Many students go years without ever knowing their own unique learning style, or even knowing how vital an aspect it is in an academic journey. Understanding the way you learn is important because if a student is being taught in a manner in which they naturally do not learn well, they will begin to think that they are simply not good at a specific subject, or perhaps even school in general. In reality, all this really comes down to is a contrast in learning/teaching styles. Something as simple yet so crucial as this can affect an individual for many years.
This is one of the most important facets of one-on-one tutoring. The individual, personalized learning that tutoring is structured around is what turns this simple yet complex problem around. The student is able to come through whatever challenge they are facing in their academics, and will then take with them the new valuable understanding of their own learning nature into the coming years of further studies.
So what are these different ‘styles’ of learning, and what do they mean?
Though we like to focus on the three major categories – visual, auditory and hands-on, there are in total 7 different styles in which a person can learn best individually. None of it is always absolute, either. Some styles can overlap depending on the subject. Some students do fall into many styles, and that’s great! We call this multi-sensory.
These are students who absorb knowledge best when it can be taken in visually. If you like to draw things out on paper to be seen, chart graphs, or take a lot of notes in order to better understand something being taught, you are a visual learner. This does not necessarily mean that visual learners learn well simply by watching videos or looking at pictures, but that different visual representation of a lesson such as writing, shapes, charts, colors or other visual support allow information to be better absorbed mentally.
Auditory learners like to take in information when it is presented aurally, or musically. Such learners do well memorizing using rhyming or melodic strategies. They like to listen to the information being spoken, and take this in better than a student who mainly learns well in another way. They can spot complex modalities of different pitches and tones. Many of these kinds of individuals go on to be musicians, language teachers or even sound engineers.
Kinesthetic learners learn best using hands-on techniques. They like to experience things by experiencing and doing. This allows concepts to absorb in an exciting and tangible way by these individuals. They like to learn by doing. They learn much better this way than they would be sitting down with someone speaking about the subject. This is quite common for little children, as they are naturally very energetic and curious. Using manipulative math blocks, painting/drawing, or outdoor lessons utilizing exploration and movement works wonders for hands-on, physical learners.
Verbal, or linguistic, learners absorb information best when using words and/or writing. If you learn best by gathering information, listening to lectures, podcasts or by reading on your own, you may be a verbal learner. Many qualities between verbal and auditory are of course similar, but they can differ in the mode through which the auditory lesson is brought. Auditory learners respond well cognitively to tones and sounds, whereas verbal learners do well by listening to someone speaking or reading about a specific concept/subject.
Analytical learners are very logical. They recognize patterns quickly and can connect concepts easily. While we believe that ALL learners are capable of mastering math through different modes of style and understanding, analytical learners are drawn to numbers and logistics, making math more naturally enjoyable to them.
Social learners absorb information best while working with others. They enjoy group projects and discussions. Talking and bouncing ideas off of their peers or others helps these types of learners better conceptualize and understand different concepts.
Solitary learners can be masters of homework – something that can be dreaded for other learning types. They also do very well learning through correspondents. They learn best when alone and focused, and can get easily distracted by the noise of a classroom. Both solitary and social learners will of course fall into other categories as well but are at their optimal learning intake while either alone or in a group.
There are many avenues and forms in which an individual can learn optimally, and you can see how all of these styles would affect a student’s conceptual absorption depending on how and even where they are being asked to learn. A student who is struggling in a specific year could simply be experiencing contrast in their own unique learning style and how they are being taught that year – or even in a certain class. This is something that every student should understand and is one of the greatest successes students take with them who come to work with one of our tutors.
To get a closer look into the 3 major styles of learning, and which one(s) you could fall under, we have provided a chart on our website with information – found here.
“Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding.” – Robert John Meehan
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