Learning style theory suggests that individuals learn information in different ways according to their unique abilities and traits. Therefore, although all humans are similar, the ways in which you best perceive, understand, and remember information may be somewhat different from the ways other people learn.
In truth, all people possess a combination of styles. You may be especially strong in one style and less so in others. You may be strong in two or three areas or may be equally strong in all areas. As you learn about the styles described in this chapter, you may begin to recognize your preferences and will then be able to modify your study activities accordingly. Try using multiple learning styles as you study rather than choosing one in particular. This will help you make the most of your valuable time, enhance your learning, and support you in doing your very best in future classes.
Sensory Learning Styles
Experts have identified numerous learning styles and have given them various names. Some are described in an abstract and complex manner, whereas others are relatively simple and easy to grasp. For ease of understanding, this book uses the learning styles associated with your senses. You use your senses to see and hear information. You use touch and manipulation or your sense of taste or smell. You may find it useful to think aloud as you discuss new information with someone else. Because the senses are so often involved in the acquisition of new information, many learning styles are named accordingly: visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic (hands-on or tactile).
Most people have a preference for visual learning. To most accurately and quickly grasp new information, these types of learners need to see the information represented visually. The more complex the data, the more this is true. Visual learners especially like data that are colorful and visually striking. Within the classroom, they prefer instructors who use written outlines and many visual aids. During exams, they may recall information by “seeing” it in their mind’s eye, whether it is an actual picture or diagram or a fragment of written text. Visual information can be presented in many ways. Examples include the following:
Table Graphic Jump Location
|Written words ||Flowcharts |
|Diagrams ||Timelines |
|Shapes ||Maps |
|Patterns ||Handouts |
|Colors ||Posters |
|Symbols ||Flash cards |
|Illustrations ||PowerPoint presentations |
|Graphs ||Internet data |
|Photos ||Videos |
|Tables ||Live demonstrations |
Study Strategies for Visual Learning
Try using any study or memory technique that aids you in visually seeing and recalling information. You may find mnemonics (memory aids) especially helpful for remembering lists or sequenced pieces of information. Generally speaking, the more creative, whimsical, funny, or absurd they are, the better you will remember them. There are many different types of mnemonics. Some examples follow.