What Is Your Preferred Learning Style?

Male sitting on a skateboard while reading

Knowing how you prefer to learn will help you choose classes and decide what tactics to use when you study on your own. There are four main learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Here’s a closer look into each type.

1. Visual Learner

If you’re a visual learner, you like receiving information in a visual format, whether that’s as text, pictures, or diagrams. You find it easiest to understand material in lectures when professors demonstrate concepts on the chalkboard, provide handouts, or use powerpoint presentations. Study tactics to try include taking detailed notes in class and when reading textbooks, making diagrams of concepts, and using flashcards to remember key facts.

2. Auditory Learner

Instead of learning best from written materials, auditory learners are most comfortable when they can listen or speak. They enjoy classes that consist of many lectures or discussions with other students. If you’re an auditory learner, you may read sections of your books out loud or explain things to yourself to aid your understanding. Joining a study group where you can talk about the material could be particularly beneficial to you. In addition, you may like to seek out supplementary information in audio formats, like podcasts or videos.

3. Kinesthetic Learner

Also called tactile learning, kinesthetic learning is all about being hands on. You’re likely a kinesthetic learner if you thrive when you can handle or manipulate the things you’re studying and when you have the chance to put your knowledge into practice instead of just learning theory. The best classes for kinesthetic learners to take are those that involve labs or practical activities. To gain more from your studies, find ways to collaborate with others. When you’re studying alone, try creative activities like writing, making models, drawing diagrams, and using flashcards.

4. Reading/Writing Learner

If you learn best from written words, you may be a reading/writing learner. You learn both when you read someone else’s words and when you write the information yourself, such as through taking notes. There is some overlap between reading/writing learning and visual learning — the difference being it’s just words that resonate with reading/writing learners, as opposed to all types of visual information.

When reading/writing learners are presented with other forms of information (such as diagrams, lectures, and demonstrations), it can help if they write down the concepts and read their notes back later if they need a reminder. Text-based flashcards and quizzes are also helpful for retaining information. When you’re choosing classes, bear in mind that you’re likely to do best at those that involve many writing assignments or a large amount of reading.

Whatever your preferred learning style, you’ll need to study hard to achieve good grades. This means having a place where you can study in peace. You can find University of Waterloo housing that meets your needs at myREZ. As well as the desk in your private, fully-furnished bedroom, you can use our large study spaces, equipped with blazing-fast WiFi. Book a tour to see how living here will make your time at university even better.

Student taking notes

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