Lesson #1: Learn How You Learn
Not everybody learns the same way, yet rarely is taken into account in any educational setting, be it learning in the classroom or training in the workplace. A major part of the reason why some people excel and some fall behind in the same learning enterprise is dependent on the teaching method used. People learn 3 different ways: visually, audially, or kinesthetically. And while each of us usually has the ability to absorb, process, interpret, and retain information through all three of the senses involved – sight, hearing, and touch – in each of us, one usually dominates over the others in absorbing, processing, interpreting, and retaining information. It is our particular brain’s “preferred” method of learning. In plain English – some people learn best by reading about something, some learn best by hearing about something, and some by doing it. When you’re a primarily Auditory Learner, a more sound-oriented person, being taught visually – ie. with charts, graphs, and illustrates – won’t ever be nearly as effective as a clear and concise explanation verbally related. By the same token, if you’re a primarily Kinesthetic Learner, a more touch-and-feeling-oriented person, a lecture would probably serve little other good than to lull you to sleep, whereas you could learn any new skill given an interactive, on-hands workshop on the subject.
Since we aren’t ever taught to examine by which method we as individuals learn best, we go through with unnecessary limits on our abilities to realize our potential. By identifying the type of learner you are, you can shed the weights and shackles making every step harder than it needs to be, and finally let your personal development take off. Visual: Nearly two-thirds of people process information primarily through their eyes. People who say, “I see what you mean,” are probably sight-dominant learners. Reading text and viewing visual images (including charts, diagrams, illustrations, graphics, and animations) are the visual person’s most effective methods of processing information. Auditory: About one-third of people process information primarily through their ears. People who say, “I hear what you’re saying,” are probably hearing-dominant learners. Listening to speeches, talks, lectures, and audio recordings suit the auditory learner best. Kinesthetic: The remaining 5% or so of people process information primarily through movement and touch: hands-on learners. Young children make up the majority of predominantly kinesthetic learners. As they age, they gravitate more towards one of the other two forms. Now, don’t stop at identifying your primary learning method, because that would be limiting yourself just as adversely, only in the opposite direction. You are a whole being, with vision, hearing, and touch & mobility. To deprive yourself of input on any of those levels would be cheating yourself. So identify which of the senses would consider your second-most prominent? Armed with this self-knowledge, you can now take any learning scenario and make whatever adjustments you need to be sure your two dominant sense are being included in the process. This may come in the form of buying audio recordings of the books you’re asked to read. It may come in the form of doing research for a paper at the museum instead of the library.
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