Guest Blogger: Rachel Morota
Ever heard that you’re an auditory learner? Or perhaps you see yourself as more of a visual person? Or do you soak things up best through a hands-on approach?
Auditory, visual and kinesthetic – these are the three main learning styles. Figuring out how you learn best can help you make the most out of learning something new in your busy schedule. Here are a couple of ways that you can tailor your studying to make learning easier:
1. Personal Intelligences
Good news: you have not one, not two, but at least seven personal intelligences that you can use in combination to maximize your learning. Applying your best areas to your learning can make it easier, more fun, and more rewarding. Check out this article to figure out what your strongest suits are.
2. Peak Learning Time
Some of us wake up early in the morning ready to go without the help of coffee, while others are most productive at night in pajamas. Everyone is mentally alert and motivated at certain times of the day. Older adults tend to perform better in the morning, while younger adults thrive as the day progresses. Figure out when you’re most in the zone and adjust your activities accordingly to do your most important work then.
3. Big Picture vs. Detail-Oriented
Are you more of a visionary or a conscientious worker? People tend to naturally fall into two categories – ‘big picture’ and ‘details’ (also termed ‘groupers’ and ‘stringers’ by Ron Gross). Reflecting on which style you lean more heavily towards can enhance your learning. Sometimes tasks can require both, but fear not; there are processes that you can learn to develop both your strategic thinking and attention to detail.
4. Match Your Learning Style with the Right Resources
Take advantage of technology and take an online course, join an online forum, or surf the web. Treat yourself to a visit to the museum or a lecture at your local university. Explore the world through a documentary or books. Converse with experts and other interested in the same field as you. Write. Capitalize upon your limited time by branching out beyond a small handful of resources and choose those that complement the way you learn.
5. Explore New Learning Styles
While applying your preferred learning styles makes you more efficient, it’s important to get outside of your comfort zone and sample other methods, too. Some tasks require one style over others; you’ll be at a disadvantage unless you can switch into and operate in the appropriate mode. Adopting other learning methods also helps you to communicate with those who prefer other approaches. You may even discover that an alternative approach works really well!
For an extended list of learning styles inventories, take a look at Deb Peterson’s article here.