Have you ever found yourself staring blankly at a friend or partner as they try to explain something to you, or mentally switching off during a work presentation? Many of us are unaware of the specific ways in which we best absorb information, and therefore may not seek out the method that suits us best.
But educational researchers have identified three main ways in which we learn, and believe that tapping into the right one can boost our ability to take in new information: visual learners learn by seeing, auditory learners learn by listening and kinaesthetic learners learn by doing.
Take the quiz (below) to find which group you fall into and discover how to maximise your learning style. It can boost your efficiency, save you time and even help your communication skills. For Language learning all the previous is very important and can help to make the journey easier. Basically, sharing and receiving knowledge should become a breeze.
VISUAL — SEEING —
The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ has an extra resonance for visual learners. Art and aesthetics are important to you, and you find visual aids, such as graphs, maps, diagrams and symbols, helpful. You find it challenging to digest information through reading alone, so you may learn facts by remembering where they appear on a page, or by seeing words represented in a shape or diagram.
YOU ARE GREAT AT…
…activities such as building and solving puzzles. Your finely honed visual skills may give you strong sense of direction and an enjoyment of sketching, painting, designing, fixing things or creating cartoons.
- Turn notes into pictures. You don’t have to be good at drawing — even doodles will help to fix information in your mind, says Graham.
- When attending meetings or presentations, try to sit in a new spot each time. ‘Having a different physical viewpoint will make it easier for you to recall each discussion,’ says Graham.
- Want to remember a PIN number?. For each digit, assign an image to it that resembles the number.
Number one could be a magic wand, number two could be a swan, To recall multiple digits, create a story that links each image — the magician waved his wand and conjured up a swan, for example.
- Struggling to read a lengthy passage front a book? ‘Try softening your gaze and letting the words wash over you,’ says Graham. ‘Your eyes and mind are capable of automatically absorbing more than you think.’
- ‘When having a conversation, maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking with — it will help you focus,’ says Graham. The person’s facial expressions and body language will also serve as helpful cues.
- If you need to remember a sequence of events, draw a timeline rather than make notes. Your brain will respond better to this format.
AUDITORY – LISTENING –
You learn best through listening. Auditory learners remember up to 75 per cent of what they hear, and the more aural textures there are – varied speed, volume and pitch – the easier your recall will be. You may find that turning facts into songs or poems helps you to remember them.
YOU ARE GREAT AT…
…storytelling. teaching and wordsmithery, as well as arguing your point of view. You may sometimes ask people to repeat themselves to help cement the information in your mind.
- Shut down one of your senses and you’ll heighten others. ‘By closing your eyes, you’ll increase your sense of sound as you focus on your own voice, which allows you to play to your strengths.’
- Rather than working alone, brainstorm ideas with others to help you remember the group discussion.
- Create a mnemonic — a sentence or phrase that aids memory. For example, if you are trying to remember a shopping list, try making a sentence from the first letter of each item.
- Listening to a podcast, audiobook or recorded speech is an effective way for you to learn about a subject.
- ‘As you’re easily distracted by noise, such as outside traffic, and silence alike, find some calm background music to wash over you while you work’; suggests Graham.
- When it comes to arguing your case, your language skills make you a real pro, but consider rehearsing your argument from the opposite point of view to your own. ‘This will help to expose any weaknesses in your argument.’ says Graham.
KINAESTHETIC – DOING –
You like to learn by exploring through movement or touch, and respond best when immersed in a process, whether It’s walking round a museum or trying out a new software program. You’ll take notes but rarely use them, and may struggle to stay still for long periods. When it comes to learning, for you, practice makes perfect.
YOU ARE GREAT AT…
…physical coordination, so you may enjoy sport. You like using your hands to create or build things, and your body to express emotion,whether through dancing or with animated gestures in everyday conversation.
- Write snippets of information on sticky notes, then walk around your home sticking them onto different surfaces, concentrating on the facts as you go. The action of sticking should help you retain the info.
- Or try body pegging. ‘Identity a series of points on your body, such as your head, shoulders. knees and toes,’ says Graham. ‘Then touch the body points in the correct order, mentally ‘pegging” info you’d like to remember to each one.’
- Anything that helps bring learning to life, such as seeing a play, visiting a museum or checking out a historic site, will be well worth the effort. Watching a film? If you can, try watching it in 3D so you feel part of the experience.
- ‘Close your eyes and write a word or date you’d like to remember in the air with your finger,’ says Graham. ‘Use your whole body so that you become what you are creating.
- ’ You may fidget more than others and feel trapped sitting at a desk, In which case try lying on your back or stomach (when appropriate!) to digest information.
- ‘Seek out computer programs or apps that require you to click on links, making you part of the process,’ says Graham. ‘Or cut and paste information over and over into a word doc to commit it to memory.’