Working with Your Preferred Learning Style
6. How can I Relate my Preferred Learning Style to Academic Activities?
Effective reading is a basic learning and study skill that can be enhanced by applying strategies useful to your own learning style to the demands of the task of reading. The strategies you might first want to first adopt are those that are listed for several of your learning dimensions.
Strategies for Reading with Different Learning Styles
1. Grasping Material
If you are a Sensor your focus during reading will be on the details, facts, what has already been discovered and described. Thus, your notes will tend to be copies of the details in the text, article or lab manual.
- Relate those details to the broader concepts
- Apply facts to the "real world"
- Think of implications of the facts.
If you are an Intuitor your preference is to focus on a deep understanding and you may get side-tracked on appealing new ideas.
- Focus on "theory-to-practise", i.e. push yourself to move from your theoretical understanding to actually applying concepts to problems or key themes.
- Record facts in your notes so you have something specific to study from later on.
- Provide enough detail to be able to teach or explain your notes to someone else.
2. Preferred Sensory Input
If you are a Visual learner you will be attracted to pictures, graphs, charts, and the visual construction of words.
- Represent as much of the written text as possible in graphic form like a mind map or CONstruct to visualize details and connections, or tables and charts to compare and contrast information. Go to the "Reading and Note-Making" module in the Learning Strategies Development website for details of these methods.
- Study by translating graphics into words, as ultimately words will be required to communicate with others or write exams.
- Learn new vocabulary by parsing words into familiar sections, and using cue cards for drilling.
- Use colour, underling and boxes to highlight key concepts.
- Learn how to use mind maps for summarizing texts and notes. Use arrows to draw relationships between concepts.
If you are a Verbal learner then you enjoy spoken or written words. Reading is your thing!
- Read aloud or sub-vocalize the text. Hear the sound of the words in your mind.
- Verbally interpret graphics, charts, etc
- Talk to yourself as you read: ask questions to help guide your focus, and then answer your own questions
- Write notes at the end of each section or sub-section of a chapter. The Cornell method may be helpful to you. See the "Reading and Note-Making" for details of this method.
- Tape yourself as you summarize key points in a text, and then listen to the tape as a memory aid.
- Create songs, rhymes or jingles as a memory aid to key points.
- Read with a study friend, and discuss things you don't understand
If you are a Kinesthetic learner, then reading may be challenging due to the need for concentrated focus and the lack of physical, motor-based learning involved.
- Read with a pointer or your finger on the line of print
- Make notes as you go along, summarizing each small section
- Draw diagrams or flow charts of how you would conduct an experiment or solve a problem. Go beyond the words on the page and try to apply the ideas.
- Think of the "real world' implications of what you are reading.
- Read within your attention span. Take breaks as needed and involve physical activity to reduce restlessness.
- Try to determine the key sections of readings (ask your professor) to reduce the amount to be read.
- Tap a rhythm or talk with your hands if it helps you concentrate.
3. Styles of Making Information Meaningful
Activity based learners benefit by emphasizing the active components of reading.
- Interact with the written material by sub-vocalizing the text
- Use the SQ3R method, especially the Question, Read, and Recite elements. See the "Reading and Note-Making" module for a description of this method.
- Make notes in written or graphic form.
- At the end of a chapter section apply your understanding by imagining how you could test the theory, generate an experiment, or design a piece of equipment.
- Generate study questions for later use, focusing on key concepts, relationships and applications.
- Read with a friend, and talk about ideas at the end of the reading.
Reflective observer learners often enjoy reading.
- Read in a quiet space.
- Designate time to think and develop your ideas.
- Read small sections and then make notes of details. It is not reasonable to expect yourself to understand the whole chapter after 1 reading from start to finish.
- Summarize in your own words.
- Engage your thinking by asking questions as you read.
- Balance the need to learn details with your desire to understand and generate abstract conceptualizations.
4. Patterns of Learning
If you are Sequential learner, then you will appreciate methodically presented textbooks, journal articles or lab manuals.
- Inspect the layout of the material for cues as to its organization: pay attention to bold print, size of type for titles and subtitles, use of side bars, review questions.
- Develop an outline before you read, by writing down titles. This "road map" will help you see the logical pattern and goal of the reading.
- Make notes of key ideas at the conclusion of each section.
- Stretch your thinking by looking for associations and connections between details. Try using a mind map to understand the Big Picture, as described in the "Reading and Note-Making" module.
If you are a Global learner your tendency will be to read material and form conclusions, without necessarily knowing how you got there.
- Read the chapter outline, article abstract or lecture learning objectives before reading the material. Gain an overview and so that your attention is more drawn to the individual steps, facts or concepts to be learned.
- Make notes that include both major themes and details and facts, e.g. by using a mind map.
- After reading, talk to a friend about the logical steps or relationships involved in the Big Picture. Practise teaching the individual concepts that lead up to your conclusion or global understanding.
Next Part - 7. What is the goal of learning about my learning?