Discover Your Unique Learning Style with These 7 Tips

Discover Your Unique Learning Style with These 7 Tips

Human beings have varied preferences for learning and our styles could differ depending on personality types, intellect, interests and experiences

Identifying your learning style or developing a method or a set of methods could make you an efficient learner

Each one of us are born with distinct and dynamic personalities, aided with a diverse set of inclinations and aptitudes. This means each one of us have varied learning preferences or interests.

But, that doesn’t mean any one style of learning would be perfect for a particular personality type.

Human beings are complex creatures and our faculties of intellect continually learn through various modes and mediums.

Our approach to learning could vary based on our complex set of strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

As we come across different concepts, information and challenges we deal with them differently on different occasions.

According to experts, how we learn should depend on what we learn and what type of personalities we possess.

Understand the personality type

Understanding a child’s unique personality, which covers the faculty of intellect, inclinations, interests and aptitude, as well as their learning preferences or style is essential in the long term success and well-being of the child.

Psychologists and educationists have identified different learning styles that could suit various personality types.

But to accurately identify our learning style or a mix of styles, we have to first understand our personality types. Parents and teachers have a role to play here, as a child may not be able to identify one’s learning style independently.

Help of an educational psychologist could also be useful in this regard.

With the right understanding of the child’s abilities and type of intelligence, parents and educators can give the learner the right direction and help them develop the most suitable approach to learning.

Former president of the American Psychological Association and a professor of psychology at Tufts University, Robert Sternberg argues that there are three broad types of personalities based on our intelligences.

Analytical personality: This is the type of person who has the ability to solve problems using academic skills.

Creative Personality: This type of person has high levels of creative intelligence, who can effortlessly deal with novel situations and come up with original solutions.

Practical Personality: This is a person with extraordinary practical abilities, who is great at dealing with problems and challenges in everyday life.

However, the diversity of human beings are not confined to only these three types, these are three broad categories. None of these personality types is better than the other, each coming with its distinct advantages and utility and each equally important in a world offering diverse opportunities.

Identify intellectual diversity

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Human beings are generally defined by their intellectual prowess, but according to the widely acclaimed Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, humans are not confined to one, but many intelligences.

Our intellectual range could vary from literary, musical, mathematical and spatial to kinaesthetic, natural and existential intelligence.

Hence, rather than finding out how intelligent you are, you will have to find out how are you intelligent. In other words finding out what type of intelligence you posses will help adopt the right approach to learning and developing the most suitable learning style.

Check out if any of the below describes your style:

Auditory learnersare those who remember best by listening. For such people reading out loud or discussing the subject with others help. Many auditory learners also like to record key points and listen to them regularly, which helps them retain the concept in a better way.

Visual learnersprefer to learn by seeing. Images are profound and some people are more inclined towards imagery than others. For those to whom images help remember a concept better could use colours in their notes or draw diagrams to help represent key points. You could also try remembering some ideas as images.

Kinaesthetic learnersprefer to learn through action. There are people who are naturally very active and can’t stay still. For such people studying for long hours sitting at a desk is highly difficult. Such people can try learning by applying the concepts practically. They also try using techniques such as role-playing or building models to understand and remember key points.

Linguistic learners are those students with a strong reading/writing preference and learn best through words. These students are avid readers and are good at taking notes. They also have the ability to translate abstract concepts into words and essays.

Asserting varied strengths that each one of us has, Gardner suggests that education should treat them equally so that all children have the opportunities to develop their individual abilities and styles.

His research also highlights the role educators need to play in presenting learning material in multiple ways in order to help students arrive at a convenient learning style.

“Conveying information in multiple ways not only helps students learn the material better, but also helps educators understand the students’ knowledge and skills while reinforcing the educators mastery over the content,” said Gardner in his widely-acclaimed research on intelligence and ways of learning.

According to Gardner, courses and learning approaches designed to help students learn in a range of ways can develop greater confidence in them and motivate them to improve in areas in which they are not as strong.

Experience the way

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David Kolb, author of several best selling books on experiential learning and behavioural psychology, states that human beings learn continually and in the process, develop particular strengths. Based on these strengths or preferences, Kolb describes four broad categories of learning styles: accommodating, converging, diverging, and assimilating.

Accommodators: These are “hands-on” learners, who are great at learning from real experience.

Convergers: They are great at dealing with abstract ideas, and turning these ideas into concrete results.

Divergers: These people have the ability to use personal experiences and practical ideas to develop theories that they could apply in other fields.

Assimilators: These are most comfortable working with abstract concepts. They extended their understanding by developing new theories of their own.

Find from teachers and parents

Educators and parents can play a great role in identifying the personalities and types of intelligence through their expertise and experience in dealing with a great diversity of people.

The discerning abilities of educators in particular could help students identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as their inherent gifts, which could point towards their style and preferences.

Students can also seek help from the development of curriculum, the adopted to approaches instruction and design of the modules to understand what suits them better.

Nobody knows children better than their own parents and they could be a great source of help for students to learn more about their own learning style.

Take self-assessments

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Assessing yourself is a quick and simple way of finding out which style suits you best.

Several popular websites offer online quizzes or assessment tests that will analyse your learning style based on your responses. Search the web, take a few tests, and follow the most common result. Based on the result you can also utilise a combination of learning styles.

Trial and arrive

One of the ways to find out what suits you best is to try out all the different learning styles. This will either help you arrive at what is most comfortable to you or let you create a combination of various styles and define your own way, distinct from all the established styles.

Ask a friend

Many students love to learn in partnership or in small groups, which not only helps students motivate each other and provide the necessary support in their quest for knowledge, but also helps them understand themselves in the reflection of others.

Companionship not only helps you identify what suits best but also provides opportunities to create new avenues of learning.

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