Which category do you fall under?
Do you find yourself struggling to realise the study technique that works best for you? Do you feel you’re not making the best use of your study time? Different types of learners need to use different methods to make the most of their strengths. What works for one may not work for others. Here is our advice on the best study techniques for each of the four classifications of learners.
Visual learners are those who prefer to have all of the information presented to them in the form of charts, diagrams and graphs. They love plenty of colour, and this enables them to retain information in their brain consistently. Visual learners will benefit from the following techniques:
• Highlighters: The use of bright highlighting pens will always work well for visual learners. Be sure to highlight only the most pertinent and salient information – too much will be overkill and detrimental to learning.
• Flash cards: These are always the perfect way for visual learners to revise for that all-important exam. Again, use charts and diagrams, and colour will always work well.
• Textbooks: The types of textbooks that work best for visual learners are those which contain plenty of charts, diagrams and pictures – if indeed you have the choice.
• Videos: It goes without saying that visual learners will always absorb more information if it is presented to them in video format.
The category of kinetic learners covers those who physically learn by doing something: in other words, they are “hands on” studiers. They won’t learn as well when presented with reams of text; their minds need to be stimulated in other ways. Whilst kinetic learners are said to have shorter attention spans, this does not affect their ability to study more involved courses. It just means that this type of learner will need to study for shorter periods and take more short breaks. Here is some more useful advice if you fall under this category of learner:
• Plenty of examples: Kinetic learners should aim to annotate their study notes with plenty of examples as they go along. Look to explain concepts far more clearly in your notes, otherwise you may well struggle to retain the information.
• Experiments: If you are able to undertake an experiment to help you consolidate your knowledge in a particular area, you are actively encouraged to do so as a kinetic learner.
• Discussions with other people: Discussions are perfect for kinetic learners. Again, this is because you are actually doing something productive to help you learn the relevant information.
• Flash cards: These work well for the kinetic learner and are especially useful when you write a question on one side of the card and then physically have to turn it over to reveal the relevant answer on the other side.
As the name suggests, auditory learners will work best when listening to information. They are not renowned for being particularly great note takers; instead, they usually listen to information intently and pose relevant questions. Auditory learners may well benefit from the following advice and techniques:
• Record your notes: It is always a great idea for auditory learners to record the notes and important information that has to be learnt. This is far more productive than trying to memorise written information.
• Discussions with others: Discussions are always a good technique for this type of learner. Being able to talk about the salient information and listen to other people’s opinions will go a long way in helping you absorb the most important points.
• Dictaphone: If you’re a student who attends classes, you may well wish to use a Dictaphone to record the lesson to listen to again later on.
• Read out loud: Auditory learners benefit from reading their notes out loud.
• Try to avoid other noise distractions: It is vitally important for auditory learners to work in an environment that is free from distracting noises.
“Read and write” learners
Read-and-write learners fit the stereotype of the “traditional” learner. As the name suggests, they absorb information through the written word and by creating notes. With this is mind, many read-and-write learners may already be studying in the way that fits them best. Here is some further advice for them to follow:
• Rewrite notes: Reading text, writing notes and then rewriting your notes more than once is a good way to retain information. It is wise to add information with each rewrite, as that will, in turn, expand knowledge.
• Handouts: Handouts are an important tool for read-and-write learners as they learn by re-reading. Making notes on the accompanying handouts helps process information. It also keeps the topic notes and information together for future study.
• Formatting: Read-and-write learners should try to use bullet points and lists as often as possible. That allows for a lot of information to be condensed in an easy-to-read format. Graphs and charts are not good for read-and-write learners. When presented with them, read-and-write learners should make notes and annotations around the graphs or rewrite what the graph is revealing as text.
It is important to note that you are unlikely to fit exactly into one of the four learning categories above. Most people will find that they are a mixture of two or more categories, in which case, following the pertinent advice in all of the categories that are relevant to you and combining the study methods that work may well be wise.