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What is your learning style? But more importantly, how can knowing your learning style help you study smarter?

You may have noticed that a lot of tutors use a range of teaching ‘inputs’ to deliver the module content and to stimulate and engage their students. This is because teachers understand that different students have different ‘Learning Styles’ or preferred ways of learning.

Typically, a good session will involve some verbal delivery (discussion and questions) to the class. There will also be visual/written inputs such as slides, flip charts, handouts and possibly even occasional videos. Finally, there may be a task or two where students need to apply their knowledge to solving a problem or proposing an HR initiative. They address the problem from start to finish and present a solution. They are ‘doing’ HR.

The Different Learning Styles

Auditory Learners learn best by listening and discussion.

Visual Learners learn best from visual sources and respond to models, graphs, mind maps and visual images.

Read/Write students learn best by reading texts or text-based sources and making notes.

Kinaesthetic Learners learn best by ‘doing’… by trying something and learning as they go and learning by doing.

Multimodal Learners learn best through a mix of different styles.

We are all, to a degree, multimodal learners but for most people, there is one preferred style that works best for them.

How to Cure Learning Boredom

Having a mix of teaching inputs and learning methods is good practice for two reasons:

  1. It helps to avoid death by Powerpoint or whiteboard notes.
    Long sessions where the only delivery is endless text based learning would test the patience of even the most committed student. (Maybe you have suffered from this in the past).

  2. Students have different learning styles.
    Using a mix of styles helps to engage as many students as possible and help them to understand the content.

Next time you are in a classroom, take a look around. See if you can identify different learning styles. In a class of 20, there will probably be those students who arrive with notepads or laptops and with slides printed out ready for the session. They note down key points made by the tutor and make their own additional notes as the session progresses and appreciate handouts. They are diligent and they generally succeed.

Other students sit through a session rarely making notes… They (hopefully) listen carefully, they ask questions and they enjoy discussion. When group tasks are set in a session there are those who engage fully and enjoy the challenge of the tasks whilst others seem impatient for the tutor to continue to deliver ‘notes’ or slides. These students are displaying their preferred styles.

What is YOUR preferred style?

To begin to understand your preferred learning style ask yourself; ‘What’s the best way for me to learn a new language? Read a book? Visit the country in question? Audiotapes?

Ask the same question of yourself in terms of learning to cook. Recipe book, watching and learning? Videos?

Want to do a test to find out your preferred style and what learning strategies will work best for you? Find out here.

Why is it important to know your learning style?

Once you know your preferred learning style, you must target the study methods that work best for you.

We use all the learning styles – there is no good, bad, better or worse – only different. The magic is in knowing the order that works best for you. For some types of learning you may have a strong and obvious preference and knowing that can really help you get started when facing a new challenge.

By knowing how you learn best, you are most of the way to understanding how you can study smarter, focusing on the study methods that work for you. But MUCH MORE… you will appreciate that sometimes, perhaps when you are giving a presentation or when you are training or developing staff, they too will have mixed learning styles…. Don’t immediately assume that the person not taking notes is not LEARNING!

Now watch this handy video to find out how to apply your preferred learning style!

Find out more about Acacia tutor, Jay Glover who teaches CIPD Level 7 HR Advanced training courses.