There is no magic pill for learning. You must exercise your brain. But is there a way to learn more efficiently? To learn better and faster without putting in as much effort?
There is, but the answer is up to you to discover. Ultimately, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Doing so will allow you to direct your focus on your strengths and maximize the output of your efforts. After all, learning is most effective when your brain is being used most effectively.
But how do I discover my brain’s strengths and weaknesses!?
First, you must understand that there are different ways of receiving information, or learning, and each person will prefer one (or more) ways of learning. These are called “learning styles” and can be categorized as visual, auditory, verbal (reading/writing), and kinesthetic.
Visual learners learn best when information is presented in a visual manner using images, videos, graphs, and diagrams. It’s approximated 70% of people are visual learners (the brain uses most of it’s resources for vision!). Graphic organizers such as mind maps are tools that can be used to help organize information in a visual format.
Auditory learners process information through speaking and listening. So lectures are best for presenting information to an auditory learner who prefers hearing information. If you’re an auditory learner, listening to recorded notes or presenting to a third party can help to encode new information. Don’t forget to include a couple podcast episodes on your playlists!
Verbal learners prefer to receive information through reading and writing notes. No technology needed here but books, pen, and paper. Although, an e-reader or tablet might be preferred for some.
Kinesthetic learners learn best through tactile experiences. Although considered to be more prevalent in young children who may prefer to learn through hands-on activities, it is also used by adults when engaging in physical activities like swimming, dancing, and tennis. Skits and games are examples of tools that can be used to help kinesthetic learners.
Keep in mind that it’s normal to have more than one learning style. When you learn and study using methods that are best suited to your learning style, the information will be better processed and retained. Classes are often taught using a variety of ways but adapting study tools to your learning style can help tremendously to learn better and faster.
Now that I’m aware of the different learning styles, how can I figure out what learning style I am!?
Take this quiz here to find out! https://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/
If you have a child and you want to figure out their learning style: https://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/the-vark-questionnaire-for-younger-people/
Here are some strategies for the different learning styles: https://vark-learn.com/strategies/
Side note, we are not affiliated with VARK in any way. But if you’re interested to find out more about your learning style and resources, we recommend you also do your own research. VARK is one theory on learning styles but there are others! If you’re curious about how you can reach your potential with help from an academic mentor, get in touch with us!