How Do You Learn Best?

General Methods for Unique Individuals

Why is it important to understand the different styles of learning? Because with a thorough comprehension of  the different ways which people learn, a basis for more productive methods to teach people new information, and for that information to be retained over time, is established.

The key component to learning is stimulation of the parts of the brain that are associated with obtaining new information. Every individual has a unique style, or styles, of learning that appeals directly to their subconscious when it comes to retaining information. Finding methods that activate, and stimulate the parts of our brains that allow us to learn and retain information is imperative.

VARK is an acronym credited to Neil Fleming for abbreviating the four most common learning styles.
These styles are categorized as Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing (Verbal), and Kinesthetic. It must be stated, that there are many other forms and styles of learning, however, generally speaking, these four styles are the most used in modern day teaching and learning methods.

Students and Teachers alike, the attention is forwarded to you all. Identify which styles of learning methods are most effective in order to generate the best results (results differ pertaining to each individual and/or groups). Recognizing which learning style is most suitable is achieved via trial and error. Teachers, try different styles with different students. Students, identify which styles stimulate your ability to learn the best. Be patient, over time, you will learn to discover which styles work best for you individually and in a group setting. 

THE STYLES:

Visual Learners are learners who use the sense of sight to stimulate the parts of the brain when it comes to learning information. Visual learners use images, sizes, objects, space between objects, and hands on activities to interact in learning environments. If you think you might be a visual learner, try to use methods such as flash cards, graphic organizers, power points, and interactive learning games to learn and retain information. 

Teachers might want to follow suit, and find ways to appeal to this style of learning by using their imagination to create a visual-based teaching methods to the concepts in which they are trying to teach. Lecturing is not the way to teach visual learners so try to avoid long talks where attention spans can be easily lost. 

Contrary to visual learners, auditory learners are learners that heavily rely on the sense of hearing to best process and maintain new material. Auditory learners rely heavily on listening and speaking to stimulate their brain in order to accept the inflow of information. Because auditory learners hear so well, this can also be a distraction if they are in a loud classroom, or learning environment as they will be easily distracted by other noises that aren't related to the learning material. Oral lectures and oral presentations are good interactive suggestions to best adhere to the auditory learners in the class. Other activities such as debates, skits, songs, or recordings also will be very effective for these
types of learners. 

For the reading/writing (verbal) style of learning, these learners use the senses of sight, touch, and hearing by applying written and spoken word to stimulate their learning style. As mentioned in the style type, reading and writing are preferred methods to learn and these learners attach to the "traditional" style of classroom learning. For example, a lecture from the teacher or professor, and the learner writes down notes and organizes them in a way which they will best remember the information. 

Kinesthetic learners are learners who use the sense of touch to stimulate their learning style. These learners are very "hands-on" and prefer to physically touch the material in which they will be learning about. These students do best in classes such as art and music, where they can physically change the output of the information being learned. They like to take information and bend it and manipulate it in a direct way that will aid them in recalling it. A strong learning method  for these learners is that of using a mind map for them to construct their flow of information in a "map" constructed by themselves. These learners are not great with reading and listening for long periods of time. They prefer physical interaction with material or other pupils in order to efficiently retain new information. 

Students and teachers, learning is different for every individual. Do not be discouraged if you find yourself struggling to learn information or relate to your students. It is important to find a common ground between teachers and students to maximize the learning experience making it a success for all!

Be patient, over time, you will learn to discover which styles work best for you individually, and in a group setting. 

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