As a student, you’ve been learning and studying for most of your life. But have you ever considered how you learn best?
'Knowing your learning style could help you to study better'
What is learning style?
Learning style is basically the idea that everybody learns differently, and relates specifically to how each person absorbs, processes, understands and retains information. Just think back to anytime you’ve had to revise for an exam for example, and you might have noticed that while you had written notes and highlighted key sections, friends might have used cue cards, or asked someone to question them to see how much they could remember. These are all different methods of learning, and while one technique might work really well for you, it won’t necessarily work for your friends, and vice versa.
Identifying and understanding your learning style can be helpful, as it could help you to get the most out of your studies. However, it can also be useful throughout your life, such as at work for example.
What are the different types of learning styles?
There is quite a bit of debate around the official number of learning styles that actually exist - (some say that there are as many as 170!), but there are four main ones that you might have heard of. These fall under the VARK model, and are visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. We’re going to take you through each, and give you some tips on how you can use your learning style to study more effectively!
Visual learners are people who learn best by seeing things like images, graphics and colours. For example, you might find it easier to take in information when your teacher draws a diagram on the board or when a presentation contains lots of colours and images.
Study tips for visual learners:
- If you are a visual learner, make sure to write notes in class and use things like symbols and diagrams.
- Make lists and agendas to help keep you organised.
- Colour code and highlight your notes.
Auditory learners learn best by speaking and listening to others. An auditory learner might learn well by listening to presentations or having discussions for example. This means that they may struggle in a quiet classroom.
Study tips for auditory learners:
- Find a study buddy. You can then talk through ideas outside of class and quiz each other on what you’ve learnt.
- Record classes to listen back to (but make sure you ask the teacher’s permission first).
- Participate in discussions as much as possible.
Yep, you guessed it. Reading/writing learners learn by doing just that. These types of learners learn best by seeing information in written form, and taking notes is their best friend.
Study tips for reading/writing learners:
- Take lots of notes and use headings and bullet points to organise information.
- Translate things like diagrams into words.
- Type up or rewrite your notes.
Finally, kinesthetic learners learn by doing. This means that they learn best by being physically engaged in things, such as practical activities and demonstrations.
Study tips for kinesthetic learners:
- Study in chunks and move around to keep things interesting.
- Try to use all of your senses where possible (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing).
- Apply what you have learnt and put lots of examples into your notes and answers.
How do I know what my learning style is?
Just from reading the descriptions above, you might have already recognised what learning style fits you best, but if you’re feeling unsure, or want to double check, there are many free quizzes online that can help you figure it out. We like the one on the VARK website.
If you started reading this article wondering “what is learning style?” we hope we’ve helped give an insight into what learning style is, and how it can help you to get the most out of learning. Happy studying!
Now you know how to study, but sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Struggling to motivate yourself to hit the books? Check out these motivational tips.