Tools for Different Learning Styles

learning stylesEverybody learns differently. Some students review their notes for hours on end, while others hear the information in class and immediately understand the material. Regardless of what your specific learning style is, identifying and understanding it can positively impact your exam scores and overall college experience. There are three learning style categories that most students fit into:

1.) Visual Learners, who best understand information by seeing it. They respond well to pictures, charts, graphs, etc.

2.) Auditory Learners, who best understand information when they hear it. These students rely on their own voice and the voice of others to remember details. 

3.) Kinesthetic Learners, who learn by doing. These learners generally do not like lecture or discussion classes, but prefer demonstrations and real-life applications.

You probably already have an idea of which learning style mostly closely matches yours, but the short quiz below (adapted from the Homework/Study Tips Learning Style Quiz) will help to confirm your expectation:

1. When I study I like to:
(a.) Explain the information to someone else 
(b.) Use a chanting rhythm to memorize
(c.) Use a highlighter to emphasize points

2. I like to study:
(a.) With one other person using role-playing games
(b.) In a group so I can listen to others  
(c.) Alone in a quiet place

3. I like to learn using:
(a.) Labs and demonstrations
(b.) Rhymes and chants that I make up
(c.) Photographs and diagrams

4. When I study for a test I like to:
(a.) Make an outline
(b.) Read out loud
(c.) Trace pictures, diagrams, and charts with my finger

If you answered mostly As, your learning style is kinesthetic; mostly Bs and your learning style is auditory; mostly Cs and you fall into the visual learner category.

Now what? Fortunately, today’s technology provides a variety of useful tools for each style, so students can study and retain information better no matter how they learn. Below we share some of our favorites.

For Visual Learners:
1. MindMesiter, a mind-mapping tool to help students visualize what they're learning.
2. Visuwords, a graphically based dictionary that helps connect concepts and words to encourage retention.

For Auditory Learners:
1. NaturalReader, a text-to-speech software that can read web pages and other text out loud.
2. PodcastDirectory, a website where students can search for free podcasts by subject.

For Kinesthetic Learners:
1. Google SketchUp, a free drawing software from Google that allows kinesthetic users to create, modify, and share 3D models.
2. Quizlet, a tool specifically designed to help students get involved in the learning process by letting them create their own flashcards and quizzes.

How does knowing your learning style help you study better? Tell us in the comments!

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