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Published on October 14, 2019

Essential Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively

Essential Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively

You’re never too old to learn, and this isn’t just some fancy statement; this is many people’s motto in life.

We all learn different things ever since we are little — our parents teach us morals, our teachers teach us maths, society teaches us acceptance, our work teaches us how to do our job, etc. Even if you’re 70, life has a whole new book of things to teach you, you just need to have the heart and willingness to learn.

Learning is important to our everyday life. Everything originates from learning. If you didn’t learn to read, you’ll not be able to read this article. If you didn’t learn to speak, you probably can’t express your thoughts and needs to others today. What you learn today will always benefit your current and future self. The question is, with such limited time in life, how can we learn effectively?

In this article, I’ll introduce to you the essential learning methods and some of the best ways to learn.

The Best Ways To Learn

There are so many different ways of learning, and here, I’ve handpicked some of the best ways that will definitely help you in being an effective learner.

1. Your Comfort Zone

or most people, staying in their own comfort zone opens their minds and helps them retain information. For instance, many learn and retain information when they’re taking notes on a piece of paper; others learn by watching videos and documentaries relevant to the topic.

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By finding out how you’re comfortable learning will surely help you in effectively retaining new information and, you will remember it for a longer period of time.

2. Learning Through Play

Just like children, you can learn through play. This doesn’t literally mean building blocks out of plastic Lego, but by implementing what you have learned. If you’ve just learned a new way to make quiche, the best way of making sure you know it properly and remember it is by immediately making it at home.

3. Pass That Information On

If you’ve learned something fresh, pass the information on to someone else. When you go through what you’ve learned and are explaining the process to someone else, you will learn and remember better.

In classrooms, there is a frequent activity of dividing students into groups and one of them explains to other classmates what the day’s lecture was about. This not only helps the speaker understand concepts better, but when other classmates are being reinforced with the lesson, they also remember better.

4. Rote Learning Is a Big NO

Many people try to memorize word by word what they have been taught, as if they were sitting in a written exam. Teachers discourage rote learning in students as well because by only memorizing some words, the goal isn’t met. The main point here is to truly understand and connect the dots of what you’ve learned.

The generation today has grown up with computers and is used to getting all the information needed at the click of a button, and without really understanding the concept, people are used to copy pasting. Rote learning is just like that. You just pick up the information from somewhere and learn it word for word, which doesn’t really help you understand anything, only to memorize.

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Learning is all about being able to express what you have understood about a particular concept. It is being able to give your own opinion about a certain event, instead of just knowing the facts. Somewhere along the lines of life, we do want to learn new things, but some of us have the attention span of a goldfish or simply haven’t known the smart ways of learning.

We need to understand that there is not just one way of learning and understanding different concepts. Learning is taking place all around us, from the day we are born. There are various methods of learning. Some people may be more receptive to one kind of method, and some to another. A smart person would try and find out which method of learning is best suited to them, and use that to enhance their learning process. The following learning methods will be helpful for you.

Different Types of Learning Methods

Essentially, there are 7 types of learning methods that researchers have compiled over time, other features of learning basically just fall under the umbrella of these listed types:

  • Visual: This type of learning requires visual material to understand, these could be in the form of videos, graphics and images. This method helps people in visually understanding what they see.
  • Aural: This kind of learning style uses audio like music and sounds to understand.
  • Verbal: This method is usually for people who like to speak and narrate their stories in order to learn. This can be done through scripted speeches, impromptu narrations or even just daily conversations.
  • Logical: Many people like learning through logic, they won’t understand if they’re just spoon-fed something. They want proper reasoning to why and how something happened for them to properly learn something.
  • Social: This is when people learn better when they’re divided into groups and are with other people. These social groups help expand their horizons and gives them confidence to ask questions and solve problems.
  • Solitary: This learning style is usually just meant for people who prefer to learn alone in a confined place that has no distractions whatsoever. They are either easily distracted with other people or don’t feel confident enough to be with other people while learning.
  • Physical: This is a learning technique where people learn through physical acts like using their hands or simply by the sense of touch. This technique is used when children are learning, to help them understand what fluffy is, they are asked to touch a cotton cushion or a hairy cat. This is how children learn and understand better.

What types of learning methods suit you better? You can find out in this article: How This Learning Style Quiz Can Help You Make the Most of Your Life

But in order to support any kind of learning listed above, you have to be physically fit and healthy. Your mind and body need to be nurtured in order for any kind of learning method to be effective. Here are some of the things that can be done on a daily basis to keep a receptive mind and body.

Habits to Keep Your Mind and Body Receptive

To be an effective listener, you also have to be able to retain that information. People learn new things every day, but only a portion of those people are able to remember what they learned by the end of the day. There are some tried and tested home remedies that have worked like a charm for people who are looking to increase their memory or generally want enhanced memory retention.

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Sleep More

An active brain is one that sleeps almost 8-10 hours a day. If you’re overworked and sleep for barely five hours, there are chances that your brain needs rest to retain information.

But if you’re somebody who sleeps for 11-15 hours a day, you may just be too lazy and need to engage yourself into healthy activities to keep your brain active and running.

Healthy Diet

include lots of protein and almonds in your diet. Drink lots of water and generally stay away from fatty foods. You don’t have to quickly switch over to salads and all, but just generally try to adapt to a healthier eating pattern. Limit use of alcohol and caffeine because they slow down your brain causing a hindrance in your learning journey.

Here’re 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp.

Socialize

By meeting new people every day, you’re not only giving your brain a chance to open up, but you’re also having your brain exercise by getting new information. Talking to people and engaging into daily conversations helps the flow of information going.

Brain Challenging Activities

The only reason why you’re not an effective learner is because your brain hasn’t yet been exposed to challenges where you really have to think and work your mind. There are many activities that increase your motor skills like puzzles, mathematical questions, even solving crossword in your daily newspaper. You can also try these 11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory.

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When your brain is active and running, you possess a better chance of learning new things and actually retaining that information.

Final Thoughts

Learning has been a safe haven for so many people, whether it’s about learning to cook a complicated dish for a family gathering or simply about sewing a button shirt; we all learn and inspire every day.

The best among us are people that don’t let anything come in the way of their learning process — not age, not health, not money; these people make it their life motto to wake up every day and learn at least one new thing before going to bed. And these people are all around us, WE are these people.

The learning techniques mentioned in this article are effective ways and tips for you who like to learn every day. The knowledge we gain today can benefit our career, relationships and our everyday life. Learn today, succeed tomorrow!

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Sarah Noltner via unsplash.com

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Published on June 22, 2020

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

I spent five years as a middle and high school teacher, and I would often hear people talking about learning styles. “Betty is a visual learner. Sam is kinesthetic. Emma is an auditory learner.”

I hadn’t read any research about learning styles at the time, but on the face of it, it makes sense. Some people seem to learn better when they see things, others when they’re active, and some when they hear things. I know that I really struggle when someone spells a word aloud. I have no idea what word they’re spelling. I’ve always just made the excuse that I’m a visual learner and will need them to write it down for me. But is there any truth to learning styles?

Before we delve into the characteristics of a smart auditory learner, let’s take a step back and explore what research says about learning styles more generally.

Debunking Learning Styles

In the 1990s, a New Zealand school inspector named Neil Fleming[1] came up with a questionnaire to measure people’s preferred learning style. Now called the VARK questionnaire, it’s still used today to discern whether people are Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, or Kinesthetic learners.

Fleming’s learning styles theory gained popularity over the decades, but no studies have confirmed its legitimacy. In a study by Polly Husmann and Valerie Dean O’Loughlin[2], they found that people who used their preferred learning style did not see any improvements in learning outcomes. In short, there was no correlation between learning style and actual learning.

Another study by Abby R. Knoll, Hajime Otani, Reid L. Skeel, and K. Roger Van Horn[3] also found that learning style had no relationship with recall. Participants who preferred visual learning did not recall images they saw any better than words they heard.

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There’s no evidence that learning styles help people learn or recall. Instead, they should be thought of as a learning preference. I prefer when people write things down for me, but there’s no evidence that this improves my recall.

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

Having a preference for auditory learning means you gravitate toward verbal communication. Audiobooks and lectures might be your cup of tea instead of the charts and graphs of a visual learner.

So what if you think you’re an auditory learner? Let’s say you have a knack for processing audio communication and can close your eyes and pick up all the important details of a lecture or audiobook. The following list is for you. Here are 7 characteristics of smart auditory learners—people who use their auditory preference to their advantage.

1. They Take Learning Styles With a Grain of Salt

This bears repeating. There is no evidence that people’s learning styles impact their learning, so a smart auditory learner definitely takes learning styles with a grain of salt.

Think of it as a preference. Smart auditory learners know they prefer audiobooks and hearing things out loud, so there’s no harm leaning into that preference.

Just don’t assume it’s going to improve your test scores.

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2. They Get Rid of Distractions

Just because you’re an auditory learner doesn’t mean you can sift through lots of auditory inputs at once. No matter your learning preference, make sure you put effort into limiting distractions.

An auditory learner might struggle to study while listening to music or have difficulty working with the TV on because they’re so receptive to auditory information. Therefore, you should find a quiet place to learn, so you can focus all your energy on whatever it is you’re trying to retain.

3. They Match Learning Task With Learning Style

The real secret to improving your retention and recall is to match the learning task with the learning style. A smart auditory learner knows the best time to rely on auditory learning. They don’t always fall back on listening. Instead, they strategize the best approach for each individual learning challenge.

For example, I might know that I favor visual learning, but if I need to memorize my lines in a play, I might be better served recording the other characters’ lines, so I can practice saying my lines when I hear my cues.

Maybe I’m more kinesthetic. That doesn’t mean that I have to move to learn. Instead, I have to be strategic about when and how I add movement to my learning process. It might make sense for me to memorize countries or states by drawing a giant map and running to the right spot when someone yells out that geographic location. However, it doesn’t make much sense to dance around while I’m reading Foucault. The learning style should be in service of whatever it is that’s being learned.

Instead of catering to people’s learning preferences, we should be matching the learning style with the task at hand. Ask yourself, “What’s the best style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing) for this particular learning task?”

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4. They Use Their Voice

Auditory learners might need to read things aloud or listen to audiobooks instead of silently reading. Adding your voice can help turn reading/writing into an auditory exercise.

Get creative with it. If you consider yourself to be an auditory learner, think of different ways to add an audio element to your learning. Sing it. Yell it. Turn it into a poem. Just don’t get stuck in the reading/writing learning style when you prefer to be hearing and listening.

5. They Practice Listening

Smart auditory learners don’t take listening for granted. Just because you prefer auditory learning doesn’t mean you’re great at it. Instead, smart auditory learners take their preference and improve it over time.

Practice your listening skills. Give people your undivided attention, clarify what you’ve just heard, and challenge yourself to be as active and present a listener as possible.

Asking clarifying questions and repeating back what you’ve just heard can help you assess how accurate your listening is[4]. You should also transfer what you’ve heard to other learning styles. Write it down or draw it as pictures, charts, and graphs. That brings us to the next characteristic of smart auditory learners.

6. They Use All Learning Styles

Smart auditory learners use all the learning styles. They may have a preference for listening, but using all types of inputs helps improve retention and recall.

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If you’re studying for an exam, don’t just record your notes as audio or listen to online lectures. Use flashcards, read your notes out loud, quiz yourself, create an active game that requires you to move around, and teach the concepts to your roommate. This gets as many parts of your brain and body involved in the learning as possible, which increases your odds of retaining the information and acing the exam.

7. They Reflect on What Works and What Doesn’t

Smart auditory learners are also reflective and self-aware learners. After you try a learning strategy, assess and reflect on how it went. Did you retain as much information as you’d hoped? Build off your successes and change strategies when a learning style isn’t working for you.

Smart auditory learning is really just smart learning. Create a game plan that uses multiple, appropriate learning styles. Then, follow through by removing distractions and studying your heart out. After assessing how much you’ve retained, reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then, refine your game plan for more success next time.

Final Thoughts

It would be magical if learning styles were a silver bullet for learning. I’d love to be able to say I’m a visual learner and then be able to recall every single piece of information just by seeing it represented visually. Unfortunately, that’s not at all how learning styles work.

Learning is complex and messy. Just because we prefer one learning style doesn’t mean it helps us learn better. What we really need to do is experiment with all the learning styles and try to match the right learning styles with each specific task.

Knowing your learning style is important. It’s good to know how you prefer to receive information. Just don’t stop there. Use your preference for auditory learning strategically and when it makes sense to do so.

More Tips for When You’re an Auditory Learner

Featured photo credit: Blaz Erzetic via unsplash.com

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