If you are thinking about taking on an Online course, be it a Nationally Recognised qualification like a Certificate IV for Accounting & Bookkeeping, Diploma of Accounting or even short courses designed to teach you a specific implementable skill set; it makes sense to know how you learn best. It’s easy to blame ‘online’ as the reason you struggled with your course, but think about it – if you never went to a lecture, how would your face-to-face study have turned out?
Do you prefer learning in a group setting or one-on-one? Do you like listening to music while you learn, or do you need complete silence? There are different learning styles for each person, and it is important to know what yours is. In this blog post, we will discuss the four learning styles or types of learners there are and help you identify which one you fall under. Once you know your learning style, you can begin using techniques that cater to your preferences!
Visual Learning Style
If you are a visual learner, you learn best by seeing information. This means that pictures, diagrams, and videos are going to be more beneficial to you than written instructions. When learning online, take advantage of the multimedia features! If your course has infographics or video tutorials, make sure to watch them. Here are a few study strategies for visual learners:
- Take thorough notes in class or while reading. Review your notes when preparing for a quiz or exam and use a highlighter to help you focus on important information.
- Create outlines for each textbook chapter you cover in class.
- Make colour-coded flashcards for the material you need to remember.
- Develop your own diagrams, flowcharts, maps or timelines when appropriate. For example, you might create a timeline when preparing for a history exam or a flowchart if you are trying to learn a scientific process.
Visual learners are people who want to grasp information in a visual way—whether it’s with maps, graphs, diagrams, charts, and so on. They do not, however, necessarily respond well to photographs or movies; they prefer other forms of visual aids such as patterns and shapes. When trying to convey something to a visual learner, the best method would be to use charts, pictures, and other forms of illustrations. You should also try to avoid using too many words; keep your sentences short and sweet.
Auditory Learning Style
The auditory learner definition is pretty straightforward: someone who learns best by hearing. This learning style is also sometimes called “aural” learning. People with this learning style prefer hearing information instead of seeing it. For example, if you are an auditory learner, you might find that listening to a lecture makes more sense to you than reading the textbook. Here are a few tips for auditory learners:
- Record your trainer’s lectures so you can replay the recording when you’re studying. Be sure you ask for permission to record. If you can’t get permission, record yourself reciting your notes from class.
- Make flashcards to review aloud.
- Find a study partner or group so you can recite information you need to remember.
- Repeat information you’ve memorised aloud with your eyes closed. Eliminating visual distractions can help you focus on the information you are reciting.
Auditory learners prefer to process information in auditory form, such as listening or speaking it. They are more likely to sort things out after they’ve spoken them than think about them beforehand. To them, vocalizing ideas allows them to better comprehend the concept.
Students who learn best through listening, such as lectures and group discussions, benefit from repeating back the lessons, having recordings of the lectures, group activities requiring classmates to explain ideas, and so on.
Reading & Writing Learning Style
The learning style that is the focus of most school curriculums is the reading/writing learning style. This learning style relies heavily on text, both written and read-aloud. To them, text is a more effective form of expressing an idea than any other visual or auditory representation. These folks typically excel in written tasks. There are a variety of methods for engaging and understanding a particular lesson that includes reading/writing learners. Here are a few tips for reading/writing learners:
- Read your notes and textbook out loud. Hearing the information as well as seeing it can help you remember it better.
- Make study aids such as summaries, charts, and graphs to supplement your reading.
- Organise your thoughts by writing them down or typing them out. This will help you make connections between ideas.
- Use a mind map to visually organise information. This will help you see the connections between ideas.
- Take practice quizzes and exams. This will help you get used to the format of testing and improve your test-taking skills.
Reading/Writing learners consume information best when it’s in words, whether that’s by writing it down or reading it. These individuals often do very well on tests that are mainly composed of questions that require written answers.
Tactile or Kinaesthetic Learning Style
Tactile learning, also known as kinesthetic learning, is a learning style in which people prefer to learn through physical movement and hands-on experience. Tactile learners are often described as “doers” or “hands-on” learners. People with this learning style prefer to touch, move, and experience things for themselves. Here are a few tips for tactile learners:
- Copy important notes repeatedly. The act of writing information repetitively can help you remember it.
- When memorising material, pace or walk around the room as you recite the material aloud.
- Keep something flexible in your hand as you study, such as a stress ball to squeeze or use a pen to tap a rhythm.
- Study in short intervals. Take breaks, get up and move around.
- List examples in your notes of how you can apply what you’re learning to your life.
- Physically practice concepts, if you can. For example, practice the verbal techniques you are studying with a partner if you are studying communications. If you are taking a computer application course, use the software in addition to reading about how it works.
- Listen to music while studying.
Kinaesthetic learners are people who like to learn by doing. They like to engage in a hands-on learning experience. Because they are more aware of reality, they need tactile evidence to comprehend things better. The best approach to convey new information to a Kinaesthetic learner is using personal experience, practice, instances, or simulations. For example , if you are teaching the Kinaesthetic learner about the solar system, it would be more effective to create a model or simulation of it rather than just lecturing about it.
People with learning styles that involve movement, such as touching and feeling, often benefit from fidgeting objects in their hands while listening to lectures or working on assignments. Fidget objects can help these learners stay focused and engaged in learning tasks.
How Do Students Learn Best When They Have Different Learning Styles?
Given that no two people learn in the same way, it would be incorrect to claim that one particular learning style is superior. However, understanding your own learning style is critical to your studies. Since the way someone absorbs information may impact their academic performance, knowing what sort of learner they are is important. You may do this by trying out all four learning styles and seeing which one works better for you. Or, you can take a learning style quiz to find out which learning style is your dominant one.
Environment, cognitive and emotional factors all play a role in how people learn best. However, understanding your learning style can help you learn more quickly. VARK categorizes learners into four groups: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Each learning style has different strengths and weaknesses. It is essential to understand these to learn optimally.
Some learning activities are better suited for certain learning styles than others. We hope that this post helped you figure out where you fit in.
Finally, keep in mind why you decided to take up online learning. Remember the purpose for which you enrolled in order to be inspired throughout the course.
The Australian Institute of Finance Training offers online self-paced courses in Business, Entrepreneurship and Accounting. Targeted at students looking to enter the bookkeeping industry, start or scale their own business and those looking to simply upskill. We have a suite of targeted Nationally Recognised qualifications alongside specific skill-based ‘how to’ style short courses where you can learn practical skills for everyday use.