People learn in different ways, but most of us usually use a single style or method more often than another. Knowing your preferred method of learning may help you with your studying techniques.
The 3 primary methods of learning
If you’re a visual learner, you learn best by seeing. You prefer to read material, watch videos, observe demonstrations and use computers. You probably use note–taking techniques as a study aid.
If you’re an auditory learner, you learn best by hearing. You prefer to learn through lecture and discussion. Your study aids are probably audio recordings and talking out loud.
If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you learn best by doing. You prefer to learn through hands–on activities and trial and error. Your study aids are probably games, flash cards and practice techniques.
What is your learning preference?
Put a check mark beside the statements that best apply to you.
- I like reading books with pictures and graphs better than books without illustrations.
- I notice details, errors, scruffy shoes and missing buttons on clothes.
- I would rather read than be read to.
- I doodle or draw with some detail.
- I like seeing how a task is done before trying it.
- I have difficulty following verbal directions.
- I prefer classes in which teachers use visual aids like videos, smartboards and projector slides.
- I rarely participate in class discussions.
- When someone gives me a complicated problem, I prefer to see it on paper rather than hear about it.
- When trying to remember where I left something, I visualize where I last placed it.
- When learning something, I like to sit back, listen and absorb what is being said.
- I would rather learn about the news by listening to the radio than by reading about it.
- I learn best when I can discuss my ideas with others.
- I have difficulty with spelling.
- I require an explanation to understand charts, graphs or maps.
- In order to learn material, I talk in my head or say it out loud.
- When learning something new, I would rather listen to an audio recording of the material than read about it.
- I like to talk about what needs to be done before actually doing it.
- Listening to music is one of my favourite pastimes.
- I am a good verbal communicator.
- Learning has more meaning for me when I get a chance to try out what I've learned.
- The activities I remember best are ones in which I have participated.
- I prefer classes in which I am actively doing something.
- I like to write on blackboards, whiteboards or flip charts.
- I take a lot of notes during lectures.
- I would rather participate in an activity than watch others do it.
- I feel confined in a classroom.
- I tend to be clumsy or fidgety.
- I like to set up equipment—like hooking up a computer to a projector or hooking up a stereo.
- I rub my hands along the railing while in the lunch line or walking down hallways.
Add up the number of check marks under each style. Your preferred learning method will most likely be the one with the most statements checked off.
Once you know your learning style, you can focus your study habits accordingly.