When searching for the best learning tools online, you’ll find that they cater to one method of learning. It doesn’t take a genius to know that everyone’s learning styles differ. While some prefer visual aides, others learn best with written text or audio tools.
Have you ever had difficulty learning a new topic by reading dry text only to have an epiphany after seeing a picture or chart? Perhaps a professor has bombarded you with graphs and images which meant nothing until it was accompanied by reading material. By determining your learning style, you will become more efficient in understanding new concepts and retaining new information.
Finding Your Learning Style
Much like personality tests, there are surveys online that will help you discover a personalized way of learning. Barbara Solomon and Dr. Richard Felder of North Carolina State University created a 44-question survey that analyzes and defines a student’s learning style by asking the following questions:
- What type of information does the student prefer: sensory (sights and sounds) or intuitive (ideas and theories)?
- How is the information received: visual (pictures and demos) or verbal (written or spoken words)?
- How do they process information: actively (physical activity or discussion) or reflectively (thinking and introspection)?
- How does the student progress toward understanding: sequentially (progression of incremental steps) or globally (absorbing material randomly)?
It’s rare to lean toward one extreme over another; some of us are in between or have some combination of two or more styles. The trick is to get an idea of how you learn so that you can choose professors, learning tools and study habits that suit you. Instead of suffering through mundane pages of text or slideshows the next time you tackle a new subject, you can be more selective with what works best for your learning style. When you’re receptive to what you learn, your grades will improve and you might enjoy a subject that could have otherwise been bland.