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Published on February 4, 2021

7 Most Effective Online Learning Tips For All Learners

7 Most Effective Online Learning Tips For All Learners

Regardless of where you are at in your learning stage, knowing the best way for you to learn is key to intellectual growth. Growth can’t be achieved in your life as quickly if you’re not retaining as much information as you possibly could.

But the tricky part about learning is the fact that there isn’t a universal method that will work for everyone. Everyone is different in their own way of studying and learning. To help with that, I’ve put together some of the most effective online learning tips that you can use for yourself.

Even though each one of us has different learning styles and preferences, these online learning tips are still as applicable to you as they are to me. Here are the 7 most effective online learning tips for all types of learners.

1. Use a Learning Strategy That Works for You

The first online learning tip is to use a learning strategy that works for you. What I mean by this is that there are four core methods for us to learn.

  • Visual (learning through sight)
  • Auditory (learning through hearing)
  • Reading/Writing (learning through text and print)
  • Kinesthetic (learning through action)

Not everyone learns exclusively through one of these four methods though. We often have a mix of each one of these things. However, there is definitely one style of learning that each of us prefers over the other if we can get away with it.

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Knowing which type of learner you are most dominant in can help you devise strategies and techniques around your studying habits whenever possible. Of course, you can still use the other methods loosely or may have to rely on them more in certain circumstances.

2. Pick the Best Time and Place to Learn

This online learning tip does not only apply to online learning but offline/physical as well. Choosing when to learn and study is very important in terms of maximizing your energy and learning more efficiently. We all have different energy levels over the course of the day, and some of us prefer to do certain activities at certain points in the day.

For example, your night time might be the best time for you to be studying as you can retain more information and you’re more alert compared to studying in the morning. The same could be said about the morning as well given that some folks are more alert (early risers) during the day than they are during nighttime.

Being able to strike a balance between your energy and alertness levels while also considering the time of day is crucial when it comes to learning and studying and even doing other things.

Another factor that can come into play aside from time is location. The atmosphere around you can contribute greatly to the quality of your studying and learning time.[1]

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Things that can help with improving the atmosphere are things like:

  • Lighting
  • Seating
  • Tablespace
  • Quietness
  • Listening to music such as soft jazz or classical music.

3. Taking Good Notes

Even if you’re not physically studying at school or in a classroom, note-taking is still an important part of learning and growing intellectually. How good your notes are will determine how useful studying them later will be. A sign of good note-taking is when the notes are written or seen in such a way that you know the sequence of information that was brought up revolving around them.

With that in mind, you want your notes to be as detailed as possible for you to be able to retain them. It’s also here where you can lean into the type of learner you are. You could write or type out the information and have key bullet points, have a trigger word to recall what was discussed in class, or use pictures to help you.

Some other strategies to consider that can help you out are the following:

  • If you’re in a class that’s given assigned reading, read through it before the next class. Do the same with your previous notes.
  • Keep your notes from each subject together. Have notebooks for every class or topic you’re deeply exploring. This way, you avoid confusing them or mixing up information while reviewing them.
  • Always write down the main points of the topic so you can get a brief but solid overview of the subject.

4. Review and Simplify Often

Reviewing notes and previous ideas will, of course, be very helpful for you. Consider these as prompts that you’re able to use to recall the rest of the information. But instead of waiting until big tests or some other key date, I’d suggest getting into the habit of spending a half-hour every day to review content or notes. By reviewing things constantly, you’re not overwhelmed with the amount of information that you’ve got to handle.

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Another thing you can consider is to simplify the process as much as you possibly can. I find this to be super helpful as it gets me to ask the question, “how can I make retaining this information easier for me?” This leads me to review my notes and reorganize them and then trim them down to easier and bite-sized pieces of information.

If you are constantly simplifying the process—from organizing notes to slimming them down—you’re still learning and growing. Some other methods for simplifying notes are highlighting or underlining keywords, concepts, or phrases. You can also employ more visual aids or construct mind maps to help with remembering better.

5. Avoid Distractions

This is probably one of the most obvious but also important online learning tips because any distraction is a bad one when it comes to trying to learn or review something. Sometimes, distraction comes from outside sources that are beyond our control. However, there are also several other things that are internal that can be distracting.

These are things like our cell phones or having various tabs on your computer up while you’re reading or studying something else. We don’t often think about those as distractions, but they can and will pull us away from learning.

Here are some ways that can help you mitigate distractions:

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  • Getting a white noise generator
  • Listening to music that can help you concentrate and drown out any other sounds
  • Turning off your cell phone
  • Closing down tabs or even blocking access to certain sites during a period of time

6. Speak to Instructors or Use Feedback Loop

Another one of the key online learning tips is speaking with your teachers when you can or using the feedback loop if you can’t.

The feedback loop is similar to speaking to an instructor as you’re essentially roleplaying as the instructor and approaching the question with a fresh perspective and pair of eyes. From that perspective, you’re giving yourself feedback that wouldn’t be so different from a student/teacher relationship.

By employing the feedback loop or speaking to instructors, you’re able to look for more clarity and understanding in the situation. Seeking guidance also allows you to gain better insights and learn better and more effectively.

7. Study in Groups (Online or Offline)

Similar to talking to your teacher or using the feedback loop, discussing topics with other people around you is another way that you can help improve your learning. This online learning tip is a touch different from the previous tip because it’s more of a collaborative approach to understanding something.

There are other benefits as well with having someone to bounce questions and study together. It allows you to be more focused, bond more with other people, and can help you grow and maintain motivation, too. Studying in groups also helps you learn more efficiently and effectively.[2]

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Final Thoughts

The key to studying and learning is to make it as simple of a process as it can be for you. But developing this system is an acquired skill for everyone, and it requires plenty of time and patience on your part. This is especially the case given the current global pandemic that we are facing, forcing us to remote learning. But through these online learning tips, you’ll be able to get closer to building that system and making studying and learning for you easier and more effective.

More Online Learning Tips

Featured photo credit: Wes Hicks via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] ResearchGate: Impact of Class Atmosphere on the Quality of Learning (QoL)
[2] The NightingGale Angeles Institue Blog: Benefits of Group Study

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

If you’ve ever taken a learning style quiz, you know that the idea is to find your most prominent learning style. The question then becomes: what do you do with that information?

A textbook definition of learning styles is:[1]

“Characteristic cognitive, effective, and psycho-social behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that different individuals interact with their learning environment in different ways. You’ll often see learning styles in conjunction with higher education and other types of cognitive learning courses. The theory is that, if the teacher is aware of the various ways in which people perceive information, they can differentiate the instruction to meet those needs.

To the casual learner, understanding your learning style can help you find the best way to learn new information. There are seven different learning styles, and everybody uses a little of each one (on a sliding scale).

In this article we will talk about how many different learning styles there are (and what they mean), get you to try the learning style quiz, and find out how to use your specific learning style to improve your life.

The 7 Learning Styles

The following is an overview of the various learning styles[2]:

1. Visual / Spatial

A visual learner thinks in pictures. They prefer having illustrations, pictures, and other types of images to help form a mental image of what they are learning. Visual learners are typically spatial thinkers.

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2. Aural / Auditory-Musical

An aural learner learns through music and rhythm. While actual music isn’t necessarily required to reach an aural learner, it certainly is more effective.

3. Verbal / Linguistic

A verbal learner prefers using words, both in speech and in reading. A person with this learning style might prefer a good lecture or textbook to more visual and auditory styles.

4. Physical / Kinesthetic

A physical learner prefers using their body, hands, and sense of touch. A person with this learning style is more of a “hands-on” learner who prefers to learn by doing.

5. Logical / Mathematical

A logical learner prefers information to flow from one thought or idea to the next. A person with this learning style prefers mathematics, logic, and reasoning.

6. Social / Interpersonal

A social learner prefers to learn in groups or through social interaction. A person with this learning style usually prefers group-work and project-based learning.

7. Solitary / Intrapersonal

A solitary learner prefers to work alone. People with this learning style are great at teaching themselves and often prefer self-study and online courses to more traditional learning methods.

Did you see yourself in more than one learning style? If so, then you understand that no one person has just one learning style. Each of the above styles exist in everybody to a certain degree.

If you take a learning style quiz, you might see a certain style emerge as the strongest (and, thus, more preferred). However, that does not mean that person cannot learn in one of the other ways listed.

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Learning Styles and the Brain

Learning styles influence and guide the way you learn. They affect the way you internally represent your experiences, remember information, or even dictate the words you choose[3].

Learning style quiz: Dunn & Dunn learning styles brain map [Source: Kos, (2017)]

     

    Research suggests that each learning style makes use of a different part of the brain. Here is the breakdown for each learning style:

    • Visual: Visual learners use the occipital and parietal lobes at the back of the brain.
    • Aural: Aural content is mostly processed through the temporal lobes (especially the right temporal lobe for music).
    • Verbal: Verbal content is processed through the temporal and frontal lobes.
    • Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learning is processed using the cerebellum and the motor cortex.
    • Logical: Logical learning is processed through the parietal lobes (specifically using the left side of the brain as it pertains to logical thinking).
    • Social: Social learning happens in the frontal and temporal lobes.

    How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Improve Your Life

    Perhaps you didn’t realize that people had different learning styles before you read this article. Maybe you already knew about learning styles.

    Whatever the case, you can learn a lot about yourself just by taking a short learning styles quiz. But what do you do with the knowledge you get from the results?

    Here are some tips:

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    Visual Learner

    If you’re a visual learner, focus on how you can make the material you’re learning more visually appealing[4].

    1. Stay Organized

    If a learning style quiz tells you you’re a visual learner, focus on getting your material organized. Your brain will likely feel overwhelmed if your notes are chaotic.

    2. Use Color

    Try color coding information in order to help your mind visually separate each bit. For example, if you’re studying for a history test, highlight dates in yellow, people in blue, and places in pink. This technique will set important pieces of information off in your mind and make them easier to remember.

    3. Watch Videos

    Ditch the audio-books and podcasts and either read or watch videos and lectures online. Your strength is found in visual explanation — seeing the information in a book, diagram, or demonstration.

    Auditory Learner

    If you’re an auditory learner according to your learning style quiz, focus on using your ability to hear to take in information[5].

    1. Limit Distracting Noises

    Traffic outside your window, students speaking nearby, or music blaring from a speaker won’t help you while studying. You’re already prone to take in the sounds around you, so if you want to learn something specific, find a quiet place to work where you can limit distracting noises.

    2. Read Aloud

    If you’ve taken notes in class, try reading them aloud to yourself. You can even create jingles or rhymes to help you remember specific bits of information.

    3. Record Lectures

    Instead of just simply writing notes as your professor or boss speaks, record the lecture or conversation and listen back later. This will help solidify the information with aural cues. Also, try speaking with classmates or coworkers to help “fill in” the information.

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    Kinesthetic Learners

    Your learning style quiz tells you that you’re a kinesthetic learner. Here are some study tips to help you[6].

    1. Teach Someone

    After you’ve studied the target information, try teaching it to someone else. This dynamic activity will help turn on your ability to recall the information.

    2. Be Hands-on

    Using your hands to create something will help your brain work through specific problems. If you need to remember 20 vocabulary words, try drawing a map and placing the words in specific places. This is related to the idea of a memory palace, which you can learn about here.

    Bonus tip: Try chewing gum, as the movement may help activate learning centers in your brain.

    3. Take Breaks

    As a kinesthetic learner, your mind won’t like being in one static position for very long. Take time to get up and walk around or do another physical activity for a few minutes between study sessions.

    Also be aware that most of the learning styles can fit into one of those three categories. You are essentially going to be one of these three types of learning styles paired with an interpersonal or intrapersonal preference. In other words, you either like working with others or you don’t.

    If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level with your learning style, check out the video below for some more tips and tricks:

    Final Thoughts

    Have you taken the learning style quiz yet? If not, scroll down this page a bit and try the quiz now!

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    If you spend just five to ten minutes on this quiz, it may give you insight into learning styles that will change your life.

    More on How to Use the Learning Style Quiz

    Featured photo credit: Eliabe Costa via unsplash.com

    Reference

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