Learning Styles: Why They Matter

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Have you ever been trying to remember something and found yourself pacing around the room?  Do you click your pen while trying to find the right words to close an email?  Do you tap your foot while watching an instructional video online?  If you relate to any of these items, you might be a kinesthetic learner.   This “fidgeting” is allowing you to better focus on the task at hand and retain the information you are trying to remember.  And while you may not have paid much attention to why you’re circling the table for the fifth time, that movement is helping you remember and retain the information you are learning.

For kinesthetic learners, walking around while reciting notes or using flashcards is a great way to help retain information.  Kinesthetic learners do best with frequent breaks and tend to focus better when they have something to fidget with.  Using a Tangle Jr. or stress ball can be a great way to help sustain focus and keep attention on the task at hand.

What Is Your Learning Style?

Are you someone who needs to “hear” new information in order to grasp it?  Do you prefer listening to audio tapes rather than reading new information?   If you find it best to listen to new information, you may be an auditory learner.  Auditory learners learn best by learning styleshearing.  They learn well in groups where they can talk about new information and hear it as well.  Auditory learners may want to record tapes to play back so they can hear the material they are studying.   Visual learners learn best by seeing.  Most visual learners prefer to study alone and do best in a quiet place.  Rewriting notes is a great tool for visual learners.  Using color to highlight main ideas, making smartcards, and previewing text by scanning the pictures and headings are great strategies for visual learners.

Why Are Learning Styles Important?

So what does it all mean and why is it important?  Most people have a preferred way to learn.  Some learn by listening, some have to observe every step, and others have to do it to learn it.  By finding out how you learn best you can better understand which tips and strategies will allow you to study more efficiently and effectively.  So how do you learn best?   How do your children learn best?  Have you noticed your child constantly fidgets or doodles while practicing spelling words?  Let him play with a stress ball when you’re working together and see if it helps.  Next time you’re trying to retain new information, try out some of these strategies and see if they help you better retain the information at hand.