn here is exactly how you like to go about your work and your reading.
As I’ve said, we’re all different, and we all like to learn in a variety of different ways.
There are essentially four types of learner. These are:
Identifying which type of learner you are is a major step towards becoming a better learner, for there are certain techniques that are best suited to each (and of course it is a major step along the road of discovering who you actually are – for all of our learning habits are transferrable once we finish our studies and step out into the real world and start looking for work).
So let’s now delve into these four types one at a time.
You can identify yourself as a visual learner if you prefer to use visual objects, such as graphs, charts, images, video or other types of visual information to help you to retain knowledge. You may also think in pictures, have a knack for reading body language, and find that you retain more in lectures by just sitting and concentrating, rather than trying to scribble everything down.
Visual learners tend to like to sit at the front of the class, are fast talkers (and even have a slight tendency to interrupt others), and will need quiet study time to concentrate.
As the name suggests, auditory learners absorb the most information in environments when things can be explained to them verbally, rather than from reading a text or
watching a video. After having something explained to them, auditory learners like to repeat the key points out loud to help retain them in memory.
Auditory learners read very slowly, and can often find that greater concentration is achieved when soft music is playing in the background. They speak slowly, explain things clearly, think linearly, and will often have a talent for music.
The kinaesthetic learner is the hands-on type. Maths and the sciences are the preferred subjects for kinaesthetic learners, and they much prefer something to be demonstrated rather than explained – either verbally or textually – in order to better retain the information.
Kinaesthetic learners prefer working in groups a lot more than others, they will use all of their senses in their learning (most prominently touch), and learn by performing and solving real-life problems. This type of learner is the slowest talker of them all, and can often be a bit fidgety with short attention spans.
Read/write learners do best from reading and writing, and are extremely comfortable with any learning material that is presented to them in textual format, including hand-outs, lists, books, blogs and manuals. Read/write learners will often endeavour to take notes verbatim, and learn the most from lectures where a lot of information is explored.
So, hopefully you will be able to work out what type of learner – and therefore person – you are, and from there you can start to engage in the appropriate study techniques that best suit your learning style.
To close, the Online college (onlinecollege.org) produce the following infographic to help you identify which type of learner you are – and visual learners will appreciate this above everyone else.
Please include attribution to OnlineCollege.org with this graphic.
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