How do I learn best?
Cal state University
How do I learn best?
Simply defined, your learning style is the way you tend to learn best. Learning styles do not gauge a person’s abilities or intelligence, but they can explain why some tasks may seem easier than others. According to the VARK system, five learning styles exist: visual learning style, auditory learning style, reading and writing learning style, kinesthetic learning style and multimodal learning style. Visual learners use graphic presentations like charts, diagrams, and graphs to understand information. Aural learners rely on discussions, recordings and lectures to process information. Kinesthetic learners learn best when they can put concepts that they are learning into actions or activities for which they rely on videos and demonstrations. Majority of learners fall under the multimodal strategy of learning. Multimodal study strategy is a learning method which utilizes various sensory modalities of a learner. Utilization of multimodal strategy “has expanded the ways we acquire information and understand concepts.”(“Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies,” n.d., para. 13) Multimodal strategy combines print, images, animation, speech, and sound as its style. (“Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies,” n.d., para. 15) The Multimodal Study strategy allows for switching between various styles, that is, visual, aural, read/write or kinesthetic, for the purposes of better communication and learning.
The more varied ways a person learns something, the more truly that person understands that concept, (Lazear, 2008) gains a deeper understanding of the subject and retains the information longer. In utilizing the multimodal structure of education, the educator can accommodate use of various tools like visual graphics, documentaries and interactive modules to supplement a lecture. This helps in reinforcing the material being taught. Utilizing methods that stimulate different senses facilitates learning. (Heady, 2010, p. 247) Multimodal learning is more effective than unimodal learning. When different senses are combined such as visual with auditory, higher-order learning occurs. (Metiri Group, 2008, p. 14). However, this also has a negative aspect. It’s important for the educator to create a balance between various modalities. Frequent switching between different modalities can cause “overload” of information and confuse the learner. (Maier, n.d., para. 3) Learners may lose focus and have difficulty understanding. People with multimodal learning style may often “switch” to an inappropriate mode that will negatively impact their learning capability. So it is imperative for multimodal learners to know how and when to switch from one modality to another to stay focused and enhance their learning process. Read/Write study strategy works for many learners.
The read/write learners prefer visual material presented in a written format. In this category, the learner intakes the information by making notes, which include lists and headings, organizing visual graphics into written statements. The learner utilizes resources like dictionaries, textbooks and, manuals. After gathering all information the learner proceeds to make a package for learning. This is done by writing and reading one’s notes multiple times. For many learners this strategy works for them as writing what you read makes you go over information again which also serves as a revision. Often breaking down what you read into your own words makes you remember things more vividly. However, the read/write style is considered a traditional style of learning. Studies suggest that avid offline readers are not the best online readers and vice versa. (“Reading Online,” n.d., para. 4) With the onset of distant learning, such as online programs and e-learning formats, the read/write style learners will have to accommodate new methods into their learning pattern and that’s where being a multimodal study strategy style learner can come in handy. One should learn from peers how to utilize a different study strategy and accommodate their style into one’s own style of learning. It is important to recognize your preferred learning strategies and the identified strategies for your learning style.
Combining the two can help the learner become more proficient by utilizing various senses simultaneously. It is important to know that some concepts are best understood using various modalities or a different study strategy. At the same time learners should also recognize that being a Multimodal learner can help as it can reduce their learning and understanding time. By putting extra effort one can recognize and use the best modalities that work in understanding a subject. No single learning style is better than the other.
Every individual learns differently. It is important to know which style suits you. It may take time and effort on the learner’s part to conclude which style aids in their learning best but once known, your strategy of learning will empower you with best learning abilities contributing to your success.
Lazear, D. (2008). “Multi-Modal” Learning by David Lazear. Retrieved from http://www.davidlazeargroup.com/free_articles/multi-modal.html . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/reading-online-30096.html Heady, S. A. (2010). Health Education. In C. L. Edelman, & C. L. Mandle (Eds.), Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span (7 ed., pp. 243-258). St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby Elsevier. Maier, C. (n.d.). Multimodal Teaching Strategies. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_12049345_multimodal-teaching-strategies.html Metiri Group. (2008). Multimodal Learning Through Media: What the Research Says. Retrieved from http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/Multimodal-Learning-Through-Media.pdf NCTE Position Statement. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/multimodalliteracies
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