Understanding Your Learning Style

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about learning styles. I think it is because I just took a month long online class, and I will tell you more about that in a bit.

In case you are not aware of your own learning style, you should find out and understand it. It will make many things easier for you, not just learning and classwork. Learning styles affect how you remember, focus, talk on the phone, pray, read a book, figure out a craft project, organize projects and people, and well, pretty much everything you do.  I think they should be called focusing styles instead of learning styles. Understanding learning styles can help you adapt material and how it is presented to fit you better.

If you have a hard time focusing on something, it is probably not directed to your learning style.

There are basically three types of learners:

Visual learner: 
  • you learn better by reading
  • illustrations and diagrams in color are very helpful to you
  • you like to see the facial expressions and body language of the person presenting to you, video is good, sitting in the front of the classroom is good
  • when you have lost something, if you close your eyes, you can probably see the last place you had it
  • you can easily sit still and read as long as there is no hands-on or listening involved
Auditory learner:
  • as long as you can hear the instructions, you do not need to see the teacher, the text, or the action
  • it helps you to learn if you read it outloud
  • for you, learning takes place well in a lecture situation
  • repeating things outloud cement them in your head
Kinesthetic learner:
  • you need activity and frequent breaks
  •  you speak with your hands or act things out
  • a hands-on situation helps you learn and retain, learning by doing is good for you
  • you have a hard time sitting still and focusing, for instance quiet meditation is impossible
I am a kinesthetic learner. Once I figured that out, my life got easier. For one things, I could never sit still with my head bowed and hands folded to pray like I had always been taught. The minute I do that, my mind is all over the galaxy. I found out that if I walk or journal, or doodle while praying, I can pray for hours.  When I talk on the phone, I pace around my house, and that helps me focus on the conversation. When in a classroom situation, writing or drawing while ingesting material helps me learn and retain it. Even when I read, if I rewrite the parts I need to remember, that is all it takes. I know that I have a short attention span, and taking frequent breaks actually helps me focus better between breaks. I have piles of notes and doodles.

Nephew #2 is an auditory learner. He is in college right now and is having a hard time with all of the reading that is assigned. If he can read the material from the book outloud, hearing it helps him learn it. If he can read it into a tape recorder and play it back, that is even better.

So, I just finished the Blogging Your Way class taught by Holly Becker of Decor8 and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint.  As teachers, both of them have this figured out. The lessons were taught online via text, with lots of photos, strengthened by podcasts and videos. The material was often presented in more than one way. It was well thought out and well presented for everyone, not just visual learners. That takes time and effort on the part of the teacher, but pays off for students. You see that understanding learning styles will help you be a better teacher as well.

You can google "learning styles quiz" to help you figure out your learning style if you don't know it already. Here is one that is short and sweet: quiz to find your earning style. Once you understand your style, you can begin adapting to help you find pain-free focus and learning.

Take your Vitamin C!

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