Are you having trouble learning new information in a class? You may want to get more familiar with your unique learning style. Your learning style is the way you prefer to learn. It doesn't have anything to do with how intelligent you are or what skills you have acquired. It has to do with how your brain works most efficiently as it takes in and remembers new information. Your learning style has been with you since you were a child.
There's no such thing as a good or bad learning style. Success comes with many different styles and there is no one right approach. We all have our own particular ways of gaining new information. The important thing is to become aware of your unique style. If you are aware of how your brain learns best, you have a better chance of studying in a way that will pay off when it's time to take that exam.
A big box arrives at your door and it contains a desk in many pieces which you must assemble. Do you pull out the written directions and read them step by step? You might be a Visual/Verbal Learner. Or, perhaps you study the diagram and then proceed to assemble the desk. In this case, you might be a Visual/Nonverbal Learner. If you skip the directions and diagram and just start putting the desk together, figuring things out as you go, you may be a Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner. Want to work with a buddy and the two of you talk your way through the task? You might be an Auditory/Verbal Learner.
This way of looking at learning style uses the different modalities of sensory perception (seeing, hearing, touching/moving) as its model. It also assumes that some of us respond better to verbal (word-based) information and some of us prefer nonverbal (non-word based) information. Clearly this is a simplistic view of a very complicated subject: the human brain. However, this point of view is a useful place to begin.
While there is no good or bad learning style, there can be a good or bad match between the way you learn and the way a particular course is taught. Suppose you are a Visual Learner enrolled in a traditional lecture course. Your instructor stands at a podium and lectures without the use of visual aids. You can't pay attention and have trouble staying interested in the class. There's a mismatch here between your learning style and the instructional environment of the class. As soon as you understand this mismatch, you can find ways to adapt to ensure your success in the class. During lecture, you might decide to take detailed notes or draw diagrams that illustrate the ideas being presented. What you're doing is developing learning strategies that work for you because they are based on your knowledge of your learning style.
Suppose instead that you are an Auditory Learner. You find that studying by yourself in a silent room is not working well. You can't stay focused and you keep forgetting the information. When you understand what it means to be an Auditory Learner, you might get yourself a study partner with a style similar to yours and the two of you can talk your way through the course material. During the exam, you might be surprised to find that you can hear the answers in your head in the way you discussed the material previously with your study partner. You studied in a way that matched your learning style, and it paid off on the exam.
In this manner, you're using what you know about your learning style to study in the most efficient way possible. If we all have hundreds of hours to prepare for an exam, it might not matter which way we approach our studying. But most of us have limited time to prepare for an exam. This makes it that much more important to use our study time wisely and study in the way our brains learn best.
The DVC Learning Style Survey is designed to help you become a more successful student. It includes a short test to help you identify your learning style and a set of recommended learning strategies to help you study in a productive manner.
The assessment is informal and it is not a standardized instrument. There is nothing magic about the results. You might take the survey and decide the results don't match what you know to be true about yourself. That's fine; you know yourself best. The next questions to ask are: How DO I learn best? How SHOULD I study so that the information sticks in my memory? And what strategies SHOULD I use to study in the most efficient way possible? The answers to these questions matter more than the results you get on the DVC Learning Style Survey. Use the survey to help you think in new ways about how you learn and to develop study strategies to help you get the results you want.
This is copyrighted information. Permission to link to this survey and questions regarding the DVC Learning Style Survey should be directed to Catherine Jester at firstname.lastname@example.org.