No two people are the same, and we all learn in different ways. Distinguishing between the different learning styles, and discovering which one you respond to most is very important.
Here, Isabelle from PassSmart; the UK-based company providing a service to learner drivers, take a look at the different styles, how they work in today’s society, and how your learning style might effect your everyday life.
Auditory learners take in information by listening. Those who learn by hearing information often find it useful to repeat written information out loud. Auditory learners respond well to being spoken to, and find that they retain more information from audio books than from reading.
Learning through listening works well in an academic environment, and many students choose to record their classes to listen back to. It’s also a very useful learning technique to have in the fast-paced world which we live in today.
Auditory learners are constantly absorbing information, and not having to note everything down can save a lot of time. On the other hand, in an environment where there is a great deal of background noise, auditory learners are easily distracted.
Tools designed for auditory learners have progressed in recent years. Audio books, for example, can be easily downloaded and listened to an iPod, iPhone, MP3 or other device. There are also a number of educational tools which have been created with auditory learners in mind.
PodOmatic, for example, acts as a database where students can access educational podcasts to listen to wherever and whenever they want. Listening, in a classroom, amidst the background noise can be a struggle, so any tool or gadget which allows for an auditory learner to focus in a busy environment is crucial in a learning environment.
Podcasts and audio readers also accommodate the fast-paced lifestyle which many of us live. We’re all constantly on the move, so in a society where there simply isn’t time to sit down and listen, people are listening on the go instead.
Those who find learning through sight the most useful are able to learn without interaction with another. Visual learners are able to absorb information by looking at graphics and charts. They prefer to learn through colors and pictures, finding it easier to organize and remember information that is presented to them visually.
Visual learners usually have a good sense of direction, spatial awareness and are able to follow maps well. They generally find it easy to remember faces, and may find it useful to create color co-ordinated mind maps.
More and more social media channels are focusing on the visual. Pinterest and Instagram, for example, allow users to express themselves through pictures, rather than through writing. The effect of different colors on the way people interact is well known. Red, for example, is used for road signs to draw peoples attention. Color, unlike language, is stable. It means the same thing internationally, and, therefore, connects people from around the globe.
Educators have a number of visual learning resources available to them. The introduction of interactive whiteboards, for example, has revolutionized classroom learning over the past few years. Teachers are able to project any images, facts or figures and the students can respond to them using a pen or their hands. Imagine a child is learning how to tell the time. On an interactive whiteboard, the child is able to move the hands of the clock, on an image, for the whole class to see.
An infographic can also be an incredibly useful learning tool. There are tools online to help you make your own as well ready-made ones for use.
Infographics can be used to demonstrate data about almost anything. From international car-buying trends to descriptions of learning types, information is presented in a much more engaging way than in a paragraph of a textbook. Why not ask your students to draw their own infographic on A3 paper? Presenting data in visual form may help them to absorb it.
If you’re a kinaesthetic learner, you learn by physical experience. Kinaesthetic learners absorb information by ‘getting their hands dirty’ and by doing instead of watching. Those who learn best this way are usually very practical people, with many kinaesthetic learners becoming carpenters, mechanics, or other jobs which allow them to get ‘hands-on’.
- How to memorize GRE words using flash Cards (is an example here)
Listening to information in a classroom may be very difficult for kinaesthetic learners, and they may switch off. Jumping in and getting involved, on the other hand, is very appealing. This is, perhaps, why practical, kinaesthetic learners find practical tests, like the driving test, easier than written exams. They enjoy the challenge of making something work, and having a something physical to show for it.
Physical communication is something which feminine product company, Kotex, have embraced in their recent marketing campaign. In combining the digital world of Pinterest with physical gift giving, Kotex were able to engage with their audience because they had physically interacted with them. The women who received gifts based upon their Pinterest boards couldn’t ignore Kotex, and went back online to share images of their gifts.
Kinaesthetic learners respond particularly well to artistic subjects, where textures and shapes, rather than facts and data, are important. There are, however, innovative tools and apps designed to make fact-based learning more engaging for kinaesthetic learners. KinectMath is a tool which aims to ‘bring a new, fresh perspective to teaching’ by providing ‘more interactive ways for teachers to teach these abstract concepts’.
Tools like KinectMath allow students to interact and get a ‘feel’ for the subject by seeing it presented in a tangible, ‘real’ way. The information is no longer a series of meaningless numbers in a book or worksheet; it can now be interacted with.
Combining the three
Whilst we may all have a main learning style, its impossible to avoid the others completely. Take the sat nav, for example. Many of us use them every day without thinking about it. The physical action of driving is combined with auditory instruction and being visually directed on screen.
Technology is adapting around us, and learning new ways to help us learn. Tools for teachers have developed so far in recent years, and will continue to develop in years to come. Learning is no longer just about listening to a teacher in a classroom, but about getting physically – as well as mentally – involved with the topic, until you find the perfect balance which works for you.
Isabelle Guarella, author of this guest post, is a British blogger who writes for PassSmart.com; the company helping learner drivers get on the road.