The reason for the discrepancies between the amount of effort a student puts into studying and the grades they end up receiving is quite clear: everyone learns in a different way.
Let’s explore all of the different ways in which a student can learn and why it’s not necessary to study harder, but rather, study smarter.
Why is it Important to Know about Different Learning Styles?
Are you someone who has noticed that despite how hard you study, you can’t seem to bring your grades up? Or are you a parent who has watched your child struggle and still produce the same grades?
There’s a very simple explanation for why this happens to many people. There are many different learning styles and each student is suited to a specific style or combination of styles. Unfortunately, in traditional schools and classrooms, the teaching is oftentimes carried out in a very specific manner which doesn’t take into account the learning styles of individual students. This one-size-fits-all approach to education leads to numerous children suffering and not getting the grades they are actually capable of achieving.
What can a student do?
In a classroom which has a large number of students, it can sometimes be difficult for an instructor or teacher to take into account all of the different learning styles of their students. Therefore, as opposed to expecting or waiting for your teacher to change their approach, students can begin to change their approach to studying. In other words, on their part, students can learn how to change their study habits in a way which is most beneficial for them.
This process begins with students taking some time to learn which learning style is most reflective of their approach to studying. In some cases, you may benefit from one specific learning style or a combination of different styles.
In order to identify which learning style you’re more suited to, it’s helpful to understand what the different learning styles are.
Different Learning Styles
There are so many different ways in which a student can learn. Some students are more inclined to learn in a specific way while others may employ a variety of learning styles when studying.
Here are some of the known learning styles that students have benefitted from :
Visual/Spatial – Visual learners need to use imagery, pictures, and mind maps to absorb new material. They are also dependent on visuals in order to retain, understand, and process new information.
Social/Interpersonal – Individuals who prefer this learning style work with other people during the studying process. This includes working in groups or even with a partner. The act of studying or learning is reinforced when you’re doing it with another individual.
Aural/Auditory – This learning style depends on processing information with the use of music, sounds, or rhythms.
Verbal/Linguistic – Individuals who learn best using linguistics are dependent on words, either spoken or written, in order to learn effectively.
Physical/Kinesthetic – This learning style is very hands on and practical. For individuals who learn in this manner, the use of physical objects is integral for understanding new material.
Logical/Mathematical – This learning style relies on logic and clearly defined systems in order to conceptualize a problem. This learning style is very effective when considering the ‘bigger picture’.
Solitary/Intrapersonal – This is a learning style which requires individuals to be by themselves for the most effective studying.
How to Identify Your Learning Style
Now that you’re aware of the numerous different learning styles that exist, you may have an idea of what learning style is most reflective of your approach to studying. However, what many individuals fail to recognize is that sometimes you may benefit from a mixture of these different learning styles.
There are a number of websites which offer free tests that can help you to determine which style or combination of styles would be most beneficial for you.
In addition, be prepared to spend some time experimenting with the different learning styles in order to find the most effective approach to studying for you.
Remember that what you’re looking for is an approach to studying which will help you study more effectively. That means you’ll be able to learn faster, retain more, and expend less effort in the process. Each person’s brain is hardwired differently and therefore your memory works differently to. What you’re seeking to determine is how to maximize you’re learning process.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
A prominent psychologist by the name of Howard Gardner put forth a theory called the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory essentially provides that there are a number of different learning styles and therefore a number of different forms that intelligence can take. According to this theory, there are, broadly speaking, seven forms that intelligence can take. These include: visual, musical, logical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and linguistic.
The theory also goes on to say that each of us possess these forms of intelligence in varying degrees. Essentially, all of these different forms of intelligence work together and directly influence how we learn and absorb information.
Understanding this can help you determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of studying and learning. This is because the way your brain is hardwired and how it works will have a direct effect on which learning styles and studying techniques are most beneficial for you.
Studying smarter means making the best use of your time and resources when you sit down to study. Learning how to study smarter is a journey in and of itself and involves a significant amount of trial and error. The process begins by trying to identify which learning style is most reflective of your studying habits.
Figuring out your specific learning style will help you to learn more effectively in a fraction of the time. This means that you won’t have to study harder and for longer just to get the grades you want.
Once you’ve identified what works for you, you’ll begin to notice that the studying process is a lot easier and maybe even enjoyable. That’s because you’ll have eliminated the resistance that was presenting itself when you were trying to study according to a style which wasn’t effective for you.
Parents, teachers, and educators must also play a role in encouraging children to become aware of the numerous different studying styles that exist. This will encourage students to find what works for them as opposed to throwing their hands up in exasperation and giving up when they aren’t able to get the grades that they are working so hard to get.