A learning style is defined as “the style or learning methods used in the process of learning.”
Understanding learning styles is more than just helping your kids get good grades. It is about empowering your child with tools to manage her academic studies and boosting her confidence as a student.
My daughter struggled academically in primary 2 & 3. We could not understand her poor academic results and she was becoming more despondent as a student. The last straw came when she tearfully asked me why her grades were so miserable despite her hard work.
That was when I realized that I had to do something to help her. We discovered she had some learning difficulties that was not properly addressed by the school teachers (that’s another post). We also taught her how to use her learning style to learn to HER advantage. Within a few months, we saw a vast improvement not just in her grades but also her attitude about herself. By the end of the year, she had improved so much she was awarded a national award. She had gone from a struggling, unmotivated student to the confident, empowered self-learner she is today.
This post aims to share what learning styles are and the study strategies that the different learners can adopt to improve their academic status.
We are all born with a unique blend of learning styles – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Some are more dominant than others. When you understand your child’s learning style, you will be able to teach your child in a way that he/she can easily understand. This means less frustration for all parties involve.
Learning styles are very easy to identify. You can take a simple test by following this link or simply by observing your child.
When students accessed information through their preferred modality, they demonstrate an increase in their levels of comprehension, motivation and metacognition, thereby seeing higher success. You can further empower them by matching the appropriate learning strategies with the preferred learning modes.
Visual learners learn best when they see the information in diagrams, pictures, and images. They understand instructions better when it is accompanied by a visual aid (drawing or written down). People with this learning style learns best through watching.
Many traditional classrooms are geared towards the visual learner – whiteboard, presentation. For their learning to make sense they need to be able to see, visualise and illustrate their knowledge skills and concepts.
Telling these learners how to do something may not make sense to them at all – they need to see it. It is easy to spot a visual learner as they exhibit the following characteristics:
- remember visual details
- prefer to see what they are learning
- need to have paper and pens handy
- doodle while listening
- write down instructions or watching demonstration.
- Explain Mathematics solutions by showing/demonstrating how it is done.
- Create mind maps to enhance learning and memorizing.
- Replace important words with symbols or initials.
- Highlight important key terms in corresponding colours as it increases the visual impact.
- Visualizing success in grades (mental support)
Aural learners learn best through listening to what others have to say and talking about what they’re learning. These types of learners do not always have to see or experience what they have to do and can pick up a task simply through the coach’s instructions.
They have the following characteristics:
- remember information by talking aloud
- need to have things explained orally
- may have trouble with written instructions
- talk or sing to themselves while learning something new
- enjoy discussion groups over working alone.
Auditory learners might look like they’re not paying attention when you talk to them, but their listening skills are more developed than their visual skills. There are two auditory strength, those who are Aural (auditory-musical) and prefer using sound and music, and Verbal (linguistic) who prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Record your summarized notes and listen to them on tape.
- Talk it out. Have a discussion with others to expand upon your understanding of a topic.
- Reread your notes and/or assignment out loud.
- Explain your notes to your peers/fellow “aural” learners.
- Remember facts by telling yourself a story, forming an acronym or string it into a song.
Kinaesthetic / Tactile Learner
Kinaesthetic learners like to be actively involved in the learning process, and learn best through hands-on activities and movement. This can be done by using demonstrations or actual experiences.
These learners exhibit the following characteristics:
- Wanting to actually do whatever is being talked about or learned
- Moving around while listening or talking – helps them to think
- Strum their fingers while thinking
- Often “talk” with their hands
- Like to touch things in order to learn about them
- Remember events by recalling who did what rather than who said what.
Kinaesthetic learners prefer using their body, hands and sense of touch to learn. These types of learners can be misdiagnosed as ADHD or troublemakers because the more tradition visual or auditory learning styles just don’t work for them.
- Use real life examples, applications and case studies in your summary to help with abstract concepts.
- Redo lab experiments or projects.
- Utilize pictures and photographs that illustrate your idea
- Practice what they learn – eg. practice math work, writing out words, drawing mindmaps.
Not sure how you learn? Complete Fleming’s VARK Questionnaire to find out what kind of learner you are.
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.