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:
“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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
If you’re a visual learner, focus on how you can make the material you’re learning more visually appealing.
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.
If you’re an auditory learner according to your learning style quiz, focus on using your ability to hear to take in information.
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.
Your learning style quiz tells you that you’re a kinesthetic learner. Here are some study tips to help you.
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:
Have you taken the learning style quiz yet? If not, scroll down this page a bit and try the quiz now!
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