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Learning Styles
Do you need to see a name written before you remember it? I do. I’m a visual learner. Research on personality and brain function, especially related to the differences in left and right hemispheric functions, indicate that each person stores and communicates information in a preferred way. Each of us has a predominate style, all of us use some of every style, and most of us have a least preferred style. When you know how you learn, you can develop strategies to improve your learning. There is no best style but like styles tend to exchange information more effectively. You can also identify and adapt to teaching styles which are unlike your preferred learning style.
Four Learning Styles
Though there are many names and descriptions for different learning styles, the most practical method for identify each style is by its preferred perceptual sense. Thus their are four styles. Click on the name of the style for a link showing the characteristics of that style.
VISUAL: Visual learners prefer seeing information, prefer symbols, charts, diagrams, pictures (including motion), and colors. A person with this style will underline, highlight, draw symbols, and often doodle. This style is easily distracted by images and may “tune out” lectures.
AUDITORY: Auditory learners prefer lectures and, if not shy, are eager to discuss any topic. A person with this style will become so “caught up” in a lecture that no notes are taken, thus a tape recorder can be helpful. This style likes group work and may read/study out loud.
KINESTHETIC: Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing most often using trial and error (they read the instructions as a last resort). A person with this style prefers lab work, field activities, and objects to manipulate. This style will day-dream instead of listening to lectures, taking notes, or reading. This style likes to get involved and get things done. This is the least common teaching style.
aNALYTIC Analytic learners read, think about it, reread, organize, think about it, write, think about it, rewrite, think about it, reorganize, and uses many reference materials. A person with this style likes clearly stated goals, lists, patterns, check-offs, practice sets, and homework. This style prefers the detail often letting someone else worry about the “big picture.
To help identify your style link to an inventory. The web references on that page list more surveys.
Using Your Learning Styles - Study & Test Aids
The following lists some things to do and some things to avoid for each style.
Study Aids
Test Aids
Use mind mapping
Replace words with symbols
Turn phrases into images
Reconstruct images in different ways
Draw diagrams, symbols, etc. on the test
Practice turning visual back into words
Picture your notes in your mind
Allow visual distraction in study areas
Concentrate on developing models instead of studying the material
Put studying off
Leave anything blank – put words around the idea for some credit
Record class lectures
Tape your summaries
Read out loud
Teach others
Use study groups
Read questions as though you are speaking including “common” usage of words
In your mind, listen to your tapes
Allow yourself to be diverted by sounds
Make disturbing sounds (pencil taping)
Not make notes
Hesitate to “hear” the words you read
Create models to manipulate e.g. pennies for electrons, nickels for neutrons, & quarters for protons
Use note summaries
Use illustrations
Talk/study with other kinesthetics (stay on topic)
Write practice answers
Role-play the exams
Draw your manipulative models
Put studying off
Skip any reading material – especially the introduction and summary
Assume you know it – test yourself
Solve the wrong problem
Make hasty decisions – (a) may be the correct answer but “all the above” might be better
Review and evaluate before turning anything in.
Write words and lists over and over
Rewrite ideas into different ways
Learn the teachers organization strategy
Use organization charts for ideas
Practice objective tests
Study I-notes
Write lists
Check items off
Do too much
Spend too much time on impractical ideas
Only study the details – look for comprehension
Make something exactly right – losing one point for a small mistake is better than not having time to get to an entire problem
Expect questions exactly the way you studied the material

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