When it comes to learning styles, "one size fits all" is an approach that just doesn't work.
For example, when learning a language, some people prefer to predominantly hear and speak it, while others prefer to study grammar, vocabulary, and language construction. The first person is more likely to look for opportunities to speak the language, while the latter is more likely to be stuck in a book.
So, none of these learning approaches are wrong—they are just different. One works for one person; the other works for the other.
The trick, of course, is to find the learning style that works best for you. These are different learning styles that will allow you to learn faster and easier. These styles will come naturally to you. And they will encourage you to live your life by constantly learning something new.
That's what this article is about. I am going to help you discover the best learning styles while encouraging you to always learn in your life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What are learning styles?
- When Learning Styles Are Useless
- Use an individual approach with an open mind
- 5 tips for faster and easier learning
What are learning styles?
Essentially, learning styles are a method, technique, or system that is designed to help people learn.
In fact, there are several traditional different types of learning styles (and many more schools of thought on the subject of learning).
There are over 70 different learning styles according to Vanderbilt University, but by far the most popular are the four styles reflected in the VARK model:
- Visual (spatial) - Students learn best by seeing.
- Auditory (auditory) - students learn best by ear.
- Reading / writing Students learn best through reading and writing.
- kinesthetic (Physical) - Students learn best by moving and doing.
Do you recognize yourself in one of the above styles?
Probably yes, although people often learn best by combining these styles.
Let's take a closer look at these four styles:
Visual learning style
visual style training best suited for people who like to watch videos and want to see presentations that contain images, charts and graphs. The educational corner states that:
“The human brain processes visual information much faster than plain text. As a visual learner, you can absorb and remember a lot of information very quickly because you prefer this processing method that people are already very good at.”
Auditory learning style
The auditory learning style is best for those who enjoy listening to lectures and audiobooks. It is easy for these students to remember what they hear.
So much so that if they watch the movie, they are more likely to remember what was said in the movie rather than the actions that took place.
Reading/Writing Teaching Style
As you would expect, the reading/writing learning style is best for people who enjoy reading and writing. This is because the words they read and write are easily imprinted on their minds.
Ideas, paragraphs, and even entire chapters are saved effortlessly by people for whom this is a primary learning style.
Kinesthetic learning style
The kinesthetic learning style is best suited for people who like to "apply".
For example, in college, they might be attracted to science disciplines that allow them to participate in experiments, or things like mechanical engineering, which, again, is a subject that has many physical interactions.
When Learning Styles Are Useless
While each of us learns differently, our approach to learning must always be flexible. For example, if you enjoy learning by reading books, you should not limit yourself to this medium. If you do, you may be missing out on great content in the form of videos, live presentations, and more.
My advice: while finding your predominant learning style is definitely helpful, don't let it hold you hostage. Be free and flexible in your learning. This will keep your mind fresh and help you reach the peak of your thirst for learning.
It is also worth remembering that there is no scientific consensus on the accuracy of learning styles. In fact, Scientific American recently devoted an entire article to this topic. В article titled "The Problem of Learning Styles» one examines the scientific literature on learning styles and finds something interesting: there is little evidence to support the idea that learning outcomes are best when teaching methods match individuals' learning styles.
So, as you can see from the above, science has definitely not stopped at this point.
That's why I recommend you...
Use an individual approach with an open mind
In my experience, the type of person you are undoubtedly affects how quickly and easily you learn. But individual learning styles are only part of the picture.
Most people actually learn best using a variety of learning styles.
I encourage you to experiment with different learning styles rather than focusing on one. This is almost always the most effective way to improve your learning abilities.
An article on the subject from the International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research concludes:
“Being aware of the individual learning styles of 1st year medical students and using an external guided strategy to enhance learning has helped students adapt to other learning styles. This expanded the use of advanced teaching methods and, as a result, better learning outcomes. Thus, knowing a student's preference for a VARK learning style should not be seen as a limitation to using only that particular style. Rather, teachers should make a conscious effort to allow students to explore other learning styles as well.”
5 tips for faster and easier learning
Ready to make your learning faster and easier? Then apply these five tips:
1. Pick your own dominant learning style and see where you can apply it in your life.
For example, if you are learning how to build cabinets for your home, would you learn best from a few instructional videos or have someone directly show you how to do it?
How about finding out someone's name - maybe it would be easier for you to write down their name (for example, add it as a contact on your smartphone) to save the information?
Once you understand which learning style suits you best, you will be able to evaluate in which areas you should apply it and where you could apply other learning styles in certain situations.
2. Mix Your Techniques
Just as your muscles can grow and get stronger during exercise, your brain can grow, especially if you get out of your usual training routine. A recent study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine confirms this:
“We found that if you practice a slightly modified version of the problem you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the same thing over and over again.”
3. Improve Your Weaknesses
You may have found yourself NOT learning by ear. Well, instead of just giving up on auditory learning, instead look at it as an exciting challenge to improve in this area. One way to do this is to make a determined and persistent effort to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
Learning is simply a matter of honing and improving the areas you lack, so it's wise to focus on self-study to get quick results. And the good news is that as you strengthen your cognitive skills in general, you will find it easier to learn.
4. Read aloud whatever you are trying to learn for better retention
Have you ever tried doing this while reading an article or a book? Of course, this slows down a bit. But it does help cement the information you read (and speak) in your mind and memory. And you don't have to take my word for it, as a study from the University of Waterloo found that "speaking a text out loud helps cement words into long-term memory."
5. Check yourself regularly.
One of the best ways to improve information retention is to test yourself against it. For example, if you watch a video on how to start your own business, don't just watch it and don't forget. Instead, test yourself the next day for key video ideas. This will definitely help you remember and understand the content.
I sincerely hope that these tips will help you learn faster and smarter. But of course, as I always like to say, you need to apply the advice in your life for it to have a real effect.
It is one thing to read about something, and another thing to do something about it.
However, since you've landed on the Lifehack website and made it to the end of this article, I'm sure you have the motivation you need to apply and benefit from these tips. And once you do, I guarantee that you will start learning better than ever before, and as a result, you will develop a new love of learning that will last you a lifetime.
“Learning should be fun and exciting. This is the greatest adventure in life; it is an illustrated excursion into the minds of the nobles and the learned." — Taylor Caldwell